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Funnel Pages and Lead Pages

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What if Google Wasn’t a Search Engine?

Have you ever seen “Back to the Future,” or any time travel movie in which the main characters go back in time, change one small thing, and they completely mess up present day? This type of storytelling is called the “Butterfly Effect” and is defined as the phenomenon in which one small minute change has large scale effects elsewhere down the line. In time travel movies this device is used all the time to thrust our heroes into an adventure to save the future they once knew. But we’re going to use this device to imagine a world in which Google exists … but isn’t a search engine!  That’s right. what would the world be like if Google never got off the ground as a search engine and what direction would they have taken instead?

Search Engine Leader?

In order to figure out what the world would be like without Google, we need to take a trip down memory lane. First off, the leader in online search back in the late 1990s was Yahoo!  Without Google to knock them off its throne, Yahoo! more than likely would still be the leader in search today. Back in the ’90s, Yahoo! really had no competition. The only people who could really be considered as a contender against Yahoo would have been AOLs search or MSN’s search engine. Both search engines weren’t really that popular and thanks to the Internet moving away from dial-up, AOL was left to wither and die.

The only search engine that started attracting eyes away from Yahoo! besides Google was Though its changed the name to, it never quite made the jump to superstar because Google took over. But If Yahoo! didn’t lose out to Google, it’s only competition would probably be, which, if it played its cards right, could have beaten out Yahoo! and be the top search engine today. So in short, if there was no Google, Yahoo! would probably still be King unless AskJeves somehow did something magical to reign supreme.

1997 Yahoo homepage

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Hardware Bound!

So if Google did form as a company, what would they be doing? Let’s look at what other things Google loves to work on, mostly communication. More than likely Google would never have developed the Android operating system, and droid phones and tablets would never have existed. This of course is a great thing (I’m an Apple fanboy, what of it ;p) because we would all be using iPhones! But on a more serious note, if Google couldn’t help organize information on the Internet, it probably would have gotten into the tech hardware industry.

Google would probably still be at work creating a smartphone alternative to iPhone, but the question is would it have developed the android operating system? When the iPhone came out, it caught the smartphone market off guard. Up to that point BlackBerry was the closest thing to iPhone and even it looked decades old compared to what the iPhone introduced to the world.

At this point in the game Blackberry might have tried to redefine its products to create an operating system similar to Apple’s IOS. Maybe the Windows phone would actually be bigger today if it recognized that Apple had no real competition, maybe former Microsoft CEO Steve Balmar would have snapped the whip and gotten the game moving forward?

I mention all of this because if Google still existed outside of its search engine, it probably wouldn’t have had the resources to thrown out the Android operating system as quickly as it did. I have a feeling someone would have beaten them to the punch and that mobile operating system would have become the big No. Two in the world of smartphones. If that is the case, Google probably would have started creating hardware that operates on that No. 2 mobile operating system, and I think could replace Samsung as the big iPhone competitor phone. Sure, Google has the Nexus line out now, and doesn’t compare to Samsung, but I think all the resources Google used to create the Android operating system would instead be used to create even better hardware.

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Google becomes Samsung?

Many folks might be saying, “but Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin weren’t interested in Hardware, they were more interested in software applications; especially in the dawn of the Internet.” You’re right, and that’s why they created a search engine. But if Google didn’t become the Google we know than there would have had to be a change at the very foundation. Or in other words, Larry Page and Sergey Brin wouldn’t be interested in software application and the logical alternative to software is hardware. So Larry Page and Sergey Brin would have been dead focused on building their computers, building new digital technologies and would have been more like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Where do you think Google would be today if it didn’t go down the path of becoming a search engine? Would it still be interested in information and have developed some new awesome dictionary? Let me know in the comments below!

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Denver Local News SEO Website Championship

Sometimes it’s interesting what nuggets of information you come across when you audit large branded like websites. For example, you’ll notice that Matt Cutts, the Head of Google Webspam, recently changed his website over from http to https and used 302 redirects … not 301 redirects. Interesting for sure. Usually, you’re left with more questions than answers, but still learn something interesting. That was the philosophy I took when I approached the back end of Denver’s top local TV news websites, and the results are quite interesting.

In the four corners of our proverbial ring we have:

CBS Denver 4

NBC 9 News

ABC 7 News

Fox 31 Denver

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Now for the purposes of this audit, we’re just going to measure the home pages of each news agency’s website. Now you might be asking: why not just compare the root domains against one another?  The answer is CBS’ website’s root domain goes back to the main CBS website and Denver’s local website is a subdomain. So in short, it wouldn’t be fair to measure three local websites against the national CBS domain. But don’t worry there is still a bunch of interesting insights from just measuring the home pages.

Round 1: Page Authority

This metric predicts the page’s ranking potential in the search engine based on an algorithmic combination of all link metrics. What is the overall picture when you add all the goodies together?

