With the recent change in Google's ranking (and, in apologies to Mark Pilgrim, I now think Google has some real errors in the new ranking when I didn't think so before, but it's still not as bad as some are making it out to be), I thought it might be interesting to look at how Google compares for a specitic search with other engines.  And I picked a query that has relevance to me -- Scott Johnson.  No quotes, no phrases, just those two words (except for AllTheWeb which gets a special mention for automatically adding quotes).  All I'm measuring is not which page comes up first but where a page that is related to me comes up.  Sometimes it's a page from my website, sometimes it's a blog page and sometimes it's my O'Reilly book catalog entry. 

  • Google -- # 1
  • All the Web -- No Quotes -- #9
  • All the Web -- With Auto Inserted Quotes -- #3
  • HotBot -- #15
  • Lycos -- #6
  • Teoma -- #1
  • LookSmart (inktomi powered results) -- #31
  • Wisenut -- #1
  • Alta Vista -- #1
  • </ul>

    What's really interesting here is that almost all of this is almost certainly related to my blog.  I didn't have anywhere near these kind of results before I was a blogger.  It's also extremely interesting to me the similarities between Google, Teoma, Wisenut and Alta Vista.  That's just plain shocking to me.  True the comparison isn't entirely valid since they result in different pages at times but these searches all give results related to me.

    Lessons From All This

    There are two easy lessons from all this:

    1. Right now the single best search engine optimization technique?  A simple weblog.  And I know that Google seems to treat radio.weblogs.com as a highly valid source of input so I recommend Radio.  But I think it really matters that you blog regularly and somewhat consistently. 
    2. Don't spend exorbitant fees on search engine optimization.  As ranking algorithms have gotten much more complex without explicit, inside knowledge of how the engines work it is very unclear to me that it works at all anymore.  I suspect that you'll get dramatically better results by becoming a blogger.
    3. </ol>