The Interviews

I’ve talked with world leading experts covering every aspect of search engine marketing. I’ve got the full story, from the search engine point of view, to that of the search engine optimisers. By reading this guide, you can be assured that you’re getting real world information from world leading players.

interviews with search engine reps

The full transcripts of my interviews are included as follows:

Andrei Broder.

Andrei is VP Technology and Chief Scientist with Alta Vista. He is largely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in information retrieval and search technology. He is the author of many research papers for which he has won awards. In this interview, Andrei explains the characteristics of search as viewed by a search engine, discusses the Term Vector Database, The Connectivity Server and gives a hint to the new digital camera he’d like me to buy him as a present!

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Brent Winters.

Brent is President of First Place Software, the developers of Web Position Gold. His background is as a programmer. He developed the first version of Web Position Gold in 1997 which has now become, very much, the professionals choice. This interview touches on the problem of using automated submission tools and rank checking tools at search engines. In particular, Brent explains the current situation with Google and how to avoid getting into trouble by not being ‘over enthusiastic’ with rank checks. Brent also talks about the newest version of Web Position Gold and explains some of the new features.

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Brian Pinkerton.

Brian has earned his place in Internet history. In this interview, he explains how he developed the web’s first full text retrieval search engine and went on to become VP at Excite. Most importantly, he clears up the confusion that many SEO’s have had about the Term Vector Database and explains how he used the ‘vector space model’ at the very beginning with WebCrawler

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Chris Kermoian.

Chris is Director for search services and web marketing services at Alta Vista. This interview focuses mainly on Alta Vista’s partnership with Infospider for their ‘pay for inclusion’ services. Chris also explains why Alta Vista put the, now infamous, ransom note at the gateway to the free submit URL page and honestly admits: they could index Flash if they wanted to, they just choose not to!

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Craig Silverstein.

Craig is Director of Technology at Google. He’s been with Google since before it went commercial and was still a university project at Stanford. Google is, perhaps, the most important search engine online from a search engine optimisation point of view. In this interview, Craig explains the meteoric rise of Google on the web and what Google does and doesn’t like when it comes to search engine optimisation. Cloaking at Google? No way. Rank checks every day? No way. And very kindly, Craig also explains how to create a Google friendly web page.

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Danny Sullivan.

Former California based journalist to UK based living legend. Say search engines: say Danny Sullivan! Largely regarded as the world’s leading expert in the field, Danny is the guy the world press turns to when they want the latest on search engines. A much respected figure by the search engines themselves, you’ll find Danny giving advice and information everywhere from The Times to the i-search list. In this interview, I talk to Danny about how ‘A webmasters guide to search engines’ became Search Engine Watch and one of the most visited sites on the web. I haven’t mentioned it anywhere else in the guide (so here’s as good as any) but, when it comes to citation counting, Danny is in a league of his own. I waded through hundreds of research papers for this edition of the guide, and never have I seen one name mentioned so many times in reference. A major contribution from a very approachable guy.

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David Notestine.

David’s history as a computer programmer goes way back to the early seventies. He is the developer of a very advanced web robot called Zeus which can be ‘trained’ to find reciprocal linking partners on the web. His own views on search engine marketing differ a great deal to many SEO’s. His mantra is: “You want traffic? You need links.” Sometimes controversial, but very web savvy, David explains how Zeus is gaining popularity with the search engine optimisation community.

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Detlev Johnson.

Detlev is another world leader in the field of search engine optimisation. Former VP Technology with Position Technologies, he is also moderator of the very popular i-search discussion list. In this interview, Detlev explains how Position Technologies partnered up with Inktomi to provide the web’s first ‘pay for inclusion’ service and the background to the i-search discussion list. Detlev is engaged to be married to Heather Lloyd Martin, another leading figure in the field of search engine optimisation. I guess that makes them the ‘SEO Dynamic Duo!’

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Frazer Lee.

Frazer is lead surfer for Yahoo UK and Ireland. Formerly a freelance film maker and writer, he now heads-up the team at Yahoo! UK. In this interview, Frazer explains the difference between the regional sites and the main Yahoo! .com US domain. He also explains exactly what the criteria is for the search algorithm at Yahoo!.

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John Heard.

Although John has his own long established practice with Beyond Engineering, he is perhaps best know to the SEO community for his work with Planet Ocean. In this interview, John explains the art of ‘cloaking’ for which he is well known and also the background to his involvement with Planet Ocean and their best selling book and newsletter.

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Martijn Koster.

Martijn worked closely with Brian Pinkerton on the development side and moved to Excite with him when they acquired WebCrawler. He was the developer of AliWeb, an Archie type search service and is also known as ‘the keeper of the robots.txt file.’ In this interview, he explains how the robots.txt file started and how it has now become a web protocol.

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Marylynne Wrye.

Marylynne is Surfing Manager with Yahoo! At the time of the interview she was on secondment from her usual Santa Clara base and enjoying the permanent heat and sunshine in London 🙂 In this interview, she explains how quality control works at Yahoo! And why some sites get rejected and some don’t. She also explains the benefits of the Business Express service.

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Ralph Tegtmeier.

Also known as Fantomaster, Ralph provides what he calls ‘industrial strength cloaking services.’ Not one to worry about ‘speaking as he thinks’ Ralph casually refers to search engines as ‘the number one cloakers in the world’, ‘parasites’ and ‘greedy b******s’. Other than that, he gives a detailed analysis of how cloaking works, describes the benefits and says where it’s safe to cloak – and where it’s not.

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Roberto Grassi.

Roberto is the developer of two very important SEO tools: Keyword Density Analyser and Search Engine Optimiser (SEO in conjunction with Robin Nobles at The Academy of Web Specialists). Roberto only speaks a little English (he’s Italian) but in this short interview, he explains how ‘necessity really is the mother of invention’ which is why he developed Keyword Density Analyser and how he partnered up with Planet Ocean for the development.

A very special thanks to Simply Removals.