TopSEOs: Relevance, Precision or Visibility?

May 22, 2014

I have a couple of alerts running for the phrase “enterprise search.” The information gathered is not particularly useful. Potentially interesting items like the rather amazing “Future of Search” are not snagged by either Google or Yahoo (Bing). I have noticed a surprising number of alerts about a company doing business as The url is often presented as and there may be other variants.

Here’s a typical hit in a Google alert. This one appeared on May 22, 2014:


The link leads to a “story” in a “global media network.” The site is notable because it combines a wide range o f topics, tweets, links, categories, and ads. If you want to more about the service, you can read the about page and get precious little information about this Canadian company. This site appears to be a typical news aggregation service. The “story” is a news release distributed by Google-friendly PRWeb, located in San Francisco.

What is the TopSEOs’ story that appeared as an alert this morning?

The story is a news release about an independent team that evaluates search engine optimization companies. Here’s how the story in my alert looked to me on May 22, 2014:

topselos story

Several things jumped out at me about the story. First, it lacks substance. The key point is that “analyzes market and industry trends in order to remain information of the most important developments which affect the performance of competing companies.” I am not sure exactly what this means, but it sounds sort of important. The link to redirects to

topseo  directory

A directory is often helpful, but I am not sure if a listing warrants inclusion in an “alert.”

Second, the TopSEOs outfit appears as the only listing in numerous alerts. I find this fascinating because repeating content should, in theory, be identified by the duplicate detection mechanisms used by some Web indexing companies. Google Alerts continue to push TopSEOs’ “news” to me as a single item. If I navigate to and run the query “enterprise search” I usually spot items that are directly germane to information retrieval in an organization. The phrase “information retrieval” as interpreted by the Google and Yahoo (Bing) alert mechanisms defines “enterprise search” as “search engine optimization.” I suppose that can be rationalized, but I find it misleading, silly, and confusing. “Enterprise search” has its share of problems. But SEO should not be conflated with “enterprise search” in my opinion. Synonym expansion that adds SEO to the terms related to “enterprise search” is just plain incorrect.

Third, the TopSEOs outfit is definitely having an impact on the Yahoo (Bing) and Google index. You can see this distortion when you enter the phrase “topseos” or variants. The company dominates the Google results, including entries that are clearly variants of the story cited above and sites operated by

top seos google hits

Notice the result pointing to and the headline “May 2014 Rankings of Five Best…”. I find this amusing because TopSEOs lists itself as covering UK search engine optimization companies, but item two is a company in the US in Idaho. I assume that Idaho is the search engine optimization mecca in North America based on the TopSEOs’ information.

Let me offer several observations:

First, the alert mechanisms operated by Google and Yahoo (Bing) are being manipulated by the TopSEOs’ content flow. I don’t know if the manipulation is a good or bad thing, but it is pretty clear, Google and Yahoo (Bing) alert mechanisms are now distribution channels for TopSEOs’ view of “search.” The problem is getting more evident to me. I have formed the hypothesis that the Google and Yahoo (Bing) alert mechanisms are not getting much attention at this time.

Second, the content generated by TopSEOs appears to be a road map pointing out the milestones in using shaped content to modify how Google and Yahoo (Bing) determine relevance for some interesting phrases; notably, “enterprise search.” The notion of relevance is in the process of being defined by the witting or unwitting interaction of the TopSEOs’ content flow and the Google and Yahoo (Bing) filtering systems. I find this fascinating because precision and recall in alerts from these two companies has degraded significantly in my view over the last 12 months.

Third, a researcher looking for objective, high value information in public Web indexes has to be extra careful. The content returned as most relevant may not be. Furthermore, the content may be off point; for example, SEO and enterprise search are different in my experience.

Net net: Google and Yahoo (Bing) have some relevance problems that suggest significant flaws in their content processing and filtering systems.

Stephen E Arnold, May 22, 2014


2 Responses to “TopSEOs: Relevance, Precision or Visibility?”

  1. Taruckus on June 14th, 2014 2:20 am

    1) you’re great
    2) consider using disqus for comments
    3) TopSEO’s is certainly not what it claims to be. Managed by e-ventures worldwide.

  2. visit on August 17th, 2014 10:06 pm


    TopSEOs: Relevance, Precision or Visibility? : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search

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