Looking Back after 6 Years and 1,000 Posts

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Almost 6 years ago, SEO by the Sea was born in a thought inspired by the sight of sails bobbing up and down on waves where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay, in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

The town is a sleepy historical place, which comes alive during weekends when many visit the antique shops and docks and bed and breakfasts. Most of it burned down during the War of 1812 when nail maker and militia lieutenant John O’Neill attempted to singlehandedly hold off British ships intending to sail up the River after attacking Baltimore (the attack that inspired Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner).

O’Neill was eventually captured, and in retribution, the British set the buildings of Havre de Grace afire. Little of it remained unscathed, but the residents rebuilt the town, which originally got its name from Marquis de LaFayette, who called it Havre de Grace, or the “Harbor of Grace.”

Concord Point Lighthouse, which sits at the mouth of the Susquehanna River in Havre de Grace.

I was working in Havre de Grace at the time, and my co-worker Loren Baker and I came up with the idea of hosting an alternative and affordable meetup of marketers and SEOs.

Much like the free Barcamps that started in the summer of 2005, SEO by the Sea was intended to be a free gathering of people, located in the relaxed atmosphere of Northern Maryland, away from expensive hotels, cavernous conference rooms, and strict agendas.

While the event received a fair amount of attention online, it might have been an idea before its time, and the turnout wasn’t huge by any means. I did register this domain before the event, and blog about things like the town’s history, places to stay when attending, and more. Once the event passed, I left this blog alone.

That is until the thought came to me that I should blog a little about SEO, and about some of the patents that I’ve been seeing, some of my experiences, and maybe some tips and ideas about SEO and internet marketing.

I wrote many posts, and received a comment here and there, and continued to write for its pure enjoyment of it. A little before Christmas of that first year, I wrote a blog post about Google acquired companies. I went away to visit my family for the holiday weekend and came back to discover that tens of thousands of visitors came to the site from Digg over the Christmas holiday, read the article, and left close to 100 comments.

A little later, I saw my blog nominated as one of the best SEO research blogs online by the Search Engine Journal. Even Google’s Matt Cutts spoke kindly about the blog, noting:

* Best search patent blog:

SEO by the SEA. This category will be summarily given to Bill Slawski for a five-year term, barring a major shake-up.

It’s been around 5 years since Matt’s comment, and I’ve been busy writing about search-related patents and white papers since. This is my 1,000th post, and more than 15,600 comments have been published on the site. I want to thank the many people who have been involved in one way or another with the success of this site, and for inspiring me to keep on posting.

I’m not sure that any SEO by the Sea post is complete without at least one mention of a patent or whitepaper, so here are a few:

In December of 2006, I wrote Phrase Based Information Retrieval and Spam Detection, about one of Google’s Phrase-Based Indexing patents.

A continuation of the patent was published this week, which includes a few changes to the claims contained in the document. If you missed it the first time around, I strongly suggest that you spend some time with it. The new version of the patent filing is at: Detecting Spam Documents in a Phrase-Based Information Retrieval System

In March of 2009, I wrote Google Patent Granted on Web Link Spam, which discusses a Google patent describing how they might look at patterns between links to identify places where site owners might be attempting to artificially manipulate links between pages to inflate PageRank to their pages. While the patent uses the examples of link farms and Web Rings examples, it could potentially be applied to other ways to manipulate links. Even on sites where mistakes in site structure such as endless loops might cause many extra pages to be inadvertently created.

A continuation of that patent was republished in 2009, and was granted this week. The description part of the patent is substantially the same as in the earlier patent. Still, the claims section of the new patent contains much stronger language about the search engine taking remedial actions and removing pages from its index.

Finally, Google published a patent application this week on the Google Maps’ Tags that one could advertise with on local search, in System and Method of Providing Enhanced Listings.

The Tags program was discontinued this past April, but there’s some interesting discussion in the patent filing about how Google views businesses as entities that could be associated with location information, with different categories, and even with specific queries.

