Scoble visiting the Plex

Robert Scoble is visiting the plex tomorrow (okay, today at this point. I lost this post and need to get the WordPress autosave functionality going). What should I ask Robert?

Aha, looks like he’s got a question for me about the Windows Live Writer blog. Without doing any actual debugging (I’m not on the VPN), I noticed:

- a query for [windowslivewriter] returns pages from the site, so we do have some pages from the site in our index.
- but the site is pretty brand-new (only one post on the blog so far, dated Aug. 11, but it didn’t get traction on Techmeme until Aug. 14th).
- the title of the blog is “Writer Zone,” which is a little generic. If you want to show up for a query like [windows live writer], having that in the page title certainly could help.
- doing the query [site:windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com] returns some urls like windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!D85741BB5E0BE8AA!174.entry . In general, urls like that sometimes look like session IDs to search engines. Most bloggy sites tend to have words from the title of a post in the url; having keywords from the post title in the url also can help search engines judge the quality of a page.

Ah, but I can hear people saying that spaces.msn.com also had urls like “ericlam.spaces.msn.com/blog/cns!5D73BE0B4076E647!330.entry” and spaces.msn.com has lots of indexed urls. That brings up the whole subject that spaces.msn.com has been migrating to spaces.live.com. I know that was a pretty big change for the Spaces folks. Anytime we know about big changes like that across the web, we want to help make sure that the changes go smoothly. I know I got over 12 emails from GregP over at Microsoft about the progress of the migration from spaces.msn.com to spaces.live.com, and I checked with the indexing folks at Google to ask about how long it might take to crawl sites over at spaces.msn.com and see that they’d moved over to spaces.live.com. So there’s a chance that it might be something related to the hostload or the amount of new pages we can crawl over at spaces.live.com. Anyway, I’ll dig into it more tomorrow.

Let me know if there’s anything that you want me to ask Scoble. :)

Update: It was nice talking to Robert Scoble and Scott Mace of Calendar Swamp. We talked about blogging, the differences in cultures at several companies, and what Google should be doing better on. Scoble had a couple follow-on posts here and here.

By the way, it looks like the primary issue with the Windows Live Writer blog was the large-scale migration from spaces.msn.com to spaces.live.com about a month ago. We saw so many urls suddenly showing up on spaces.live.com that it triggered a flag in our system which requires more trust in individual urls in order for them to rank (this is despite the crawl guys trying to increase our hostload thresholds and taking similar measures to make the migration go smoothly for Spaces). We cleared that flag, and things look much better now.

For a search like [windows live writer], I see the Windows Live Writer blog at number one, and the Windows Live Writer Beta product download page at number 2. Going forward, I’ll keep an eye on the spaces.msn.com to spaces.live.com migration with the crawl folks to make sure that it continues to be smooth. It also looks like Mike Torres is #1 for searches like [torres talking], so overall things look pretty good now.

38 Responses to Scoble visiting the Plex (Leave a comment)

  1. Hi Matt

    Any chance of you putting up a video of the visit?

    I have a question for you about the Robert Scoble blog: a search on Google for Robert Scoble returns his old blog scoble.weblogs.com on top instead of the new WordPress one. The last post on the weblogs blog is dated November 27th 2005 and asks people to come over to his new home at WordPress. Shouldn’t the new blog be on top of search results?

    Susan

  2. “Shouldn’t the new blog be on top of search results?”

    Susan Google thinks Old is Gold :)

    What do you say Matt ???? :)

  3. I’ve seen better crawl- and indexable websites made in Frontpage 97. Come on, is it 2006 or 1996?

    What the heck does a link to http:// windowslivewriter. spaces.live.com/Local Settings/Temporary Internet Files/OLKE/spikew/Application Data/Windows Live Writer/PostSupportingFiles/fa3f8f30-717a-4e09-aeb9-083cbef4e1fb/AdventuresOfTimAndTina4.jpg
    have to do in there? Is that site by Microsoft or by their 6 year old grandsons? I would be disgraced to even have a site like that up, how can they even openly stand to it? …. and complain that it isn’t being indexed / ranking properly… Now I know why Vista is delayed……

  4. Tim

    “Most bloggy sites tend to have words from the title of a post in the url; having keywords from the post title in the url also can help search engines judge the quality of a page.”

