Yahoo is closing down the Site Explorer, slowly but surely. Previously one could just go directly to Yahoo and type in link:www.mywebsitename.co.za and it would show you the number of links coming in to your website - according to their index.
This was not very accurate, however, for the following reasons:
- The numbers it was showing varied wildly in the past few months - sometimes it was up, sometimes it showed half the number of links that we were sure are there.
- It is showing the number of links according to the Yahoo index, and not according to what Google has indexed. We are only really interested in a Google ranking, so basically it is not a true reflection of the number of links that Google has indexed. But Google does not show the number of links, and neither does Bing, so Yahoo was the only one who did show it.
Since Yahoo took over Bing it has indicated that the Site Explorer is going to disappear and since this week, if you go to Yahoo and type in site:www.mywebsite.co.za or link:www.mywebsite.co.za, it does not redirect to the Yahoo Site explorer any more, but shows a bland page with 'Powered by Bing' underneath. It will show you the number of pages indexed, but not the number of links any more.
The Site explorer is still available on http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com though, but for how long still is an open question.
I wrote about the alternatives to the Site Explorer recently, however, this does not take into account the myriad of free tools (e.g. SEOQUAKE) that makes use of the Site Explorer API to show results about number of backlinks - one wonders what alternatives these tools are going to use.
Here is an infographic that depicts how the two big Internet Giants, Google and Facebook, are stacking up against each other.
It is telling that, if you look closely, it is mostly about paid advertisting since obviously Facebook does not offer 'search' as a service.
Does that mean that the days of pure 'search' is over?
Somehow that doesn't seem quite right either....
Image Source: MBAProgramInfo.com
For years and years now we all knew that the only reliable way to measure backlinks was to use the Yahoo Site Explorer.
Google definitely does not show all the backlinks to a site (but we all know that, right?). Microsoft Live/Bing stopped showing this at some point, so the only remaining search engine that still offered this info was Yahoo.
Last year at around November the site explorer started to show some strange results. It looked as if quite a huge number of links just disappeared. Then they came back again. Then the Yahoo Site Explorer team announced that the number of backlinks will not be available through their API any more, and that the Site Explorer as it is working in its current format will probably only be available until around 2012, due to the Yahoo/Bing integration
So basically this means that it might be time to investigate alternative sources when checking the backlinks of your site
There are a couple of alternatives although time will tell which one would offer the best results
Most offer a free version that will display some basic link info, but most of them offer a subscription service where one can get a lot more info such as the 'quality' of the link, in other words, the PR of the page that the link would come from, whether the link is 'follow' or 'do not follow', the anchor text of the links etc.
You also probably still get those email requests to exchange links. They are all written along the same lines – I saw your site on the Internet and it looked great and Google really values links so I will link to you, and then you can link to this site… We all know that reciprocal link exchanges do not provide much value in terms of link-juice since Google devalues most of these links. These link exchanges are clever enough though to offer three way links. They will link to your site and you will link to another site under their control that they are trying to promote through a link building campaign.
As the manager of several SEO campaigns I regularly get emails from clients who ask if it is worth it to do this. Apart from the fact that Google frowns upon link exchanges, there are other reasons why it is just not worth taking part in these exchanges.
Firstly, it is a lot of effort. You have to create a link on a page to another website. Then you actually need to go and check that they have placed their link on the page that they promised. Now you have gained exactly one link. But how do you know that the link that they have placed for you will stay in place? Are you going to check regularly, or are you just going to assume and trust that they will not remove your link?
On the other hand, you have placed a link to another website. Now, you need to realize that officially Google will not penalize your site if you have strange sites linking TO you, else it would be too easy to take out a competitor site (just buy a couple of links to your competitor from some dodgy sites!) The theory is that you do not have control over who links TO you. But you do have control over who YOU link to and Google states very clearly in its guidelines that you should not link to sites that are considered to be 'bad neighbourhood'. I am not even going to go through the list, we all know the usual suspects – but the point is that if you take part in this link campaign and link to the site as requested, you have no idea what else could end up on that site that you are linking to. You do not really 'know' that site, there is no real relationship or level of trust between you, and if you do not really monitor the situation closely, you might find that a) the original site that promised you a link might have taken down your link and b) the site that you are linking to might transmogrify into something totally different and not really be the type of site that you want to be seen linking to…
This is why it is better to rather exchange links, if you really want to do so, with people and sites that you really know and trust such as suppliers, clients, friends and family, and not just from a link building perspective with strange sites!
