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Cog SEO Blog - Search Engine Optimization

SEO Blog home of search engine optimization news, and tips. SEO Blog posts to help websites rank better in search engines like Google and Yahoo. Improve your SEO and Search Rank Performance...The Organic Way.

Last Build Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:55:28 +0000


Spamming for SEO Clients - What a Way to Make a Living

Wed, 19 Mar 2008 01:27:00 +0000

OK, so if you have a web site you are most likely party to scumbags that will call you, email you, and yes... even spam your blogs and forms with their promises of top ranking and top marketing skills. So I am generally pretty crabby about the spamming part, but when a company spams a one of my customers with NO company url, company name, and a GMail address I get pretty torqued up.This customer, is actually my best friend, and she is not so Internet savvy... So her email spills in to my box with the zillion others, so that I can call her with anything important. Like I said, she is my best friend.Her site is very simple, mechanically sound... Hell, the pages even validate. Now while its not the most spectacular web site in the world, its exactly what Lisa (my bud) wanted. So anyhow, this little web site gets care when I have the time as its not a top priority for Lisa, but none the less is on page one for nearly all of its "small pond" niche keyword phrases. So everybody's happy, right?Guess not... Check out this spamming scum bag's email to whom he thought was my client...Dear XXXXXXYour website looks like IT would get a lot more visibility and traffic on the search engines if it is easier to locate. For no cost to you we will analyze your site and your web placement and show you how. Emailus today at Our free review comes with nostringsSincerely,Akim TracyScout MarketingSo, seriously what the heck is this guy doing? No web site, no proper contact information, and no real business associated with "Akim" and "Scout Marketing" that I can locate..... But he sure as hell has time to spam my customers. So Akim, about that review....Lisa's ConcessionsGoogle Rankfood concessions #6mobile concessions #6food service concessions #3great mobile food #6Concessions food #7mobile food catering #5mobile food service #29mobile event catering #2ohio food concessions #1ohio mobile food service #2So the site is clean, easy to navigate, ranks decently, the customer is happy... Yet you think otherwise. So Akim, consider this an opportunity to enlighten me. I will tell you right up front that the site lacks back links, but as I have already stated Lisa is not at all in to developing it, as the pool is very small and she only provides services in Northeast Ohio. Yes, you have indeed pissed me off, but at least your spam mail has no spelling errors.Bring me this free report and show me how, I would be so grateful and even post it here for you to demonstrate your prowess to the whole world!Peace and SEO ooooooooohh I hate spam,Melanie Prough **We Require a Link Back Please. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.[...]

January 2008 : Top 10 US Market Share Search Engines

Tue, 26 Feb 2008 17:06:00 +0000

The Nielsen Netratings January 2008 search engine market US share data report is out and we have the data and historical analysis ready for you. Buckle up!In January there are some interesting results for the search game in the US. You might even be a bit surprised, or relieved even. We track these results here at the Cog SEO Blog every month and provide a historical bit of data along with the raw statistics to help you better understand the search market here in the US. You can find past US Search Market Share results in the left menu for review.Might as well start at the top.. Google continues to climb. As America's favorite search engine, Google has steadily increased their overall share of searches since we have been tracking the results; April 2007. In January Google has gained back .6% of the small 1.4% loss they clocked in with last month. Truth of the matter is this, smaller shares have an easier time increasing their numbers. Simple math here, with percentages, the larger the divisible number (in this case searches) the harder it is to effect that number, as you need much larger numbers (increases) to do so. So the reality is this, Google grew their number of searches about 24,375,216 over their December 2007 searches.Yahoo has made some progress amid controversy, operational distress, and general limelight. Yahoo search had been really struggling until last month (December 2007) when the lodged a small .2% month over month growth. I even predicted they would decline in search volume for January 2008, due to the bad press and issues within the company. However, Yahoo made a fairly strong move in their market share for January 2008 with a 1.3% month over month growth. Fact is this is very impressive and goes to a subject I have noted before, Yahoo has history and some very loyal searchers who want to come back. Yahoo is a very strong brand, they have only, in my opinion, to recover that brand ability to really make a dent in the market.I was really very surprised to see that MSN / Live has lost some reasonably significant ground in January 2008 search market share. Honestly, MSN and Live have been crawling my web sites like crazy, and they seem to be sending more traffic than ever. MSN / Live loses 1.7% in their share of the search pie for January 2008.The remaining top ten engines I haven't really much to say about, except that just continues to sit there and make no apparent move to grow their market. They are up .2% over December 2007, but they really never hang on to any month over month growth historically. I don't know; we see the Ads, the Eraser, and all the "Hoopla"... None of which seems to be getting the job done. I would say in my honest opinion, people just want fast, easy, and relevant.... Which are all metrics Ask could be schooled on from any of the top 3 search engines.Peace and SEOMelanie Prough **We Require a Link Back Please. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.[...]