    Matt, Perhaps I’m overanalyzing this, but I’m curious about this statement in reference to the word “quality”. Does having words in the URL increase or decrease the assumed “quality” of the page? Or would it be more appropriate to say “can help search engines judge the subject of a page”?

  5. “Susan Google thinks Old is Gold”

    TheSEOGuru, when it comes to blogs, shouldn’t Google think Old is Mold instead? :)

  6. It’s annoying when the Google team blogs — using Blogger, with titles as URLs — and they change something in the title, the URL will change too. What’s the use of a permalink if it’s not permanent? I think that’s a major downside of titles in URLs…

    A recent example:
    Version 1:
    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2006/08/listen-in.html
    Version 2:
    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2006/08/listen-in-matt-cutts-and-vanessa-fox.html

  7. This is a fascinating thread and thanks Matt for giving some insight as to how the indexes work – well a little at least.

    Old is Gold… love that. Before August 2006 the only results you got searching for Windows Live Writer on Google were the ones that I did back in July – http://www.menori.com/2006/07/15/windows-live-writer/

    And now I’m relegated to about page 15! *Sob* ah well. :-)

  8. The top Google hits for [windows live writer] are

    *αí*ß>* *L …

    and

    *αí*ß>* ****8* *αß ² *Z² *** * ****************** !”#$%&’()*+ …

    both of which say: File Format: Unrecognized (they’re msi).

    After that we get Windows Live Writer Beta at ideas.live.com, and then IEBlog : Windows Live Writer. This has the somewhat amusing offer: [ Translate this page ]

    which very kindly translates the text from

    > The Windows Live team released a new tool for editing and
    > creating blogs yesterday called Windows Live Writer (WLW).
    > I am using it right now to post this …

    to, oh, exactly the same. Way to go, Google!

    The same search on MSN gets:

    > Blog
    > Blog … Welcome to the Windows Live Writer team blog!
    > We are excited to announce that the Beta version of …
    > windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/blog Cached page
    >
    > Writer Zone
    > Writer Zone … Welcome to the Windows Live Writer team blog!
    > We are excited to announce that the Beta version of …
    > windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com Cached page

    (Screen grabs: http://tinyurl.com/kzr9y )

    Sadly, MSN does a better job with our blog, too.

    Considering the relative market power of Google and MSN Search, this is not something we plan to party about ;-(

  9. Ask scoble about this trend of elite bloggers only linking to other elite bloggers making a huge extremely boring echo chamber and then doing top “10 lists” (for diggs) about how to avoid this echo chamber while at the same time not referencing those who they steal the ideas from.

    Note: Robert Scoble does not do this but others surely do, it puts a HUGE damper on “The Conversation” and hopefully will not get as much weight in future search engine algorithms.

  10. >Is that site by Microsoft or by their 6 year old grandsons?

    Haha, nice jab…OK, the orphaned links to local files are admittedly horrible and the AdventuresOfTimAndTina4.jpg is actually quite embarrasing (that had to be a test image added at some point while authoring the post). These orphaned links were probably caused by adding and removing images to the post using Writer. It’s not that we like to generate bad HTML, it’s that we were dog-fooding the Writer beta when we created the announcement post. The downside to WYSIWYG editing in general is that it’s easy to accidentally orphan stuff in the page, and when it’s not visibly represented you don’t know to remove it. In general, we (the Writer team) are very conscious of the need to make Writer generate clean HTML, its unfortunate this link orphaning case made it into the beta.

    Now that I know theses orphaned links are there, I’d love to remove them immediately, but I don’t want to taint the testcase for Google’s investigation.

    Matt,
    We really appreciate that you guys are taking a look at this. The MSN/Live Spaces migration theory is very interesting. Is there any chance that these orphaned local image references in the post have caused Google to block the page as a result because it looks like some kind of security violation?

  11. yes, blogs put keywords in their urls.. but so do the win-a-mortgage-while-playing-poker-and-taking-viagra.com type sites too..

    Frankly, I hate the trend of keywords in URLs, it’s not natural, it’s not easy, and it doesn’t really add benefit for the user (too much to type)

    if there were no search engines, people wouldn’t do it… isn’t that contradictory to the webmaster guidelines?

  12. People who don’t link to other people outside of their comfort zone eventually get routed around. The readers figure that out eventually.

