Tag Archives: Blog

What Google Knows about Google… and a few other things

There is a wonderful saying that one hears in big companies, particularly when discussing Knowledge Management – KM initiatives, “if only we knew what we know“. It is unlikely that Google is exempt from this problem, but their data-driven culture has launched several information dashboards which aim to overcome this problem by facilitating internal and external communication of data, from Google service statuses to internet statistics.

Search engines are great in helping us find something when we suspect that there is an answer out there somewhere, to borrow a phrase from X-File’s Fox Mulder. Yet search engines aren’t very helpful when you don’t even know or imagine a resource exists. This article aims to help insure these mostly lessor known Google tools and resources get the visibility they deserve.

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Web Text as Images: SEO & other problems overcome with @font-face

The first web pages that appeared in 1992 strongly reflected their origin in the academic world, one characterized more by the written word rather than by visual presentation.

Web page circa 1992
Figure 1: A web page circa 1992

When graphic designers arrived on the scene, they tried to improve the situation, but before long many designers began to realize that the web would be a difficult beast to tame.

The web is not print media

Unfortunately for designers who so love Photoshop to create print materials, the Web is not print. When transitioning to the web, graphic designers face a set of common problems:

  • Screen size and resolution. The web is populated with people who use devices with different screen sizes and resolutions. A “pixel-perfect”design won’t work when not all pixels are created equal. Browser bugs and differences in interpreting the html standard represent another obstacle to presenting the same exact design to all site visitors. Percentage of web page displayed at different resolutions
    Figure 2: % web page displayed
    Increased use of so-called smart phones (iPod, Android, Windows Mobile 7) and similar (iPad) will further complicate the situation.
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Google Autocomplete, née Google Suggest, the Precursor of Google Instant

With all the brouhaha over the premiere of Google Instant, its easy to over look the fact that Google Instant isn’t really very new. In 2004 Google Labs launched a new tool called Google Suggest. Google suggest provided a list of potential search keyword phrases based on the keystrokes a user typed. Initially Google Suggest also displayed the estimated number of results for a given keyword phrase. Google Suggest was developed by Google engineer Kevin Gibbs in Google’s famous 20% time.

Google Suggest in Action

Google Suggest in Action. Note the result counts.

Google adds search results to the search box

Over time Google added functionality to Google suggest, providing links, weather information and even ads within the Google suggest powered search box. With Google Instant, Google has taken the next logical step of providing suggested results under the search box rather than in it. Google Instant needs to be seen as an evolution of Google suggest. Indeed, many of the limits of Google Instant, such as supplying local geographic targeted results for US metro areas only, are really Google Suggest limits.

Google Suggest Weather in Search Box

Google Suggest with Weather and search buttons in Search Box

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Move over Basic Search Results, Google Rich Snippets are here

For years search engine search results were limited to 3 basic pieces of information: a title, a summary and a URL. Attentive observers of Google search engine results may have noticed the appearance of additional information, what Google calls rich snippets, in certain results over the past few months. Some results contain review ratings, such as in this case where an iPod received 5 stars from 81 reviewers:

Apple iPod Review
Figure 1: Apple iPod Review

This search for U2 concert information provides event details for tour dates:

U2 Concert Rich Snippet 2
Figure 2: U2 Concert Rich Snippet Example 1
U2 Concert Rich Snippet 1
Figure 3: U2 Concert Rich Snippet Example 2

Note how the first result provides better detail on where the event is taking place. In both cases the event name is repeated for each date – that may or may not make sense. SEO practitioners have a lot of latitude in crafting these search results.

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Search engine Teoma is back. But will anybody notice, much less care?

If you’ve been using the web for years, you may remember glorious search engines of the past like DEC’s AltaVista. Eclipsed by Google, AltaVista lives on today as a test bed for Yahoo! technology, although that may no longer be the case once the Bing-Yahoo! agreement is fully implemented. Seasoned search engine marketing (SEM) professions will probably also recognize other names like Fast technology’s AlltheWeb and Amazon’s A9. One of my favorites was Teoma.

Teoma way back in 2001

Teoma in 2001
Figure 1: Teoma in 2001

Teoma is dead… or maybe not

Launched in 2000, it was later bought by Ask.com (Ask Jeeves in the UK) and met the fate of dead search engines in 2006. Or maybe not, as I noticed to my surprise a few days ago:

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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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What’s New With Social Media Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing is part of a bigger web ecosystem. At SMX West 2009, three habitués of the social media scene shared tips on successfully promoting a website using social media.

Moderator: Sara Holoubek, Consultant, Columnist and SEMPO Board of Directors

Speakers:

reddit

Brent Csutoras describes the user-generated news site reddit. When logged in, the front page is dashboard of reddits. You can create your own social media site using a CNAME sub domain name and the Reddit platform. (Add a CNAME record aliasing your domain to rhs.reddit.com. Enter this new domain, e.g. social.antezeta.com, in the domain field when you create a new reddit. – Sean)

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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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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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So many aspiring SEOs! – the SEO Quiz results are in

15 questions, 5 weeks and 5 books: almost 700 people took the 2008 SEO quiz challenge.

Note to the reader: this article was originally posted on our Italian blog on December 2nd. The quiz targeted an Italian audience; we’ve published this translation in order to allow a wider audience to follow search marketing developments in Italy.

Why a SEO quiz

The idea of the quiz came from reflections on the state of SEO knowledge and usage in Italy, observed from the perspective of a SEO practitioner.

Search engines, with Google in particular (question 1), are the gate keepers between us and the net. We use search engines not only to search for information that we imagine is out there somewhere, but also to navigate to a specific site, such as Fiat, or to perform a task, such as buy a ticket for a Tiziano Ferro concert (question 15).

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