December 2007 : Top 10 US Market Share Search Engines

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 09:50:00 +0000

The Nielsen Netratings December 2007 search market share data report has been released, and you are going to be a bit surprised at the results. We post this search market data every month, and have been doing so since April 2007. This data can have some very interesting trends and twists. If you would like to view the past results we have posted, just use the "US Search Market Data" link in the left menu for all of the reports.Most people will be interested to know that Google lost some ground. I guess I am a bit surprised as well. After coming on strong in November with a 2.2% growth over October's share of searches, Google for the first time in a long time lost some market share in December 2007. Google clocks in with 56.3% of all December US searches falling from November's 57.7%. Where did Google's share make off to? You might be surprised.Actually, there is no single culprit who swept away some of Google's market share. Rather, MSN / Live, Yahoo, and AOL all took a bite from Google's pie in Dec. 2007. MSN / Live sneaks away with a 1.8% market share increase for December. Most webmasters are not likely to be surprised about this.. We have been seeing the traffic, indexing, and crawl rates of MSN / Live coming up steady for a couple of months. MSN / Live checks in at 13.8% of the US searches for December, and that's right back up to their October 2007 share mark. No one can dispute, MSN / Live is really doing a nice job all around.Despite all the troubles at home Yahoo was up .2% and trending positively once again. I personally think with 17.9% of the market share, this "red haired stepchild" has the best shot at giving Google a run for their money.. If they could just get it together. We will likely see Yahoo's share fall a bit in Jan. 2008 due to the bad press and complete lack of effort on the companies part to improve their position. It almost feels like they have thrown in the towel.Yes, we all realize AOL delivers Google results, but has anyone noticed the steady and solid increase of their search market share? Check this out.. October 3.7%; November 4.5%; and now December 4.7%. Agreed, AOL is not back to it's September 2007 share of 6.0%, but they are trending up in a very solid way. AOL made big changes in 2007, and clearly they have been positive ones. AOL's following is very loyal, and tends to use the AOL browser for everything. It is not at all uncommon to find regular AOL users who do not even know how to operate Internet Explorer, or even realize they have IE on their PC.. Much less any other made some progress in October 2007 increasing their market share by .7% over the previous month and a share of 2.9%. They have however, been giving that share right back ever since. Ask lost .2% in November, and now for December 2007 gives up another .5% versus Nov. Ask's market share of searches for December 2007 is 2.2% which puts them right back to their September mark. I really don't think Ask has the stuff to ever grow their market effectively. They have spent a ton of cash on advertising and tried to scoop on Google's privacy problem with the "Ask Eraser", but nothing changes the fact that they have outdated results, do not crawl enough, their index is too small, and their search pages are entirely too slow. Ask's issues are very fundamental in nature, yet seem to escape them entirely.Check back next month to see how the big dogs stack up and how they are trending, we publish this every month.Peace and SEOMelanie Prough **We Require a Link Back Please. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.[...]