I’ve written more than a couple of posts about Google and their approach to associating entities with specific queries, and it’s a way of thinking about SEO that probably doesn’t get enough coverage on the Web.

Thank you, everyone, and I’m looking forward to the next thousand posts…

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57 thoughts on “Looking Back after 6 Years and 1,000 Posts”

  1. Congratulations Bill. Wish you more quality articles, search engine news and many blogroll SEOers :).

  2. Congratulations Bill and may I raise my glass in toast to one of the most informative SEO blogs that the net has to offer. Heres to another 6 (+1, +1)

  3. Congratulations on 1000 posts and 6 years of patent researching. I think it it would be great if you could also look back from time to time to see where some of your earlier patent discussions and predictions went today.

  4. Congrats Bill,
    Thanks for all the great info. I read one and it leads me to 4 more. LOL Looks like the Big G keeps your content idea folder overflowing as fast as they move. The Susqy is a beautiful river as I’ve seen it a few times in my travels. (I’m a Pittsburgher) Many happy returns.

  5. Hi Ash,

    I’ve had the good fortune to meet a lot of people from many places across the globe because of this blog, like you. It’s truly been my pleasure. Thank you.

  6. Congrats Bill, been reading your blog from the start, though I believe this might well be my first comment..!

    In my ‘must read’ list of my reader. :-)

  7. Hi Wayne,

    Thank you for your kind words. The first 6 years were quite a journey – I’m not sure where the next 6 will lead, but I’m looking forward to them.

  8. Hi Dave,

    Google continuously supplies both new material to write about, and new challenges to undertake while helping people with their websites.

    I’ve seen the Susquehanna River in a few different places along its more than 700 miles. It is beautiful, and riding around on a skipjack on the Chesapeake is something worth doing.


  9. Hi Alan,

    Exciting and interesting times back then, and exciting and interesting times now. I do make it through patents a lot faster these days, but deciding what to say about them is just as much a challenge as it ever was.

    Thanks for your help and support over the years.

  10. Hi Dan (Screaming Frog)

    Appreciate your commenting and your kind words. And thankful for the SEO spider that your firm came out with – it gives me more time to spend blogging.


  11. Wow! 1,000 posts. Congrats Bill. That’s quite an achievement. I think I’ve been following along for most of these past 6 years and SEO by the Sea has been one of my favorite destinations for all of them.

    Looking forward to the next 6 years and the next 1,000 posts.

  12. Hey Bill,

    I don’t think, I’ve ever commented here, but have been reading and following your posts for almost two years. Yeah, have been one of those silent observers…

    Congrats and Thanks for all the valuable information you spread through your posts and hope you continue to do the great job.

  13. Congratulations and hope to read your blog for a still long long time. Your posts always been a great source of a high quality SEO knowledge. Appreciate your work!

  14. It is indeed a milestone… 1000 posts… you must have had a lot to write about :)

  15. I always visit your blog and retrieve everything you post here but I never commented but today when I saw this post, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting here. Fantastic article mate with some valuable points about search engine.

  16. Hi Bill, WOW!!! The part of the internet that I am always amazed at is the huge amount of information out there at our fingertips. What used to take a trip to a library to find a relatively recent resource (I think my teacher’s defined that as less than 5 years old), has turned into instantaneous information. You have made a tremendous contribution to this online wealth of information amazingly accessible to all. Thanks!

  17. Congrats on your milestone

    I’ve been reading your post for a year and it has helped me to improve/increase my knowledge on SEO.

  18. That’s a great post and I’m so thankful you share your research with the world! I too started noticing what was wrong around the time my fist son needed finger foods but couldn’t quite eat our food yet. The ingredients in simple ravioli astonished me! I too found omnivores dilemma and now my entire family eats differently. It’s thanks to sites like yours it’s getting easier to do that. I’ve bugged you on twitter already about this, but cannot wait for the android app! :)

  19. Yeah above kudos seconded. Excellent information source and reliably researched. I’ve found hard-to-obtain information here that I’ve had difficulty tracking satisfactorily elsewhere.