    People don’t like getting locked out of conversations. They start throwing stones through the front window. Hey, I think you just threw one! :-)

  13. Ask about the Garlic Fries recently pictured by him. How can I get some?

  14. Tim, including the keyword in the url just gives another chance for that keyword to match the user’s query in some way. That’s the way I’d put it.

  15. Tim

    Thanks for the clarification, Matt! That is what i was hoping you were going to say.

  16. I Agree with Suzan!!! Totally

  17. Matts comment to Tim here established some clarity for me. The more magic spots we can add in our specific keywords for their query the better. Im sure Google is in the mix of bringing to surface something to know if keywords are being abused as well.

  18. Ask him if he thinks blogs are killing journalism. Wired has an article about the trend being that most journalists don’t dig for answers, and they barely even do more than copy and paste the press release.

    What are his thoughts on getting noticed when the great volume of blogs discourages people from reading the good ones. When most people I know hear the word blog their first reaction is “ugh, maybe i’ll read it later”.

    Blogs are like linux distros.. they’re more of them than actual readers/users.

  19. Ken

    The interesting part of this whole situation is that apparently the Writer Zone blog used to be at the top of the Google results, but recently got usurpsed by some questionably low quality results.

    You make some good points if the blog had never been rated highly, but they don’t seem to apply to a rapid drop in the ranking.

  20. Matt: Does the fact that the keywords on Google SERPs are ‘bolded’ reflect the actual ‘value’ of the keyword(s) in the Title Tag, URL and snippet or Content Tag?
    And if you where asked to put a percentage value on having the keyword in the actual domain as ‘outranking’ of other SERPs would you say it is closer to 1% or 0.1%?

    (Sorry for all the ”””’ ;-)

  21. Hey! you linked the Logo. Now I can take the little pointer finger and poke it up the nose. This is great. I was looking for something to do while I procrastinate and I can claim that reading your blog is work related ;)

    Playing video games was getting to be too obvious.

  22. TxRex

    At what point does indexing blogs become the indexing of “non-instant chat rooms” ?…

    Interesting that the old dinosaur (Microsoft) is looking to the younger dinosaur (Google) for assistance…Imagine a t-rex gobbling up everything until the only thing left are the scraps of a raptor…Remember…in the end…it is the colony of ants that survives…

  23. ooooo looks fun however how are we ever going to remember the blog page with that session ID

  24. The SEW blog seems a little excited about your reference to the role of keywords in the URL. You now seem to be down playing your earlier – and first reported – comments.

    Is it as simple as text matching which I now infoer from your latest comment? Or is there even the tiniest extra emphasis placed on keyword inclusion in the URL?

  25. How did things go.. interesting things..

  26. Nick, you pick my logo’s nose any time. You can pick your logo and you can pick your friends, but you can’t..

    rxbbx, I’ll either write more about it or video about it.

  27. JLH

    I was thinking of the old Kid’s in the Hall skit, where they were “crushing your head, I’m crushing your head” and thought of rxbbx sitting there with his mouse saying “I’m picking your nose, I’m picking your nose”

    That’s it , no Bait-Matt-Friday, it’s a long weekend!

  28. Ryan, really? I haven’t found that to be the case at all. I’ve found there are MANY TIMES more readers than people who blog. Especially today. Slashdot linked to me and so far just from that one link I’ve gotten 38,400 visits.

  29. Matt, Perhaps I’m overanalyzing this, but I’m curious about this statement in reference to the word “quality”. Does having words in the URL increase or decrease the assumed “quality” of the page? Or would it be more appropriate to say “can help search engines judge the subject of a page”?

  30. Nick, you pick my logo’s nose any time. You can pick your logo and you can pick your friends, but you can’t..

    Just don’t apply style=”cursor:hand” to that logo. God knows what sick stuff people around here would start doing.

    ANIMALS. Yer all ANIMALS.

  31. Harith

    Good morning Matt!

    I must add 2 and 10 to be allowed to post this comment. For around 30 years ago I worked as a math teacher. Wouldn’t ask any of my merry students at that time such an intellegent question :)

    “Scoble had a couple follow-on posts here and here.”

    It seems Mr. Scoble is a man of few words. How about you Matt telling us in your own generous words something about that visit ;)

  32. RM

    Does google have something similar in the works

  33. I must add 2 and 10 to be allowed to post this comment.

    For mine I was asked to “Please add 10 and 3″. Matt, I think you should up the game and randomly display the math in either digits, words, or l337… :)

    Please add 73n and 7hr33

    -Michael

  34. wow, new captcha.. it not only prevents bots, but dumb people too!

    anyway.. Scoble, sorry I took a few days vacation and couldn’t defend my statements, so I’ll throw my 2 cents in.

