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Google at Catholic University

Being one of the few web marketers able to squeeze into Google’s talk at Catholic University for government web managers, I thought it would be prudent to take a few minutes to explain some of the things that came out of the event.

Introduction:
As part of a series of seminars and training sessions for government web masters and web managers, FirstGov was able to secure Google’s “Search Evangelist” Adam Lasnik to offer SEO tips. This was the first of its kind and, while Adam did a nice job, there were certainly a handful of “technical difficulties” that come hand and hand any time a technology professional touches a computer with Microsoft Powerpoint on it. Nevertheless, there were a few interesting tidbits to come out of the discussion. According to Lasnik, more individuals in 2005 claimed to have last contact with a government agency by internet (web or email) than by phone. This is a striking figure, as the overwhelming majority of individuals needing access to the government are well above the teenage years, and many of whom are senior citizens.

(1) Troublesome id= Tag
Lasnik made it fairly clear that using an id= tag on a page is SEO suicide. You may as well drop a nocache,noindex,nofollow meta tag on those pages, because Googlebot is going to consider them session-ids and avoid them like the plague.

(2) Linkbait Rocks
Lasnik seemed fairly open to the idea of linkbait. At one point he said “if you get your site slashdotted or dugg, you deserve a promotion”.

(3) Paid Links, ehhh
Surprisingly, Lasnik did not have a big problem with paid links (he called them “advertisements”). He seemed to suggest that they could algorithmically be considered using the next…

(4) Text Surrounding Links
Although he would not explain how or to what extent, when asked about whether text surrounding links matters, he was clear that it does. It would be algorithmically easy to consider lists of links differently from those surrounded by text.

(5) Use Yahoo.
Lasnik said, in no fewer words, that webmasters should use Yahoo’s siteexplorer tool.

Conclusions:
So, there doesn’t seem to be much of anything brand new (it was a training session, not a press conference).

Perhaps most interesting, however, was this new relationship that Google is forming with the webmaster community. It appears that Google is interested in empowering webmasters, especially those in the government or educational arena. It is an interesting tactic in fighting search spam and improving search results.

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2 Comments

  1. Clay C
    Sep 26, 2006

    Question for clarification about item (1):

    You reference “using an id= tag” – in what capacity? Are you referring to the use of ‘id=’ within links or ~anywhere~ in the code? (DIV tags, for example)

  2. yza
    Sep 3, 2007

    Thank you for the detail.

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