John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

johnon.com  Competitive Web & SEO
December 18th, 2006 by john andrews

Hoovers Spam

When you have a huge database, you should find yourself with tons of opportunity to optimize your data for search engine exposure. You publish some of it according to best web publishing practices, with an eye on the competitive nature of the search engine results pages (aka SEO).  But what if you don’t want to give the data away for free?

Well, I can think of a half-dozen or so good ways to use the data for SEO, without giving away too much of the value that the business database offers. Perhaps the added value my data service offers is in the summary, so I can excerpt some of the quality work the editors have done. Perhaps the value is in the organization of the data, so I can show screen shots demonstrating the utility and convenience of the retrieval system and user interface.  Perhaps the value is in the interlinking; the associations created within that database. I can demonstrate that with some insightful related suggestions or ancillary data. Perhaps the data is frequently updated, so I can reveal some older data with a pitch for the new data, promoting how we work hard to bring you the latest, quality-checked data. 

There should be many ways. We must be adding some value to the raw data right? How else could we remain in business as an information broker? Why would people pay for it otherwise, when they can find it for free on the Internet?

But then, if I were devoid of creativity, and seeking an automated super-cheap way to spam my way to the top of Google, I could just make up fake pages that look like they have the data for every record I might ever actually have (whether or not I have it). Then I could feed it all to Google. Since my domain has a history of distributing data like that, it will seem believable that my pages are actually full of such data. That way I don’t have to reveal any actual data; just enough to make it look like I have the data. And it can help prevent people from finding the free copies that are out there on other websites (but not on Morgan Stanley’s. Go ahead, search for it, see the first result? Click on the third site link “inside the company” –> that’s right, it’s a 404 Page Not Found!)

Sure the Google SERPs get filled with skeleton doorway spam pages that are not really on topic, but who’s to say that such pages on my famous domain are irrelevant? Nobody knows until they buy something, and chances are good that when the customer comes in to my fee-based system, they will find something they want, if not what they were looking for originally.

Oh, and along the way we blocked out any pages that were actually giving away the same information for free. That was a primary goal anyway. Like that famous concrete wall holding back the flow of water that simply desires to flow according to the direction of least resistance, Hoover Dam. Maybe we can call this Hoovers Spam.

Out of fairness to Hoovers, it’s not entirely their fault they have to resort to spamming Google. Google is a semantic engine and works with words, and Hoovers data is not generally stored in full sentences with semantic meaning. However, a decent web master would combine the words with the data to rank the pages, instead of publishing copy like this:

How do individual Morgan Stanley executives contribute to the Morgan Stanley executive team? With Hoover’s you get up-to-date information on Morgan Stanley executives, officers, and board members. Executive biographies usually include recent work history, salary, career progression, and a review of other company affiliations. Salary and bonus are provided for Morgan Stanley executives when available.

CALL NOW (866) 464-3156 or register below to learn how you can access all of Morgan Stanley’s executive information.

Obtain a roster of the Morgan Stanley executives, and Morgan Stanley executive biographies. Executive data provided by Hoover’s includes expansive lists of up to 200 key employees, officers, and board members per company. Name, title, salary, bonus, age, and biography are provided for company management when available

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December 15th, 2006 by john andrews

Ted Leonsis

The Ted Leonsis pages are moving along, but these pages seem to need some help:

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December 15th, 2006 by john andrews

SEO Job from Hell: Ranking a Pharmacy

So how does one rank a pharmacy web site?

There is so much pharmacy spam, a regular pharmacy (or pharmacist) can’t hope to rise above the noise. There is so much pharmacy blog spam, a pharmacist blogger is assigned nofollow whenever she comments on a blog. There are so many pharmacy splogs.. most ranking, relevant blogs have comments turned off. The very terms that define pharmacy (pills, medications, drugs) are saturated in the search engines, with few if any actual pharmacies or pharmacists involved.

My previous example of a tough SEO job was : Molly Ringwald hires you to rank her new line of aromatic candles, called ”16 Candles.”

I think the pharmacy thing is worse.

 

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

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