Google IS a Portal

google is a portal

You don’t have to use Calendar, or Mail, but when you type “GOOG” or “YHOO” into the simple interface of Google these days, your first choice is now a Google page, not someone else’s. That’s a fundamental change, worth noting. — John Battelle

I’ve been noticing the less-than-subtle change in focus at Google as well. was reviled as a jumbled money-making machine for years, and all of us ‘early adopters’ and geeks have shunned it and Yahoo! as well, for Google’s clean, unfettered white surface. Of course, the textual ads on the next page are a little annoying to some (not me) but even the people who think all things should be free (inherently anti-capitalist) don’t seem to mind textual, sidebar ads.

But, and this is a big but, Google’s apps are all ad supported as well. And it often appears they are merely releasing a new app for the sole purpose of slapping ads on it.

In addition, it appears the search results, which should be organic, may not be so organic after all. Now, we might expect this from MSN, which has always been a portal designed to make money, period. Shoot, we’d expect it from AOL…

But Google?

Their ‘do no evil’ motto just may have to be rewritten.

Google Splogs Make Web 2.0 Difficult

Are we soon to see an improvement in the splogs?  I’m tearing out my hair tonight trying to find anything via  All I can find are splogs or deleted blogs.

Here, to see what I mean, you try this.  Go to and type in “wedding planning, floral arrangements”.  See… nothing but bunk.

In fact, check out this screenshot from one of the blogspot blogs (last update Oct 2005):

splog google

I’m pretty sure that’s keyword spamming, right?

The ultimate irony…  It’s actually been comment-spammed 😉

splog google

Please fix your services, Google, I need to use them

Offsite Brainstorming

Great ideas offsite…  It’s much easier to get your creative juices flowing when you are out of your everyday locale.  For a while, when I was doing more writing than PR, I used to hang out at the local coffee shop and write for hours.  This was a tremendous help for clearing my head.

Of course, then my local friends started seeing me and wasting all my time chit chatting so I got NO work done.  Had to come back home.

I’m in the process of setting up a killer home office.  Of course, at this point it is nothing but boxes and junk, but there is a great office completely designed in my mind.  The potential is there, it’s finding the time to make it great.

Leading up to this tidbit I came across during my boosting duty:

Denise and I purposely staged an off-site mind-wander last Tuesday. We rented an office in the Irvine Center for the day and met half-way between our two home offices. Armed with laptops, flip charts and marker pens, we let the thoughts roll out. The Blog Squad gals were sparking some neurons big time.

There was some purpose to our brainstorm. When business is busy, it is easy to get caught up in servicing clients, and just earning your living. As smart and savvy entrepreneurs, we know that we need to stay ahead of the game, to be ready for the next big idea. We can’t do that unless we have the day to day things managed – which means optimizing our systems such as newsletters, blogs and shopping cart ecommerce automation.

What a great idea!  Offsite brainstorming for bloggers.  Get out of your house (or office) and just spit out ideas…  You never know what you might come up with…

Ethical Dilemmas: Posting to Influence Traffic

When devising a linking strategy, what are your ethical dilemmas?

Are there any?  When you write to be “Dugg” or “Tagged”, or even to influence Google, are you being disengenuous?
Dennis McDonald in a group email post:

– selecting tags with advantage knowledge that these tags will
increase the likelihood of links

– selecting keywords to use in a blog to increase likelihood of
improved page rank for certain search engines

– selecting well trafficked blogs for posting of comments in order to
increase the number of trackbacks to your blog

– including your friends in your blogroll even though they may only
infrequently publish articles or comments that are directly relevant
to your interests.

Don’t be ashamed that you are trying to influence people’s behavious…  That’s the underlying issue behind all marketing.

Don’t worry.  If your stuff is crap, they’ll know it.  You can’t fake quality.

If they get here and then leave, you may want to revisit your content strategy.

LinkedIN Bloggers Happenings

PR blogging

Several weeks ago I was invited to join Des Walsh, Dave Taylor and Dennis McDonald as a co-moderator on the LinkedIN bloggers forum. It’s been fun seeing the inside of a really growing Yahoo! group.

Over the past few days, the members have proposed some great ideas:

Link Boost
Jim Stroud suggested a random blog would be chosen and blogged on each week. This week it’s Itzy Sabo’s Email Overload Blog. They get, not only a link, but a mention on your blog, so they might gain SEO AND traffic/exposure. What a great idea!

OPML Of All The Blogs In The Directory
J Wynia created an OPML file of all the Directory Blogs (though not all members have taken the time to input their info into the directory). I’ve added it to my blog reader and I asked Matthew at Megite to create a personal page for the LinkedIN bloggers. Sweet…

The collaboration I have enjoyed as a member and as a moderator for the group has been wonderful and I invite all of you (LinkedIN members/bloggers) to visit the group’s Yahoo! page (in my left sidebar) and see if we would be a fit for you!

Page Rank Update Underway

I’ve been griping for weeks about my page rank jumping up and down (which usually indicates an update). Duncan at the Blog Herald says it is DEFINITELY underway, even though it wasn’t planned (supposedly) until late March, after Jagger was complete. Great history on SEO updates here.

As of February 18th, there has not been a Toolbar PR export for 122 days. The longest time between toolbar PR exports recorded in the below Page Rank Update List was 111 days.

Anyway, Duncan offers up this tool to view your future page rank:

How Important Is Your URL To Your Search Engine Ranking?

I started this as an answer to Dennis’ comment below, but it was so long I decided to post it.

So, Robyn, are you saying that the URL of your blog and the name of your blog has to incorporate your primary keywords in order to achieve top page rank in Google? Does that mean that with my blog I am destined always to be retrieved by university students studying how a certain fast food company manages itself?

The url is imporant, and can make you rank higher, faster, but notice I am ranked #1 for ‘practical blogging’ and my url is sleepyblogger. Note my title tags are ‘practical blogging’. These are much more important.

Of course, the fact that my blog is titled ‘practical blogging’ as the header (not an image) on the entire blog helps too. It’s one of the first things the bots see, after my title tags.

Your title tags should reflect your content. For a while my title tags said “Practical Blogging | Affiliate Tips” and I ranked on page 1 on google within about 3 months for ‘affiliate tips’ Never made it to #1 on those keywords (much more competitive) but still made in on page 1, so title tags are hugely imporation.

In addition to heavy content, frequent posts, and other html tags, you can rank high pretty fast, if you create an SEO strategy and use it to help you write.