  20. Wow, 1000 posts – that’s a lot of writing and a lot of time spent at the computer. Congratulations on reaching this milestone and thanks for educating me on SEO over the last year or so of which I’ve been reading.

    I’m more of a reader than a writer, but rest assured you’ll hear from me again once you get to the next milestone- 2k posts -)

  21. Congrats Bill. I think I discovered your blog from Matt Cutts blog post back in 2006.

  22. Bill,

    I would like to point out that you have amassed 1000 quality posts…which is far beyond what mot bloggers can claim.

    I come here to read and comment regularly. For the most part I am looking for articles on spam detection and there are a variety of them.

    Thanks from a loyal reader…;)


  23. Thanks for this great blog,Bill.You deserve all the applause and flowers!

    P.S. you have a small but growing group of loyal readers here in China.

  24. Thanks for all your generous contributions in making the world of Google a little more transparent. Everything you write is so focused and helpful.

  25. Bill, thank you for sharing your time, and expertise. God bless you up for all these 1000 posts!

  26. The high quality of your posts always amazes me, Bill. Don’t know how you manage to keep going, but I’m grateful that you do. Congratulations, and here’s to another sixty years of SEO by the SEA!

  27. Wow congratulations and keep up the good work Bill. The 6 years and 1000 posts are great achievement and I am sure you inspire a lot of people with your work.

  28. Hi everyone,

    Thank you very much for all your kind words.

    @Andreas – I may start doing some looking back of older blog posts. I have sometimes brought some of the older ones up when talking about newer related patents, but it’s probably worth looking back as some of the others as well.

    @Steven – thanks for all of your support over those six years, and the many roundup posts that you’ve done over that time pointing out some of the best articles published on SEO, internet marketing, and design.

    @Tabrez & Mariya – thanks for breaking your silences. Hope to see both of you do it again sometime in the near future.

    @Jim – I’m still a little startled to have been pointed out by Matt’s blog post back then.

    @Ryan – Good to hear that readership in China is on the upswing. Thanks.

  29. Congratulations, Bill – 1,000 posts is quite a landmark! Of course, each individual post is a landmark in itself. Keep up the good work!

  30. I salute you. I wish I could boast 1000 points at any endeavor. My ADD keeps getting in the way. Make it 2,000 posts!

  31. Congrats on the milestone Bill, it’s quite a big achievement. I’ve been reading your blog from time to time and enjoy the technical SEO research/patents you uncover! thanks :)

  32. I usually don`t comment on blogs, but beside reading your for a while and find it very useful, I am a blogger my self and i like dedicated people like you who puts in a lot of effort. Without the ones like you, the online community would be very poor. So CONGRATS!

  33. Very Inspirational, you have been consistently providing high quality information for an entire industry. I for one am genuinely grateful for your all the hard work you put into this site.

  34. dear bill, i must say the way you explain things is just awesome,i get highly motivated whenever i read your inspirational posts, ” The importance of Listening ” became the mentor post for me, when i was struggling with job pressure.

    thanx a lot man

  35. Hi Henry,

    Thank you for your kind words. I probably can’t begin to count the number of times that I’ve searched for information or tutorials online and had the chance to learn something useful or helpful that enabled me to do something or teach someone else about something. I’m paying it forward.

  36. Hi Dan,

    I appreciate your comments – thanks. The search marketing industry is vast, it’s fragmented along many different paths, and there’s a lot of information flowing through it. If I can help by sharing some useful information or contributing some terms or ideas that might be shared, I think that helps.

  37. Hi buzzparas,

    Thank you. That “The importance of Listening” post is one of my favorite past posts on the site – no patents or papers, but some experiences and life lessons that I’m fortunate enough to share. I’m happy and humbled to hear that it helped.

  38. Congratulations Bill! And I wish you another 6 years of success.
    Keep writing such valuable posts for us.

  39. Congratulations Bill. I may be new to your site but I can sense the extent of effort you put on for this site.

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