Google Gets Minty Fresh

A new patent application (a rare short one) from Monika Henzinger, of Google, adds a way to consider the freshness of a web page, based upon both the “last-modified-since” message received by a search spider about the page, and a review of the “last-modified-since” messages received from pages that link to that page.

See: Systems and methods for determining document freshness

There are other examples of how this works, but here’s one from the patent application:

As another example, if the number of “fresh” documents of the set of documents containing links to document p is greater than the number of “not fresh” documents of the set of documents containing links to documents (i.e., as determined by freshness attribute(s) associated with each document of the set of documents), then documents can be considered “fresh,” and a corresponding “high” freshness score F.sub.r may be assigned to documents. To illustrate, if each document of set of 100 documents containing a link to document p has a freshness attribute, such as, for example, a HTTP “last-modified-since” attribute, that indicates that 70 of the documents have been recently modified or updated and, thus, are fresh, then a “high” freshness score F.sub.r can be assigned to document p.

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The SkipJack Martha Lewis has been Chartered

Inviting people to a town on the Chesapeake to hang out, and share some laughs, some good food, and some thoughts on internet marketing wouldn’t have been complete without providing a chance for those folks to sail around on the waterways.

I chartered a tour today for SEO on the SEA for a cruise on one of the last of the Chesapeake oyster ships to have been built, the Skipjack Martha Lewis. It seems kind of ugly to refer to the skipjack as an “oyster dredger” because that seems to imply something slow, and unslightly. Loren Baker, who knows much more of the history of Maryland watermen than I do, tells me that skipjacks were built to be swift on the waterways. They had to be. The first ones to the oyster beds were usually the ones who ended up with the best hauls.

And, relations between competitors weren’t always friendly. Border skirmishes happened, and the open waters were often laid claim to by strength of arms. There were even times when the government took action against those who harvested the riches of the sea. The oyster wars often saw watermen and government forces clashing.

warfare on the seas, with watermen taking aim at police schooner Julia Hamilton
Image from the Library of Congress, reference number LC-USZ62-76142, originally published in Harper’s Weekly, Mar. 1, 1884.

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Who Knew the Web Would Suck.com? Promotion in the Days Before Search Engines

Keepgoing.org has a great history of one of the first great web sites – the online Mad Magazine of its time. In The Big Fish, they take a look at Suck.com, ten years after its launch.

I came to the party late, and didn’t learn about suck.com until it had closed its doors, and stopped publishing. But this story is a great one, and there are probably a lot of lessons here to be learned by anyone interested in putting a web site online.

Promotion in the days before search engines made it big? Here’s how suck.com got the word out:

Anuff collected every magazine he could locate, at the Wired offices and at home, until he had a stack of perhaps 200, which he combed through, writing down every email address he found. “Every published email address of any journalist period ended up on this master list, and we spammed them all when we launched.” After that, there was little else to do except watch the server traffic, and wait.

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Mike Grehan Lets Slip the Secret of Search Engine Optimization

And, in Why You Don’t Rank on Search Engines, he provides one of my favorite quotes in an article on search engines that I’ve seen in a long time:

Ask yourself, “Why would anyone want to link to my site?” Be brutal. Write down as many reasons as you can about why other sites should link to you. If you can’t convince yourself another site would want to link to you, you seriously need to question what your value proposition is and how your site promotes it (or not, as the case may be).

It’s a tough question that Mike raises, but it’s a good one. Not just the secret to SEO, it is also the secret to a successful web site. I’d probably add “bookmark” to the question, as in “Why would anyone want to bookmark or link to my site?”

Within that simple question, there are actually a lot of questions:

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More Thanks for Spreading the Word

More mentions of SEO by the SEA sighted on the horizon:

SEO Book’s Aaron Wall gave SEO by the SEA a shout out on Saturday. Thanks, Aaron.

And volatilegx, of I Hate Google (a.k.a. I Love Google), gave us a mention, and another search blog to add to our blog roll. Appreciate the link, and the chance to read another interesting search engine blog.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Loren’s post on Search Engine Journal from last week: SEO By The SEA – Gathering on Search Engines, Boats, and Maryland Seafood, and the SEO by the SEA tattoo challenge.

Another Way to Display Search Results: The Importance of User Interfaces

SEO by the SEA isn’t just about the event SEO by the SEA.

It’s also about search engines, usability, and the web itself

I came across an topic that reminded me of some of the sea faring charts that you might see if you wanted to take an ocean voyage (I always get a kick out of seeing the phrase “Here there be sea serpents”). There are some search engines that display search results in unique ways. Kartoo is one that comes to mind. Mooter (no longer available) shows clusters before results. The Touch Graph Google Browser provides some interesting pictures of the relationships between pages.

But, I’d really like to see what BJ Fogg could come up with if he was given the opportunity to create a search engine after reading Visualization of a significance of a set of individual elements about a focal point on a user interface.

The title is a mouthful, and the abstract from this patent application isn’t encouraging either. But the idea seems like a good one.

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News Travels at the Speed of Blogs

There are a number of people to thank for sharing news of the SEO by the Sea.

Thanks to Chris at Gray Hat Search Engine News for his unusual take on a gathering of SEOs near the sea. His inspired silliness left us with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

And, I’d like to see Nick W of Threadwatch on deck of a sea faring vessel, headed our way. Thanks for the mention in Get yer bucket and spade, it’s SEO’s by the SEA!. Much obliged for the shoutout, Nick.

Barry Welford, of BPWrap, writes of SEO Associations, and notes our association of SEO with the sea as an metaphor that helps make the industry seem a little more positive. Appreciate the mention, Barry, and I wish that you were able to join us.

Brad, from Everything Else, wrote about SEO by the Sea (link no longer available), and mentioned that “It’s actually a SEO gathering I might give some serious consideration to attending.” I hope that you do, Brad. It would be great to be able to meet you.

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Places to Stay in Havre de Grace

If you would like to join us for SEO by the SEA, on the weekend of August 19, 20, and 21st, there are plenty of nice places to stay in, and around, Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Antiques Row is the nickname for the street in Havre de Grace named after George Washington, and it runs through a historic section of town. Washington Street even has a plaque which notes that Washington did travel down the street back in the times of the founding fathers.

But, you won’t find any “Washington slept here signs,” which is a good thing, because they would likely be a lie (well maybe you will, but I did warn you). When the British invaded Havre de Grace, during the war of 1812, they only left two houses and a church standing, after burning down the rest of the buildings.

There are places in town where Washington would have been happy to have stayed, though I’m not sure if he would have appreciated the high speed internet access some of them now proudly tout. Many don’t have high speed internet, but I’ve noted the ones that do.

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