November 2007 : Top 10 US Market Share Search Engines

Fri, 28 Dec 2007 12:13:00 +0000

The Nielsen Netratings November 2007 search market share data report was released yesterday. We post this search market data every month, and have been doing so since April 2007. This can be very valuable data for your SEO campaign strategy. If you would like to view the past results we have blogged, just use the "US Search Market Data" link in the left menu.Chart legend: An estimated 4.3 billion search queries were conducted using Google Search in the US, representing 57.7 percent of all search queries conducted in November 2007. Click to enlarge data image.Google is still coming on strong with a 2.2% market share growth over October 2007. I think a great deal of people think this continued growth will likely lead to a search market monopoly, but "if" that is in the cards, it is still a long way off. As in any market achievement, the final leg of the race always proves to be the most difficult. Google has shown great prowess and sustained growth in 2007, and I suspect barring any mishaps they will continue to trend their market share upwards.Yahoo continues to struggle with its "come back" plan as their market share continues to trend negatively. In October 2007 report they lost .7% of their market share, and in November they lost another .9%. I gotta believe if you are Yahoo, you need to be considering a far more aggressive plan for growth and market share. I am curious to see December's market share, as Yahoo is very commonly known to grab a high amount of commerce / shopping type searches. If this remains true, which I suspect it is not, we will see a boost in Yahoo's share of searches come December's data. Data has already been collected which shows Yahoo Shopping with a solid 84.3% of "very" satisfied shoppers for the bulk of the 2007 holiday shopping season. We shall see how this affects their market share for December 2007.MSN / Live gave up a bit of its share in November's report as well, losing 1.8% of the search market share. If I had to guess, I would say this is temporary for MSN / Live. They have been crawling and indexing very feverishly, and I believe we will see them begin to trend up in the coming is only down .2% for November 2007. This eats up a bit of the .7% growth they collected in the October 2007 market share, but its not a terrible amount. Last month was the first time has had any discernible growth since May 2007. If I were in the marketing department at, I would be looking to change the strategy, as the ROI (return on investment) seems to be pretty low for the amount of marketing dollars they are spending.While I certainly do not advocate "putting all your eggs in one basket", if your website is not performing well in Google search then you need to concentrate your optimization plan on achieving better Google search position. This will only grow more and more important as Google trends its market share up.Peace and SEOMelanie Prough **We Require a Link Back Please. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.[...]

Top 10 US Search Providers - October 2007

Wed, 05 Dec 2007 03:53:00 +0000

It's that time again.... Nielsen Netratings has released the top 10 US search providers for October, 2007. We have been posting these market data releases since the April, 2007 report. In the left hand menu you can click "US Search Market Data", and view all of our past market share posts.There are some interesting developments in October's market share report. Honestly speaking, I lost a bet as well! Another SEO and I disagreed about Yahoo Search and it's ability to reclaim it's once strong brand loyalty. So, what about Yahoo? I suspected that they would begin to initialize the road to regaining their "claim to fame". Let's face it, Yahoo is also a household word. The data for October certainly doesn't speak to their recent efforts. Yahoo Search lost .7% of US searches month over month from their 19.5% September, 2007 market share. I realize .7% doesn't seem like a great deal, but it really reflects a great deal of actual searches for October.The top 10 search providers make up 97.3% (7,713,994 searches) of all US searches for October. That's not much room for any search provider who didn't make the "A list". The top 3 are Google 55.5% (4,400,561 searches), Yahoo 18.8% (1,490,129 searches), and MSN/Live 13.8% (1,093,696 searches) make up 88.1% (6,984,386 searches) of the search pie for October!So the next time someone tells you not to optimize for these engines, you can probably guess this person doesn't know their SEO. Clearly, your optimization efforts should be prioritized for the wealth of searches Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Live can provide. There are, of course additional factors. For example, search engines tend to attract a certain kind of crowd. MSN/Live tends to attract the "tech and gadget" crowd, while Yahoo is traditionally the home of monster commerce. While they are only going to provide the traffic inherent to their search volume, the search volume for your theme keyword phrases will generally be greater as well. Investigating your potential per a search engine's general audience, and targeting your SEO is quite effective.Google continues on it's quest to overthrow the entire search world, with another steady increase in their market share. Google is looking like this for their trend: April-55.2%, May-56.3%, June-52.7%, July-53.3%, August-53.6%, September-54.0%, and October-55.5%. If you're working hard on your SEO, then you clearly have to be thinking like a "Googler" with your optimization strategy. No one wants to be left out of their share of 4,400,561 monthly searches!MSN/Live is making some progress in their plight to become a notable searching platform again. In September MSN/Live captured 890,685 searches for 12.0% of the market share. In October, they have increased that "take" to 1,093,696 searches and weighs in at 13.8% of the market. That's a force to be reckoned with at 1.8% month over month growth!I continue to be disappointed with From a marketing perspective, they should be really growing their market share more.... But the "proofs in the pudding", they are not seeing the return on investment for their creative marketing efforts. Last month showed up with 2.2% of the market share, and this month 2.9%. September and October, showing the first real growth since May. Up until last month they were riding a roller coaster of very negligible ups and downs. I think is going to have to try some more traditional methods if they plan to grow. No matter which engine users are searching with, they (in my opinion) want some things to be relatively standardized. Searchers are outside of their comfort zone in Ask's current interface, and webmasters are seriously disappointed overall with their indexing and caching performance.The largest drop, from AOL, comes at the hands of their decision not to promote their b[...]