    There’s a big difference between A list and non A list bloggers. The problem I’ve seen is that very rarely it’s their writing abilities that set them apart. More often it’s their job title, company they work for, etc etc.

    I’ve been in both worlds. Though currently a D-list blogger now, I’ve written for A-list sites, magazines, and even books (under multiple pen names). I actually started blogging before blogging was a word.

    Slashdot visits are nice (I’ve seen the traffic influx it brings…as well as all the other big name sites too. I’ve been linked on most). Those are one time phenomenons, they’re not real readers. I’m actually working on a case study comparing various traffic sources (slashdot, fark, radio, magazine, book,newsletter mentions) and their affect on repeat visitors, ad clicks, product sales, and even blog mentions. So far, sites like slashdot and fark only accounted for increased traffic, but not increased sales, ad clicks, or repeat visitors.

    I still stand by my statements from earlier. I think there’s too many blogs out there, and that’s hurting blogging as a whole. See, back in the day you needed to buy a domain, get web hosting, and know a little bit of perl before you could blog. That helped make it so that the only bloggers were people with something to say, and life was interesting.

    Nowadays even dogs have blogs. everybody considers themselves a journalist, and I think it’s pretty clearly affecting the actual quality of writing that gets passed off as journalism.

    So many newspaper articles are nothing by copy and paste press releases, and too many blogs are nothing by summaries of those articles with no added insight; A list bloggers included. It’s creating poor quality journalism everywhere.

    Take today for example. I know Steve Irwin died because most A-list bloggers mentioned it, however I’m still looking for a good insightful article about it that isn’t more than a mention, or a quick summary of an AP press release.

    It’s the insight that I’m interested in, not a summary of facts like most bloggers seem to be providing. I can get those from the press releases.

    At least within my circle of friends, if I were to email a link to a blog to somebody, they’d respond with “bah, maybe i’ll look at it later I’m busy”, but they ‘d click a CNN or Fox link immediately. Maybe it’s just me and my friends that are weird.

    I’m stopping now, because I’ve had too much crown royal and I’m probably ranting.

  35. Hi Matt,

    Not sure where to submit a question to re SEO/Google in relation to links, so I’m doing it here.

    When calculating page rank based on linkages to a page does Google weight links differently if they are anchored to text links (other than by the inclusion of extra keywords) instead of image buttons?

    Regards

    Mark

  36. Matt .. where blogging is conserned do you think it should or shouldnt be included in the main index? Personally I dont see the point of putting what can be personal diaries in the main index. The point of blogging really is to lay out personal thoughts as you do here. Is what you or I do in our own personal time really what your main index is all about?

    If I am looking for personal thought of someone shuoldnt there be a differant method of finding it? I thing a blogspot search is the best way tbh. The main feature of the main index should be for information that is professionally produced surely. Not personal opinion.

  37. Rob

    Hi Matt,

    I’m like to consider myself an experienced SEO now having been around for 5 years in the market, with much success on my clients sites (always WhiteHat!!), but can’t seem to figre something out, and it’s been just nagging at me for a while.

    I was wondering why Google’s DB (probably from BigDaddy), seems to return different result on keyword placement when queries are made from different parts of the US (geographicall) for a given search term? As well, why does Google.ca or any other international countries Google infrastructure from the Google DB, return results that give higher placement for certain keyword major terms and lowers others for a single website?

    Is Google not sure where the site should stand, shows that it needs tweaking, perhaps that is is using different results from different servers around the globe?? Guestimating here!

    I can’t seem to put my fingure on it, by reverse engineering variables for valued site development.

    I’m working on one of my clients websites, and have a position #2 for Google.ca for the highest trafficed term in thier marketplace in WY, and #6 for Google.com (when searhcing it from Wy) for the most major term in our niche marketplace. But when I spoke with someone in Cali yesterday on a a marketing call, they said our site was #3 natural listing for that main term so I was confused again…

    Any help, insight or thoughts? Thanks again for your time.
    Rob

  38. The ranking is not even the same if you are in the same room. We see pages ranked #2 on one PC and the next one over is showing in on the bottom of SERP 2. This indicates that the rankings are different in between datacenters.

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