We often get a desperate cry for help from customers - we have just delivered their site and they can't find it anywhere in Google when they search for it, not even directly by company name or by URL.
This is not uncommon - the biggest problem is that Google does not automatically 'know' about your site!
Basically when a website is built it is very much like building a shop in the Namib desert with no roads or signposts to it. This happens to ALL websites when they are built and frankly, it does not actually matter whether you built a Macro or a little corner Greek Café – in other words, it does not matter whether your website is beautiful, ugly, userfriendly, not userfriendly, wonderful, horrible, big, small or anything like that. Google just does not know about your site, full stop.
The only way for Google to get to know about your site to post signposts to it and build ‘roads’ to your site. This is, in Internet terms, getting other websites to link to your site. Those links are like signposts for Google to follow to find out about your site.
This can take anything between 3 days to 3 weeks and even up to 3 months or 3 years if NO ONE on the Internet ever links to your site. Once again, this has nothing to do with your website itself but everything to do with what OTHER sites do or do not do. This is how Google works.
In order to get Google therefore to know about your site in the first place, and in the second place, for Google to show your site high up in its results, the only way for that to happen is to get other sites to link to your site. This process is called Search Engine Optimisation and it is something that we offer as a service but it is a separate service to BUILDING the site. This is once again, using the Shop analogy – like getting shopfitters to build the shop (build the website), and then using a marketing agency to market your site (SEO).
But yes, there are ways to get Google to quickly index your site. You can submit your site to Google although I have never actually tried that. The best way is to create a sitemap of your site in the standard Sitemap XML format and submit that to Google through the Google webmaster tool. This will make Google index your site very quickly!
HTML5 is certainly the latest buzzword in the web development industry today probably due to Steve Jobs mentioning that HTML5 is the future and would probably replace Flash. This in turn is because Steve Jobs does not want to incorporate flash support on the Ipads, for whichever reason. Other mobile phones and Ipad devices ARE actually working on getting flash support in place.
What needs to be taken into consideration is that HTML 5 is about more than just the flash part of it, but on the other hand, it is also not much MORE than just the flash and animation component.
The previous change that had everyone in a tizz (Google Instant Search) is nothing compared to what they have done now to the search engine results pages. It looks as if it was introduced in a very low key way since I am not hearing a lot of buzz about it but as far as I am concerned it is a disaster
Google has started to present various results from one site on the first page of results. If you are the beneficiary recipient of this it is great, but if you are competing against it, it really sucks
They started off by mostly saying that if people want to search for a specific domain, that they know that they are searching for more info about that domain and they will start to bring up multiple results for that specific domain on the first page
So if you go to Google.com and you do a search for ‘apple', the first couple of results are all apple.com pages. Previously they would not have more than one page showing from the same site unless it was using indented results.
The problem is that I have started to see them show results from the same website even if it is NOT domain name specific. For example, if you make the number of results 100 in google.co.za and you look for ‘basking lamp' - the first 20 or so results are absolutely dominated by the same sites - different pages from the same domain.
This is not happening that much if the results are restricted to 10 per page, but it is still there, with one or two pages from the same domain showing where before it used to be 10 unique results. I have seen up to about 5 or 6 results if the search is related to a domain name, for example if you restrict your results to 10 results per page and do a search for 'sa venues', the following comes up:
The impact that this could have on other search terms and results are for example the following:
If there is someone who registered the domain name ‘electricians.co.za' and the keyword is ‘electricians', then this domain could potentially dominate the first page with about 5 or 6 results, leaving only 4 - 5 ‘slots' on the first page for other domains. It is therefore that much more difficult to get to the first page now since the first 10 results could potentially be dominated by the same domain.
There has long been a recognition that a keyword rich domain is a good thing, boy, if it was a good thing before, it is absolutely a great thing now. If you are competing against one of these then it is not so great, however!
We have a cool timeframe schematic in our website proposal documents. It shows a timeline where, if all goes well, the customer can have his 'five page' website up and running in two and a half weeks.
Recently a client told me that someone told him that he needs to rank well in Alexa for natural SEO. The client asked me what his friend meant by that.
Frankly, I was puzzled myself...
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