Sunday, April 26, 2009

Search Engine Optimization Tricks and Tips condensed.

I have written quite a bit on the subject of search engine optimization a.k.a. SEO. Not everyone agrees, nor do they all understand the depth of what is going on (including me) but there are many more points that the experts do seem to agree on. Since my posts on the subject are sort of all over the place, I have condensed them here. Of course, you can always go to and search for "search engine optimization tricks" and the articles should come up within the top ten or so. By the way, that particular term ("search engine optimization tricks") is one of the hardest to get in the top ten for since everyone who is really knowledgeable about SEO and does it professionally knows that their prospective clients search for that term. Me? I just give the advice away for free.

Before anyone uses these to "trick" Google, know that doing so will often result in helping nobody. After all, what is the use of having a website selling some medication come up in the top ten results for someone seeking to read about golfing or fishing? Yes, you might be able to do this, but it will not benefit you and it will not benefit the readers so don't bother. I have said this before and will say it again, Google's ranking system is very fair and if you want your sites to do better, use proper enhancements, not black magic tricks. I have never had to resort to anything underhanded to gain #1 spots and keep them. Some examples? Search for these terms in Google and click to either the sites that points at this blog or back to SOA White Paper, Enterprise Developer Resources, Sombrio (goes to my friend's site), Search Engine Optimization Tricks, Adobe cloud computing, understanding REST, Adobe MAX 2009. Note that some of these will change over time (as they should) as new works become available. In the past, I have helped clients get #1 for bicycle, mountain bike, aromatherapy, yoga, skiing, mac and more.

Here is a list of some relevant posts on the subject made in the past.
Some tips related to Flash SEO.

8 quick tips anyone can implement.

A recap of a talk I did on Flash SEO at the Web 2.0 conference in Berlin. Slides included.
Some general tips to save you work by really understanding some of what Google ignores.
A video of how Ichabod indexes SWF content in different states. Note that as Beussery noted in the comments, this is now old and there are still major questions about how Google actually uses content it grabs.
A report on Google's use of Ichabod (code name) for indexing SWF content.
A pointer to a video tutorial of how Google tracks searching and click-through traffic.

If this still is not enough, try Google's site. They pretty much tell you exactly what you will need to do to help elevate your rankings.

There are also some other people who I consider of guru status (we don't always see eye-to-eye but generally they are very knowledgeable):

Danny Sullivan

Beu Blog

Anyways, this is enough information to get you higher than you are now in the rankings.

My next work is some trial studies to determine how well SWF content ranks against HTML content given the same context. This study is ongoing and has to be totally uncontaminated by people searching for or linking to it so I cannot divulge any secrets, but I will share all when ready.

I am also working on cracking the codes within the Google page results. If you search for a term, you will find some cryptic strings within the source of the results page like this:

Now note that this is often different on most geographical, temporal, and browser/OS combinations, but you can generally find these strings:


The middle one, starting with AFQjCN will be in most search results however the 7th letter often changes. If I search in Vancouver, I nearly always get an "H" but others have experienced differences.

I highly suspect that this is anti-spamdexing technology engineered by Google and returns a hash value based on an IP address and timestamp, making it impossible to gain click through success. It is probably impossible to get around or spoof but nevertheless presents an intriguing puzzle.

I recently posted a challenge to a few people such as Danny Sullivan, Tim O'Reilly, Dick Hardt, Matt MacKenzie, and others to see what they got as the 7th character. The results varied.

Google can track what you click on. This means that over time, search engine results can be tracked and dynamically adapted based on who clicks on what. The actual mechanism is far more complex than such a simple algorithm, however, as ontology classifications are mixed in along with other ways to determine how each result should be treated in future searches.

Using a different machine and browser combination from a different IP address, I also found this little snippet of code in the source:

a href="/url?q="
in particular, compare the value of usg=AFQjCNHZFyB7San73Hj6Lb0zkcUbGq_N0g to this value


Can it be a coincidence that the first 7 characters are the same? The odds against this are 52 to the power of 6 or better than 1 in one quadrillion +. This is based on only observing upper and lower case letters. If you include numeric values the number is much higher.

When I clear my cache and cookies, the value changes yet the first 6 characters remain the same:


If these values do not change, it is possible that the first 6 characters are based on some unmutable part. At first I thought perhaps it was the search itself so I changed the search term yet got this response:


This is an interesting and probably ultimately pointless exercise, but I am the type who does crosswords and picks up Rubik's Cubes when I see them (best time to solve ever was 5'30" flat).
Mental Masturbation? Perhaps. There is probably a document somewhere outlining exactly what it is but I prefer to figure it out on my own.


  1. Love the site! used the information very efficiently and applied it to Google conquest bonuses. Thank you

  2. For long-term search engine marketing, you can build your opt-in lists and maintain good content. This can give you a steady traffic to your site in a long period of time. As long as you have good content on your website, people will keep on returning to recover these useful data. An opt-in list can come handy to update potential clients who are interested with your offers. Just keep on updating them and sending newsletters that would help them with their decision.

  3. Natalie:

    I could not agree more. Too many people concentrate on "tricks" rather than just delivering good content. Putting the energy into good content people want will do the SEO for you in most cases. Opt-in is also the way to go - respects peoples rights.


  4. I appreciate all your efforts.I have doubt.I also use blogspot domain for blogging.I am planning to redirect my blog to new domain name.I heard ,redirection cause issues in SEO facts.I don't want to be a spam blogger.I also heard that 301 redirection is SEO friendly.But i never got an authorized opinion.Hope,you can help me.

  5. sanker:

    I am not 100% positive but I do believe that the redirect causes issues with Google. I know some people have claimed there is a difference between a 302 and a 301. I'd check with Danny Sullivan or at beaublog.

    Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. I have just seen too varied results.


  6. Thanx man.Its some what convinced,that redirection badly affects the inbound links.If you find any interesting fact about this ,make sure ,you write it here.I'l check you.

  7. Excellent facts.Am always a fan of seo and traffic tips.I noticed your comments tact n rules.Everybody hates spams.Seo and traffic Now at times ,have many more (not only technical) glitches.Most of them are ideological.I think,i have a refference related to these in my post traffic from search engines for you .

  8. Hi,
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    The SEO service providers help these businesses to achieve this target. They make use of the appropriate keywords with a right density to make your website show up in the first few pages of the search engines. This increases the possibility of getting more and more visitors to your site.


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