Yes, Google will still show pages even if you have set them up to be blocked in your robots.txt file.  Why exactly, you’re wondering, I’m sure.

Google is actually not crawling any of the URLs you have listed as blocked in your robots.txt file.  What they are doing is displaying the page, just not showing your description meta tag or any information from inside that page.  Matt Cutts gets into more detail about that here:

So to prevent Google from displaying your pages at all, you need to remove the page inside your Webmaster Tools or else use a robots meta tag with a noindex value in it for each page.  Then your page will not show up in Google’s results at all.

You can get more details on this information from Quick Online Tips.

The tragic news of Brittany Murphy’s unexpected passing affected many.  However, there are some to whom this news affected in a different way – they saw a way to make a buck.

Personally, I think it’s rather sick, but there are some individuals who have taken this opportunity to take a hot news item and push spam and malware.  Quick dirty black-hat SEO methods can often get high results quickly, but then are found by Google and taken offline.  The issue is that even the short amount of time listings like these stay online can be enough to infect several machines.

Newer black-hat SEO attacks use news events to get attention to sites that pose as news sites, but act only to infect machines with malware schemes.  Be cautious when visiting unknown news sites that are “reporting” on hot news items.

The Tech Herald has more information on this particular attack, and F-Secure has more information on the specific malware details.

Just a quick post – try going to Google and hitting the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button without entering a query.  You’ll see a big number pop up.  Google’s waiting for the new year!  I do wonder what will happen when that number reaches zero and you’re on the page.

Just a cool little easter egg.

This is a question I’ve had for a while.  I’ve gotten the impression that reciprocal linking doesn’t work at all anymore.  However, there are some cases where it seems like the best way to get a link to a high PR site is by putting a link in place.

Just as an experiment, I’m going to go ahead and test a few places.  The reciprocal links are here.  We’ll see how well it works.

— Start of random code snippets —

The site is listed among seo resources in the directory of seo links.

We’re featured Jenks SEO company in Oklahoma SEO firms directory at Finders – US SEO services directory

Nothing really SEO related on this one.  I stayed up to figure it out (and because my hosting apparently needed to reset the server, yay).  It appears someone from Qatar of all places thought they needed to provoke my YARPP plugin with a bug.  It kind of hosed my blog for a day.  Sadly, I did not notice until tonight.

But now it is fixed.  And with the magic of my web skills, any visits from that particular IP range will now be rejected.  Hopefully not a lot of people in Qatar will really need my services urgently.

It did annoy me because I lost some sleep to fix it.  But I am pleased because I am victorious over the silly attacker.  I might need to contact the plugin designer to have him do an update to fix that bug.  At any rate – blog, live ON!

Earlier this morning Google sent out a link to some recipients through email, to tell them what they’re doing for the holiday.  I think it’s quite cool to see such a massive company giving something back, and giving in the neighborhood of very large quantites.  Of course, to be non-offensive, they’ve kept their announcement totally secular.  But that’s probably the safest way to do things.

SEO is dead!  Come the cries from doubters, and they do vocalize it occasionally.  The latest is from a man named Robert Scoble.  He doesn’t exactly say SEO is dead, but he questions its validity.

Well, SEO (and internet marketing, in general) is not a static element.  There are always changes that fit into it.  For people who think SEO is just making some on-page tweaks, then that alone will not do a lot.  And as more people and businesses get online, that limited amount of result that pure on-page/on-site adjustments will get will only go down.

SEO has been questioned on how effective it truly is for years now, and many have said it wouldn’t last.  As long as 12 years ago.  Well, it’s lasted, and personally I think it will last – maybe not in exactly the same fashion, but it’s not going to go away.

Danny Sullivan had a lot of interesting points to say (as well as responding directly to Robert – check his post) in Search Engine Land.  Of all people, I think Danny is someone who is worth listening to when it comes to predicting the progress of SEO.  Check out his full post to see more.

Doing SEO for an e-commerce site is tricky.  Almost all the pages are virtually identical, so it’s hard to determine how to do standard SEO for these pages.  Here are five quick tips to help you do some solid SEO for your e-commerce site (a shortened version of the excellent explanation on Search Engine Land):

  1. Do solid SEO on product pages. Focusing on these will help draw traffic to each specific product.  Standard SEO rules apply here – especially remember the title tag, as that will make a big difference.  And keep it search engine friendly – using a lot of Flash or something else the spiders don’t like is not recommended.
  2. Proper categorization. Every product fits into specific categories.  Making sure you use this as best you can will help.  If selling a television, keep all categories in mind, such as a brand name, the size of the television, the type of tv, so forth.  The more detailed your categories, the easier to find (good SEO).
  3. Avoid duplication. Having duplicate pages is a big SEO no-no.  If you have your URLs structured based on categories, then you can often have each category branching through other categories to a single product, resulting in different URLs but the same content (duplicate pages).  To avoid this, you can use parameters (the same URL, different arguments) or even just 301 the duplicate pages all to one single product page.
  4. Use the on-site search engine. To start, having a good on-site search engine is highly recommended for all internet marketing purposes.  If you have one – checking the queries people put into it are easy ways to see what people are searching for that couldn’t find it naturally.  This is a big “SEO THIS” sign.
  5. Social media! Yes, get on board.  By letting people comment on your products or share them with others through social media, you can often get more inbound links than you might expect.  Just make it easy for users and visitors to be able to share, whether it be through on-site widgets or a site blog, or even profiles on social media sites.

These tips will help your products on your e-commerce site be found, both through social media and through the search engines.  These tips are a revised version of the excellent explanation by Aaron Bradley on Search Engine Land.

Google’s been doing live suggestions for a while now.  But did you know you can actually use wild cards on the search line?  No asterisk required, but you can simply add one character to a word to find any similar words that are searched for.  So looking for “tree”, you could add an ‘a’ to make it “atree”, and Google will potentially show you “apple tree” as a suggestion.

It’s quite powerful and easy to do.  To see some screen shots of how this works, check out this post on Search Engine Land.

This is kind of older news (as in more than four days old), but you may have seen Facebook’s new privacy settings on your account.  It’s caused a bit of a hubbub for some people – there’s concern about private information being available to the major search engines.  Is there truth to this?

Well – yes.  And the settings they asked you about were just a touch on the full privacy settings.  If you care about what’s freely available to the world, you’ll want to step in to the main privacy screen.  Here there are additional settings that Facebook didn’t display on that first update on the settings.

And there’s even more to it.  Danny Sullivan has gone through it all in explicit detail on his blog, in this listing.  I’d highly recommend going in and checking it out, to make sure you’re happy with what Facebook is showing the world.