5 things more important than SEO

by Hessam on July 14, 2011

Every now and then I find myself politely turning down SEO consulting offers because I just know that my efforts would do little to achieve the clients’ goals. I will try to list my reasons for this below in the hope that it will help companies evaluate their own status before thinking about serious SEO. The bottom line is that there will be zero value from SEO if you ignore these points, and you’ll only be wasting money and efforts and end up dissatisfied with the person you hired. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Brand Search Engine Spam – Hugo Boss

by Hessam on March 8, 2011

I have already written about the apparent inability of fashion brands to build websites which don’t suck. The German fashion brand Hugo Boss is no exception to this. Instead of ditching their Flash website so search engines can find their content and rank their pages for relevant keywords, they have ventured into the shady areas of SEO by publishing sneaky doorway pages on their domain. Doorway pages are only visible to search engines while “normal” visitors are redirected to a nice looking page without noticing. Very sneaky indeed and completely unnecessary taken into account the Hugo Boss brand authority and the amount of good content hidden in all those Flash files on their site. These doorway pages rank very high in search engines for popular keywords:

Hugo Boss - Doorways

You can see these doorways for yourself by doing a Site:search Read the rest of this entry »

Content Farms in Europe – Will They Be Next?

by Hessam on March 4, 2011

Google launched a major algorithmic change during the last week of February, targeting so called Content Farms. These are sites with the revenue model of creating content cheaply which is later monetized with aggressive advertising. Some well-known content farms are EzineArticles, Mahalo, and HubPages. There is a great write up on the massive impact of this update on the Sistrix blog which I highly recommend.

In this announcement, Google said the update was mainly targeted the US market and that a broader international launch is yet to come. I think it would be interesting to put together a list of similar European websites to see if content farms are a problem in the European markets as well.
Read the rest of this entry »

A Major Step Towards Improving Google Search Quality

by Hessam on January 24, 2011

Google’s toolbar PageRank is Evil! I don’t mean it in a clubbing-baby-seals-evil sense, but in that it creates unnecessary confusion and misunderstandings which eventually lead to many incorrect business decisions. In addition, it’s empowering an entire industry of sleazy online marketers who earn their living by luring naive business owners to pay for “link packages” which in reality have a very low value for money. The outcome of all this is a worsened quality of Google Search, something that has lately come under fire from its competitors and its users.

Instead of continuing the never-ending loop of hunting down the offenders, wouldn’t the right thing be to fight it in its roots?
Google Toolbar PageRank Meter
Here are in my opinion a number of negative side effects of the existence of Google toolbar PageRank: Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy Of Stats With Hans Rosling

by Hessam on November 30, 2010

This is by far the most engaging Hans Rosling presentation I’ve seen so far. Created with the help of the BBC, he analysis 200 years of data in 4 minutes using the Gapminder statistical tool on steroids.