The duplicate content penalty (and other fairytales)

The day has escaped my grasp once again and it’s already tomorrow, so just a quick one tonight.

Lots of questions submitters ask me about duplicate content on their sites and how that impacts their visibility in Google. Many are convinced a ranking penalty will be slapped on them by the Google Gods, but this is a myth. I’ve written a post about this over at my blog on SiteProNews so if you’re at all confused about dupe content, check it out.

Search Engine College Turns 4 Today

Happy Birthday SECI can’t quite believe it, but on this day four years ago, Search Engine College was launched.

The staff meeting that first spawned the idea for SEC seems like a lifetime ago now, but I’m consistently amazed at the growth we’ve undergone month after month, year after year.

Last month saw the highest level of student enrollments to date and it looks like this month is set to beat that record. As of last month, we have enrolled over 500 students from 33 different countries! That’s quite an achievement for a small business and I’m very proud today.

On behalf of our staff and tutors, I want to take this opportunity to thank every single one of our students, not only for choosing us as their training provider, but for providing excellent feedback and support as we have developed the business model and grown as educators. It’s inspiring to hear regularly from so many graduates who have used their training to advance their careers in search. I’d also like to thank the search marketing community for embracing us so readily and promoting our training programs via social media networks, blogs, forums and word of mouth. It means a great deal to us.

Finally (at the risk of this sounding like an Academy Award acceptance speech), a huge appreciative thanks must go to our remarkable and dedicated tutors, particularly Kim, Karon and Bob who have been especially patient during our growing pains – thank you, you’re wonderful.

Happy Birthday Search Engine College!

Q and A: Do search engines index Server Side Includes?

QuestionHi Kalena…

I have a question regarding Server Side Includes. Do search engines index them? The navigation menus in my company’s website are SSI files, meaning that their content is not visible in the main index.htm file. Do you reckon search engines ignore the content of the navigation menus in my case?


Hi Marco

For my readers that aren’t familiar with Server Side Includes, they are a way to tell the server to insert something into a web page before it is sent to the viewer. What is inserted may be the content of a plain text file or it may be the output generated by another program running on the server such as the processing of a form return using a PERL script.

I don’t use SSI much but I was pretty sure the code generated by the SSI would be indexed. To be sure, I asked my SEO homies on Twitter to confirm this and they said:

“They are normally fine, spiders just see the html thats outputted” (thanks Patrick)

“So long as they are generating HTML I can’t see why they would not be indexed” (thanks Dave)

So just to confirm – YES – search engines will index the HTML generated by your Server Side Includes.

Enter Marketing Pilgrim’s $10K SEM Scholarship Competition

Marketing Pilgrim SEM ScholarshipWe are thrilled to be sponsoring Marketing Pilgrim’s Search Engine Marketing Scholarship once again this year. The competition involves submitting an article on any subject related to search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC) or social media optimization (SMO) before May 23.

The 2008 scholarship is MP’s third in the series and offers the biggest prize pool to date – a USD 10,000 prize package that includes training, subscriptions, consulting, books, an Amazon gift certificate and broad online exposure for the winning article.

As long time sponsors, Search Engine College will be donating enrollment in our Certified Search Engine Marketer Pathway for the lucky winner. I’ve also been asked to judge again this year, so I’m really looking forward to reading all the entries.

On June 30, the five entries that have achieved the highest overall traffic will be selected. To ensure quality traffic influences the outcome, if an entry achieves an average “Bounce Rate” below 75% it will be awarded a bonus equal to 10% of its total “unique views”. If an entry achieves an average “Time on Page” greater than 2:00 minutes, it will be awarded a bonus equal to 10% of its total “unique views”. On July 7, Marketing Pilgrim will announce the grand prize winner, which will be the entry that receives the most votes from the panel of judges.

Good luck everyone and make sure you get your entries in early.

Search Industry Job of the Week: Account Executive Paid Search

Job Title: Account Executive Paid Search (PPC)
Job Reference #: Unknown
Position Type: full time, permanent
Name of employer: Steak Media
Location: Soho, New York City
Date Posted: 1 May 2008
Position description:

Steak Media are looking for a reliable, ambitious and organized individual with a genuine interest in learning about search engine marketing. The right person will need to display initiative, enthusiasm and integrity while maintaining a high degree of professionalism and maturity. This is a fast moving, fast paced sector with plenty of opportunity for career development.

The bottom line: you’d be responsible for the execution and optimization of paid search (PPC) marketing campaigns for their clients.

They’re looking for a person that is willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes. You will receive hands-on training, but you will need to ask questions to accelerate your growth. You’d be a part of a growing company that is in the ever changing industry of search engine marketing. You’ll be able to learn from the best and develop excellent business skills.
Their logo is a purple bull and you will play a key part in making sure they have ‘Happy Bulls’. Namely, making sure clients are happy.

What exactly will you be doing?

Execution & optimization of paid search accounts can have a lot of moving parts, but here is a general list of everyday tasks that you will be involved in:

  1. Launching new campaigns, ad groups, and keywords.
  2. Generating reports and analysis of past performance.
  3. Reviewing performance of ad copy/creative.
  4. Bid optimization through 3rd party technology platform (e.g.: DART Search).
  5. Generating keyword lists that are relevant to the client’s business objectives.
  6. Quality assurance of tracking, budgets, creative and landing pages.
  7. Updating and monitoring budgets.
  8. Working with 3rd party technology suppliers such as DART.
  9. Search for all aspect of paid search campaign management, including implementation, bid optimization, and reporting.
  10. Generating performance reports and analyzing data to communicate key findings and strategic next steps.
  11. Monitoring budgets and performance to identify new opportunities for improvement.
  12. Speaking with clients to update on status of projects and brainstorm new ideas.
  13. Supporting communication with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other search engines to improve campaign performance and implementation.

Other important bits:

You don’t need to have any previous experience in search marketing. As long as you bring passion and enthusiasm to your training and they’ll turn you into a pro. They’re looking for a recent college graduate or someone with 1-2 years of work experience that wants something new.


You’re not afraid to ask questions, you think of yourself as an excellent writer, you are comfortable speaking within a group, you have a working knowledge of Excel and even know how to use formulas and you pay close attention to detail. They are more interested in the quality of work and not quantity, you enjoy working within a team to achieve a common goal, you can exert yourself professionally over the phone and outside of the office, as you will be representing the company externally and you like working in a busy environment where you’re learning new things every day. You have a college degree. All majors welcome, though you may have an edge if you have a background in Business, Finance/Economics, or English.

Even though they are called Steak, they also welcome vegetarians to apply for the role.

Salary range: Very Competitive
Closing date: Unknown
More info from: []
Contact: Send resumes to[at]

For more search industry job vacancies visit Search Engine College Jobs Board.