1)      NBC 9 News has a score of 86 out of 100

2)      CBS Denver 4 has a score of 82 out of 100

3)      ABC 7 News has a score of 80 out of 100

4)      Fox 31 Denver has a score of 76 out of 100

Every local news website has respectable scores.  Even ABC 7 News with its score of 63 is nothing to scoff at. I would kill to have my personal website have anything near 50, let alone 63, so don’t feel bad ABC 7. Having said that, congrats NBC 9 News you win this round. But to understand why you have to look at the other categories.

Winner: NBC 9 News

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Round 2: Total Internal Links:

This metric is rather self-explanatory, but just in case you don’t know this metric is the total links within the website that links to another part of the website. For large news websites this is actually an important metric because if you’re website is continually engaging visitors to read the next article then the website is making money from all those ad impressions.  So which website is the most self-obsessed you might say?

1)      Fox 31 Denver has 30,885 internal links

2)      ABC 7 News has 25,035 internal links

3)      CBS Denver 4 has 11,944 internal links

4)      NBC 9 News has 8,779 internal links

Winner: Fox 31 Denver

Fox 31 Denver has to be pleased with its visitor interaction numbers. Its website strategy is probably focused on getting the most out of each individual user that visits its website.  That’s not a bad strategy because it helps gets more eyes on ads and more money in the bank. It probably sees a lot of people going from one article to another article, and its bringing in the money from all those ad impressions.

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Round 3: Total External Linking Root Domains

Now this metric is one of the most important from a SEO perspective because Google likes links, and the more links you have from different trusted domains the more likely you are to rank higher. So going into this metric we find some very interesting things, because you would think a large website like the front page of your local news would have everyone and their mother’s website linking to it.  Well that’s is not the case at all.

1)      NBC 9 News has 1,330 linking root domains

2)      ABC 7 News has 847 linking root domains

3)      CBS Denver has 578 linking root domains

4)      Fox 31 Denver has 314 internal linking root domains

Winner: NBC 9 News

The fact that a major local news outlet only has 314 linking root domains is kind of embarrassing, especially when you compare it to NBC 9 News. In fact, our winner for this round has over 4 times the amount of linking root domains as our last place finisher, so you have to be asking why is that?  In some ways Google looks at linking root domains as a factor of authenticity and quality. In other words, from the eyes of Google NBC 9 News must produce higher quality content than the other local news outlets.

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Champion: NBC 9 News

Congrats NBC 9 News. You are by far and away the most trusted local Denver news source according to Google. You should be proud of your websites ability to reach out and make links, build trust and spread news online. Just up those internal links a bit more and you’ll find your readers bouncing from article to article instead of bouncing your site. Good Job.



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Penguin, Panda and ___________: Predicting Names for Google Algorithm Changes

the-internship-moviePhoto Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Google might be a monolithic corporation marching toward global domination, but at least they’re having a fun time doing it.

They have some well-publicized quirks, from the propeller caps given to new employees to the little Easter eggs they’ve hidden around their homepage. For those of us in SEO, we’re treated to occasional updates to the Google search algorithm, always rolled out under esoteric names.

From Buffy to Bourbon, Caffeine to Penguin, what do the names mean?

As you might expect, the naming convention is a little quirky. Some updates are named to honor employees, some are given based on the project (ex: Caffeine gave a “jolt” to search engine speed) and some, well… we don’t know.

That brings us to some of the latest algorithm updates that have gone live. There’s Pigeon, Panda, Hummingbird and Penguin.

We’re always trying to figure out what’s coming next, so here are our predictions for upcoming algorithm updates.

Porcupine — Penalizes malware-infected sites, as well as legitimate businesses who don’t have malware.

Pdairy Pcow — Google engineers will roll out this update on a week in which they have trouble thinking of an animal that is both black and white and starts with a P. This update will integrate Yahoo! Answers and WikiAnswers results into the SERP, so users can save themselves a click when trying to figure out if stepping on a rusty nail can get you pregnant.


Albatross — Google gives up on thinking of “P” animals and just decides to go with one that’s black and white this time. Albatross will introduce a totally new feature that all SEOs will have to set up and spend hundreds of hours maintaining to keep domain authority high, all before it is eventually abandoned in mid-2015.


Papa Bear — Image search update removes pictures of individuals after they have children, preventing users’ kids from finding archived party photos they had put online in 2006.

Piñata — New button added next to “I’m Feeling Lucky” on the search start page. When clicked, a Flash animation shows the page exploding open with search results from random queries, with the goal being to click as many as possible as fast as you can (surefire ad revenue builder!)

Cave Spider — Named after a happy blind crawler, the Cave Spider update will remove auto-suggestions from the search bar that are depressing.


Pony — Improves user experience by streaming Ginuwine in the background during searches.