All About Content

Over-optimization of a Wikipedia Article

Posted by Melanie Phung on Friday, February 29, 2008 at 10:39 am

Does an over-optimization penalty exist? And what counts as over-optimization? I came across this discussion on on the “950 penalty” on Webmaster World. They posit that too many internal links with optimized anchor text is what triggers an over-optimization penalty. And maybe they are onto something.

This week I was testing the effect of increased cross-linking on a Wikipedia page — by finding related articles and linking back to the target, by adding the target to more relevant categories — and I probably doubled the number of internal pages linking to the one I wanted to boost.

Instead of boosting the page in the SERPs, it appears this effort might have torpedoed the page. This morning it was nowhere to be found in the top 100 results anywhere. It’s not a competitive term, and none of the other results appear to have changed dramatically, so it seems reasonable to me to assume it was something about this page, not the results in general, and that there was a causal relationship between the links and the drop.

I’m not entirely surprised that “excessive” interlinking could hurt; I’m just surprised that (what I’d consider to be) a moderate amount of interlinking could get a Wikipedia page penalized so quickly. I truly believed pages on that domain were more robust and could stand up to that strategy. (After all, there is a ton of internal linking and all internal links on Wikipedia use optimized anchor text.)

Well, time to undo some of those links and see if it comes back.

Update: March 2
I removed most, but not all, the internal links and the listing came back rather quickly, though in a lower position than before.

On an upbeat note … I managed to get a Wikipedia page erased from Google, temporarily? Damn, how awesome is that?

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Category: Google,Link Building

More Searching, Less Communicating

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

According to Nielsen NetRatings and the Online Publishers Association, the proportion of time users are spending on search-related activities increased noticeably at the end of 2007, at the expense of communication activities like email and IM.

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Category: Data,User Behavior

Internet/Search/User Behavior Data, Stats, Reports

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 12:17 am

So I’m finding myself putting together a lot of PowerPoint presentations lately, and that has necessitated a search for interesting data and charts. Of course, the data that are publicly available (i.e., free) are always almost exactly what I need, but never exactly what I’m looking for. If I’m looking for info on B2C search spending, for example, inevitably I find awesome data on B2B search spending. Or, if I’m looking for top search destination categories, I’ll find data on categories experiencing the most search growth year over year, but no totals.

But I figure all those hours spent looking at search engine usage factoids should at least result in a blog post.

Need data on online user behavior, search engine market share stats, e-commerce or Internet industry research? Start here:

I’ve created a search on Rollyo for web stats, so if you’re looking for a specific piece of data, try limiting your search just to these sources.

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Category: Data,Industry Buzz,User Behavior

Library Vs. Internet – Which Do People Consult More?

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, February 11, 2008 at 10:33 pm

True or False: Members of Gen Y are less likely to use libraries to find answers to problems than previous generations.

According to Pew, millenials are actually the leading users of libraries for help solving problems, as well as more general patronage.

Another insight from the December 2007 study is that more people turn to the Internet than consult experts or family members to provide information and resources for answers to common problems (with the exception of some specific topics such as health, thank Heavens).

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Category: Data,User Behavior

2007 Search Statistics

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 3:36 pm

ComScore’s Year in Review press release seems to underscore the principle that the rich keep getting richer: Google, of course, saw more gains, as did Wikipedia (which some conspiracy theorists seem to think is in cahoots with Google somehow) and Craigslist.

Facebook traffic jumped 81% year over year to 34.7 million visitors, now that registration is open to non-students (including quite a few pets, if Stewie’s ever growing circle of Facebook friends is any indication).

The release goes on to say that “the top-gaining site categories in 2007 reflected trends in both the online and offline worlds. The politics category grabbed the top position, gaining 35%, as the 2008 presidential election and primary season kicked into high gear.” Not to be outdone by current events of any gravity, sites devoted to celebrity entertainment news, “from Britney Spears’ meltdowns to Anna Nicole Smiths death,” kept up with an equally impressive 32% increase in visitors.

In total — including all searches for Britney, Anna Nicole and even “poop porn” — more than 113 billion core searches were conducted in the U.S. last year, with Google representing a 56% share of the market.

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Category: Data,Google,Social Media,User Behavior