Microsoft, world’s greatest SEO

If you’ve been watching http://blogs.msdn.com/ which is where most of the Microsoft employees blog, you’ve seen at least a dozen mentions today of Microsoft’s new Sparkle, Expression, um, sorry, now named “Blend.” I only let one of these through to my Link Blog, but I was just realizing how brilliant this is.

Google counts links from blogs in its search engine. So, if Microsoft wants to get something higher on Google, all it would have to do is call upon its bloggers. It’s probably the best SEO network the world has ever seen (Microsoft has more than 3,000 bloggers, with at least 500 active ones).

Internally, how does this work? The bloggers at Microsoft have a mailing list. Someone goes on the mailing list and says something innocuous, like “hey, the Expression team just announced Blend” with a URL underneath and there’ll usually be a few dozen posts in an hour.

Don’t think this matters? Well, if you search Google for Martin Luther King, you’ll notice the result set has changed quite a bit from two weeks ago (when a bunch of bloggers decided to “Google Bomb” an anti-King site to make it lower on the list because we felt it wasn’t really the most relevant result that should come up when you search for Martin Luther King).

Anyway, this kind of “blog farm” can dramatically change results on Google and other search engines in a way that SEO’s just simply can’t match.

Oh, and even better, they set the agenda that everyone has to link back to. Yes, even the bloggers will go higher. A search for “Expression Blend” on Google’s blog search shows dozens of bloggers talking about the new name and release.

As to Blend and its chances in the marketplace? More later.

Comments

  1. but dont yu think this is something google has to start taking note? Otherwise some day the search result might be just “corporate driven”

  2. but dont yu think this is something google has to start taking note? Otherwise some day the search result might be just “corporate driven”

  3. It seems like it will take us awhile to work out the ethics of purposefully gaming social systems like this.

    I suspect we’ll eventually see credibility as an ebb and flow, where the reputation of the aggregator can change over time, as they defend against different gaming attacks, and where you need to keep a range of aggregators to be able to guess a good picture of the world.

    Me, if something arises as a result of natural news and interest, then I’ll go for it… I’ll beg off if I get an email and see that others already have the news, though.

    (For what it’s worth, I think you’re right about the potential gaming power of blogs.msdn.com… Adobe XML News Aggregator aggregates close to 1000 weblogs, with a higher activity level among writers and a much faster river-of-news than blogs.msdn.com, but not all AXNA bloggers have the PageRank 10 of msdn.com. Domain name matters in many SEO algorithms. Such conscious manipulation doesn’t tend to work out in the long run, though, I’ve found.)

    jd/adobe

  4. It seems like it will take us awhile to work out the ethics of purposefully gaming social systems like this.

    I suspect we’ll eventually see credibility as an ebb and flow, where the reputation of the aggregator can change over time, as they defend against different gaming attacks, and where you need to keep a range of aggregators to be able to guess a good picture of the world.

    Me, if something arises as a result of natural news and interest, then I’ll go for it… I’ll beg off if I get an email and see that others already have the news, though.

    (For what it’s worth, I think you’re right about the potential gaming power of blogs.msdn.com… Adobe XML News Aggregator aggregates close to 1000 weblogs, with a higher activity level among writers and a much faster river-of-news than blogs.msdn.com, but not all AXNA bloggers have the PageRank 10 of msdn.com. Domain name matters in many SEO algorithms. Such conscious manipulation doesn’t tend to work out in the long run, though, I’ve found.)

    jd/adobe

  5. MS is a big company, with a high percentage of bloggers, all talking about what they are interested in, namely MS. Certainly you’re not suggesting that this is a management driven attempt to game the system? Having worked at MS, you should know how that would come off. Rather, the power comes from having hundreds, rather than thousands or millions of bloggers talking about tech at any given time. Any fresh wind blowing causes a noticable shift.

  6. MS is a big company, with a high percentage of bloggers, all talking about what they are interested in, namely MS. Certainly you’re not suggesting that this is a management driven attempt to game the system? Having worked at MS, you should know how that would come off. Rather, the power comes from having hundreds, rather than thousands or millions of bloggers talking about tech at any given time. Any fresh wind blowing causes a noticable shift.

  7. John: I’m not saying this is a purposeful gaming of the system. Here’s why.

    Did you realize that 10 links, all from the same domain, is far less “gaming” to Google than 10 links, all from separate domains, like what you’re saying Adobe’s bloggers are doing?

    So, be careful about how you throw around the “purposeful gaming.”

    Microsoft’s advantage is they hire people who are more likely to be bloggers than most companies and they freed them with a very good policy.

  8. John: I’m not saying this is a purposeful gaming of the system. Here’s why.

    Did you realize that 10 links, all from the same domain, is far less “gaming” to Google than 10 links, all from separate domains, like what you’re saying Adobe’s bloggers are doing?

    So, be careful about how you throw around the “purposeful gaming.”

    Microsoft’s advantage is they hire people who are more likely to be bloggers than most companies and they freed them with a very good policy.

  9. I think ‘World’s Greatest SEO’ might be just a little over the top. There’s more to SEO than just having an army of bloggers at your disposal (although that does help).

    Take a look at the Zune problem. Microsoft still doesn’t control Zune.com and Zune.net is still ranking No. 2 for ‘Zune’ (on Google). The World’s Greatest SEO probably would have solved both of those problems by now.

    Also, if most of the Microsoft’s bloggers are blogging on the same domain the link weight is likely to be normalized by Google in some way. Google likes to see links coming from unique domains – preferably on unique IP addresses, or even better unique Class C addresses.

  10. I think ‘World’s Greatest SEO’ might be just a little over the top. There’s more to SEO than just having an army of bloggers at your disposal (although that does help).

    Take a look at the Zune problem. Microsoft still doesn’t control Zune.com and Zune.net is still ranking No. 2 for ‘Zune’ (on Google). The World’s Greatest SEO probably would have solved both of those problems by now.

    Also, if most of the Microsoft’s bloggers are blogging on the same domain the link weight is likely to be normalized by Google in some way. Google likes to see links coming from unique domains – preferably on unique IP addresses, or even better unique Class C addresses.

  11. I am not sure, but I think the days when google was counting links from blogs and forums are gone.

    I haven’t seen any blog and forum links to my site counted from Google (not a single one!).

    Am I an exception?

    Zune-Online.com Share your Zune Experience!

  12. I am not sure, but I think the days when google was counting links from blogs and forums are gone.

    I haven’t seen any blog and forum links to my site counted from Google (not a single one!).

    Am I an exception?

    Zune-Online.com Share your Zune Experience!

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