Category Archives: Search Engines

7 sources of link intelligence data and key link analysis considerations

It may seem like a cliché but on the web no website is an island. Any site worth its salt will have accumulated inbound links and will most certainly contain outbound links to other resources on the web. Indeed, one can easily say that without links to interconnect websites, there wouldn’t be a worldwide web.

For search engines, such as Google, incoming links provide a strong signal as to the authority of a website. If multiple websites link to a specific website for a given topic, there is a good chance the website cited by others is deemed to be highly relevant for a good reason. Google and other search engines identify the theme of a website page by analyzing a page’s content and the text of the incoming links – the underlined text you click on to arrive at a page. Links, especially inbound links, are thus one of the most significant in the over 200 factors Google considers in its ranking algorithms. Inbound links from related sites in a business’ sector are also an excellent source of highly qualified direct traffic.

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Google AJAX Search results, tracking in Google Analytics and, um, an API rant

As many may know by now, Google has been experimenting for a few months with Ajax (JavaScript) based search results. One problem with the initial trial was that no referrer information was passed when a user clicked on a search result, “breaking” the historic ability of Web Analytics systems to track search traffic from Google. Google has more than one service on each of it’s domains which may send traffic to a website, such as the Google Reader, so just knowing traffic is from Google isn’t so informative.

Keyword information from search referrers is in particular very important as we want to know not only where our visitors came from, but what was their intent, intent indicated though the keywords they use to express their need or desire while searching.

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Microsoft finally concedes search engine battle to Google

It was bound to happen. In an economic climate of belt tightening, Microsoft has finally done the unthinkable. First there were those 5,000 layoffs. Then there was the abandonment of adCenter Analytics, Microsoft’s web analytics solution. Yesterday Microsoft announced it was discontinuing Encarta, tacit acknowledgment that it has been trumped by Wikipedia.

So perhaps I should have seen the writing on the wall. Yet today’s announcement that Microsoft is abandoning it’s Live Search took me by surprise. Is Yahoo! next? Will we soon be looking at a Google only world?

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Just Behave, A Look At Searcher Behavior

This SMX West 2009 session looks at how internet users interact with search engines and how that might influence search engine interface design and our SEO efforts.

Moderator: Gordon Hotchkiss, President and CEO, Enquiro

Speakers:

Some statistics to consider

Jenni Tafoya introduces comScore; notes they have a world-wide panel of 2 million people (as far as I know, no third party audit of their claims or methodology is available – Sean).

Jenni says U.S. search activity on engines and sites is up 38% – people are doing more searches and more people are online.

Search engine growth is driven by organic (SEO) clicks.

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SEO Session: Up Close With Google Blog Search

Google Blog Search is Google’s vertical search engine which focuses exclusively on blog content. While overall usage is probably pretty low, results from Google blog search are starting to appear in Google’s web search as part of their “Universal Search”, more generally known as blended search. Blog content can appear in Google’s standard web search independently of its presence in Google Blog Search. Google’s Chris Pennock, an Engineer with Google’s New York office, discussed how Google Blog Search works at the SMX West search conference.

Moderator: Matt McGee, Assignment Editor, Search Engine Land

Speaker: Chris Pennock, Senior Software Engineer, Blog Search, Google Inc.

Who uses Google Blog Search?

Google Blog Search is used by someone looking for more opinionated or fresher information. Users come may come from Google.com or a blogger looking for information on their own blog. (Google Blog Search also powers some of the information in the WordPress dashboard – Sean).

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Google, the spy we love

Passing through the Frankfurt Airport on my way from Milan to SMX West, I couldn’t help but notice the front page of Germany’s weekly newspaper, Die Zeit (The Time).
Google. Der Spion, den wir lieben. (Die Zeit)

Google. Der Spion, den wir lieben.

Google weiß alles. Der Internetgigant aus Kalifornien macht uns das Leben leicht. Zugleich aber folgt er uns im Netz auf Schritt und Tritt – nun auch über das Google-Handy. (Die Zeit, 5. Februar 2009)

The image, inspired by 007, says:

Google. The spy we love.
Google knows everything. The California Internet giant makes life easy. Yet at the same time Google follows our every step on the net – now through the Google cell phone as well.

Germany, with its difficult 20th century history of Nazism and a Russian/German brand of Communism, is very sensitive to the risks associated with a “big brother” watching over us. Yet as the article points out, most people are willing to accept Google’s knowing our every movement to the extent that Google unobtrusively makes our life easier.

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My website has disappeared from Google. What do I do now?

One day you note a fall off in the traffic Google sends your website. As Google is the main source of your traffic, as is the case for many websites, alarm bells naturally start ringing. Investigating, you realize that the site does not appear at all in Google or has poor visibility at best in search results. What is a poor site owner to do? Did someone say panic?

Understand why the site disappeared from Google

There are several reasons why a site no longer appears in typical Google search results.

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Extra long descriptions showing up in Google search results: test in progress?

Several Italian SEO practitioners have noted seeing Google search results with snippets about double the normal length1.

Google’s query result snippet (the result summary or description) is usually around 150 characters or so. It may be the contents of a page’s html meta description tag, especially if the tag contains the search keywords, or an abstract created by Google from the page’s content.

I hadn’t seen this behavior in English language Google results until I made a very specific search where I used more than the typical 2 or 3 keywords seasoned searchers type. Searching for google feedburner mybrand server not found (no, Google’s feedburner migration did not go smoothly) I noticed that the 4th and successive results had super long descriptions – around 300 characters or so:

Warning: google-feedburner-results.html could not be embedded.

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Google Crawling and Execution of JavaScript: where are we at today?

For a long time, Google’s advice to website developers was to keep things simple to ensure search engine spiders could successfully crawl and process website content:

Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would. If fancy features such as JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.1

In reality, Google often found links in Flash objects, significantly improving this ability as announced last June (creating much confusion by misrepresenting this as a new feature rather than an improvement). And despite the hoopla, there are still many good reasons to avoid Flash.

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SMX West 2009: Do you know the way to San José?

One sign that a profession has matured is in its ability to support a dedicated conference where professionals can hear and learn from presenters as well as interact with other practitioners (and potential clients & vendors).

Search Marketing has had its very own conference since Danny Sullivan started the Search Engine Strategies (SES) series 10 years ago. After growing the SES conference series for many years for the benefit of other owners, Danny started his own conference series, SMX: Search Marketing Expo, in 2007.

I’m happy to say that on February 10-12 I’ll be attending the three day SMX West 2009, in Santa Clara, California. I’m particularly looking forward to day 2′s Keynote Conversation with Google’s Vint Cerf. One of the advantages of the California edition of SMX is that it is easier to get key search engine employees to participate – they’re already right down the street. The sessions on Ecommerce Search Marketing Tactics and Search & Reputation Management also look particularly promising.

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