Black Friday Sales Growth 2007 - Did You Get Yours

Tue, 27 Nov 2007 11:30:00 +0000

Nielsen Netratings released the incredible year over year growth data for Black Friday Internet sales 2007. On 11/2/2007 we blogged here about the things a webmaster should know and do to prepare for the "Holiday Rush". I really hope you were on this, and got your share of the Black Friday push on sales. Yesterday, another traditional and historical push in your sales...Cyber Monday. This is the day historically reported as a very large increase in sales, especially over the "lunch" hours of the work day. This has historically been an increase of sales numbers well over 50% for the day. Oh yeah!2007 Black Friday Traffic Increase*Click to enlarge the data chart.Nice! 120 online US e commerce web sites are represented in this data. The web sites pulled an astonishing 21.2 million unique visitors, compared to 19.2 million last year. Last year the growth over 2005 Black Friday sales grew 12%, this year we add another 10% over 2006, to that explosive retail growth. This is an average of the venues you see above.One of the things I had warned about was preparedness, and as you can see, with week over week unique visitor growth of up to 235% (electronics).....This was a genuine concern. Reportedly many sites experienced down time, and cart failures. Even sites smaller than Best Buy (reporting a week over week unique visit growth of 292%), for example were up well over 22% week to week. We are truly an electronics hungry society!The next category, relative to electronics is computer hardware and software. The PC commerce was up 121% week over week! For example Apple Computer showed an incredible 111% growth over the previous week in their unique visits. Dell reported the smallest top 10 sites increase in uniques, with only 29%.While these numbers are clearly astounding, please bare in mind they are not due to peak until early January! Preparedness is the key to grabbing your share. Be looking to your stats for vulnerabilities, and continue to clear the way for heavy traffic in the coming months.Peace and SEOMelanie Prough **We Require a Link Back Please. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.[...]

Return of the Google Glitchy

Fri, 09 Nov 2007 02:46:00 +0000

Over the last week or so, I have been spending a great deal of time in Google's Webmaster Tools. I am working on the finishing SEO for new sites, and redesigns pretty intensely. Unfortunately, Google has been a pain in my optimization. Back in Mid September, you might remember when the "Google Glitchy" was wreaking havoc in Webmaster's Tools. SEO Scoop kept a pretty close watch on it, and reported it fixed on Sept. 19, 2007. The official explanation was an "issue on Google's end", reported by SEO Scoop.So recently, I am seeing some of the same...Ugh. I currently have 15 sites in my tools, and 5 of them for no apparent reason have required revalidation in the last week. Some sites, this blog for example have no crawl stats showing anymore. I have has 3 sitemap errors, for sitemaps that were in place more than 5 crawls previous with no changes. I wasn't even able to resubmit them, I had to generate new ones. It's odd, because I use the same program for all 15 sites, and only 3 were erred. I have had 3 pages reported "404" in my summary, that were allegedly blocked by robots.txt. However, every one of these sites is using an untouched robots.txt for more than 3 months now. I even checked, on my server and Google's copy in tools....These pages are not blocked. Not a big deal, as long as they are read correctly, on next crawl. I am also seeing freaky "unreachable" pages. For example, one of my site's main pages was "network unreachable". I run tracking software, the site was not down. The main page is a full CSS / XHTML page, that loads quick as hell. So, I can only assume with the other issues, that the "Google Glitchy" has returned to the SEO world.I don't mind Google's "FREE" Webmaster Tools might have some data issues, or related bugs. However, I don't like having to re validate sites and jump through hoops checking robots.txt. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I really don't rely on Google's SEO data, but clearly using the tool set is an advantageous decision for any webmaster. Let's hope Google gets "Glitchy" back in the cage soon, and the problems get resolved.Peace and SEOMelanie Prough"Baby" **We Require a Link Back Please. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.[...]

Googlefied SERPs

Thu, 08 Nov 2007 02:07:00 +0000

(image) We pretty much all can tell, Google has been flogging the index recently. I must say right off, I am so glad to see the plague of MFA (Made for Adsense) and spam garbage go away. Won't miss them even a little bit! I wanted to take a minute to bring up a couple other things I noticed in pouring over my new SERPs (Search engine positions).

Firstly I noticed, the "fresher" content, gets the worm. The hit was not big for the sites I have, but sites that have long periods between updates, dropped a bit. The longest period I had was 3 months without an update. I still make new sitemaps every couple of weeks, whether the site is updated or not. So, Google's fresher index is gaining authority.

The other thing I noticed is that the new Geo Targeting tool in your Google Webmaster's Tools, has kicked in. I must say for the sites (5) I used it on, the results are quite dramatic for the short time elapsed. I would strongly suggest you DO NOT use this tool, unless you really want to stick your site to a certain area! The sites still rank for non-location oriented keyword phrases, but the location phrases are very "exact match". If you do use it, try maybe just State, Zipcode, etc. Leave off the street address and City.

All in all, nice work from Google. I see a cleaner and more effective index. I was beginning to feel depressed about being killed in the SERPs, by spam and illegible languages on Feeling better about the SEO today!

Peace and SEO

Melanie Prough

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**We Require a Link Back Please.

Got Accessibility? | Cog SEO Blog Does

Sat, 03 Nov 2007 15:50:00 +0000

Today the Cog SEO Blog drags it's sorry butt in to the realms of accessibility. We will from now on, for every post, offer an audio version. I would like to say that I will personally read these posts to you, but that's not the case. We have chosen a clean speaking, computer generated, male voice. OK, I know....I am a female. We chose a male voice, as it is just clearer and easier to understand.

The posts require a little tweaking, for translation. Things like "SEO" and such, just do not translate. Also, the audio posts are in wav format, so that most readers / users will be able to listen to them. I am compressing the audio posts, so that there will not be a terribly long wait to begin to play. With every effort in this area, we all know my posts can be quite lengthy at times and this may still upon occasion present an issue. Please, just be patient....Every wav file will be compressed to it's smallest size possible without data loss. So realize, the audio version of the posts will be a few minutes behind the text post.

A bit ago we added the Alta Vista Babel Fish language translation widget (down and to your right). This has really been a nice tool, and I would recommend it for any web site or blog. It gets much traffic and good use here.

SEO and Accessibility

Melanie Prough

(image) (image)
**We Require a Link Back Please.

Have a Money Making Winter

Sat, 03 Nov 2007 00:52:00 +0000

Well campers, the busy Internet season here in the US is creeping up on us. My question today is, are you ready? Your redesigns should be launched, your optimization should be under control, and you should be ready for a rise in your traffic.....And your conversions with any luck!As the outside gets colder, and the yards get cleaned up...Folks will be making their way to more inside activities. Many of those activities will include the Internet, via many available platforms now. Ideally your USA based traffic should already be on the increase, statistically they say it will peak in January....Then begin to trend down once again. Of course, your increase will depend highly on your United States, or other "colder" seasoned areas this time of year...And by all means your ability to get them to your site!Have you considered optimizing to increase your share of this growing "pie"? If you for example have a non - US commerce site that does International sales...It might be a good time for a targeted US SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaign. Organic results for will obviously be more precious to you as well, if you can muster some American appeal. If there are more fish in the pond, you are likely to have a better fishing trip!Web designers, developers, and SEOs are probably seeing an increase in their own business right now. People are thinking more about those "inside" activities. Savvy business owners realize this opportunity, and now have a summers worth of cash flow to work with as well.Then consider the holiday season, do you have a plan? New products, good supplies, and have your worked on all the reasons to bail from your cart? Now is the time. Consumers shop from work, their phones, school, the local cafe, and just about anywhere. Last year Internet holiday sales were over 39 Billion...Again, are you ready? Navigation, stock, planning, specials, marketing, and of course my favorite...Optimization.Just some food for thought. Now you can go finish raking your leaves.Peace and SEOMelanie Prough"Baby" **We Require a Link Back Please. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.[...]

Google's PageRank Slap | Immunize your Site

Tue, 30 Oct 2007 10:36:00 +0000

Last week, Google executed a "PR Slap" if you will. The entire webmaster / SEO community has been up in arms about this bold move by Google. On 10/24/2007 Web Pro News posted a list of sites "slapped" and their associated PageRank reductions. There are some pretty heavy hitters in the list, such as,,,, and, just to name a few. As you can imagine many of the site owners are pretty upset. Many rumors an theories were flying around, but with a cool head Andy Beard reported that while many of the sites penalties appeared to be link commerce related...There were others that just didn't look to be participating in and link selling or buying.Many of the reputable sources that have received a penalty are part of extensive blog networks, and they have one factor in common. They have massive interlinking between their network sites.Now yesterday 10/29/2007, we have Search Engine Journal reporting an email from Matt Cutts on the matter. Matt says this...The partial update to visible PageRank that went out a few days ago was primarily regarding PageRank selling and the forward links of sites. So paid links that pass PageRank would affect our opinion of a site. Going forward, I expect that Google will be looking at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.So Matt confirms the selling of links, and adds that they have considered "forward links" of sites. This says to me, that it does not have to be a site selling links to get busted. You may just be lending PageRank to a neighboring site. I would think that this is how the PageRank system is intended to work, but apparently Google has some means of determining a level of "malice" with your outgoing links. I am very concerned that the whole world with have a "fear of linking" epidemic. As you can see above in Matt's comments Google will be looking at more sites.So what of these sites that were penalized? I checked several, and many are cleaned up already. However, there are many in the list that have used what I will call "unsafe SEO practices". I did find some link selling, some hidden text, obvious link selling "buy a link here", sold links hidden away in Java Script, affiliate labeled link lists not "nofollowed", some traffic widgets, and as Andy pointed out some pretty serious interlinking. I did find some sites that in there present state show no signs of a valid reason for the penalty....But only a few.Have we learned nothing? Has Google not been telling us these things for some time? Why would any site STILL have it's blogroll or advertisers labeled as: Sponsors, Partners, Affiliates, or Paid Ads? Additionally, why would anyone think it would work to use such labels and then hide the links in Java Script, with the label...Usually bold or a heading tag right out in the spider-able open? Do we not realize this is hidden links? Hidden text...Most of the time this is just a coding error in my experience....But clearly if you have violated other guidelines, you would seek to avoid raising suspicion for such a simple mistake. Some of the issues are not so easily analyzed, nor repaired. Sites and blogs that are part of huge networks have clearly been penalized as well. I take issue with this, at least partially. In my opinion, if a webmaster doesn't own these sites or there is a huge amount of reciprocal linking afoot...Then this is how Google's ranking system is intended to[...]