Tag Archives: Ranking

Pimp-up search engine results with Schema.org semantic markup – before your competitors do

SEO and Schema.org presentation at SMX München, 29 March 2012 (Photo: Jan Kutschera)

Note: this article is based on my SEO and Schema.org presentation at SMX München, 29 March 2012. It is also available in Italian and German.

For all too long search results have comprised 10 sad blue links together with a summary and an URL. Over time search engines began to display other types of objects, such as images and videos, in search results, but web document display remained neglected.

Now what if a search engine could display additional information from a web page to help a user better decide if a particular search result is the right one for them? Well actually, they can.


Facebook EdgeRank and 3 steps to optimize visibility in the Facebook News Feed (NFO)

The Facebook News Feed contains a selection of highlights from Facebook friends, pages to which a person is connected on Facebook and, to a limited degree, groups. The news feed receives significant visibility in Facebook due to its prime location in the central column of a Facebook user’s home page and its ongoing updates. The News Feed content consists of news and posts from friends and pages, friend requests, tagged photos & notes, responses to event invitations and notifications of group memberships.

The News feed is actually divided into two streams: Top News and Most Recent. The Top News stream, the default, contains selected highlights deemed by Facebook to be the most interesting and relevant, while the most recent stream, visible by clicking on a link, contains almost all of the current activity of friends and pages. It seems that about half of Facebook users click to view the most recent news.  The Most Recent updates are limited to activity from 250 pages and friends but you can remove this constraint by choosing the Edit option at the bottom of the page.

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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.

Google Instant Changes Little – and Some SEO Considerations using the Italian ABCs

So now that most of the uninformed hype surrounding Google Instant has been written, let’s take a hard look at what Google Instant really means for most companies and organizations.

Google Instant is an interface change

First of all, it is important to understand what Google Instant is and what it is not. Google Instant is a user interface change, it changes the way Google presents search results to Google users.

How Google Instant works

As the user types a query, Google refreshes the displayed search results which, according to Google, best respond to the query typed so far or what Google predicts the query will be based on past queries.


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.


Yahoo Search Marketing Tools: What’s at Risk & How to Avoid Surprises

When Yahoo and Microsoft announced their Search Alliance in July 2009, only the high level agreement details were available:

  • Microsoft will provide the development and management of search engine results technology (bing)
  • Microsoft will provide the search and content network ad platform (adCenter)
  • Microsoft will manage the relationship with self-service advertisers
  • Yahoo will manage the relationship with large accounts
  • Yahoo will provide their own user interface on top of the Bing results which will appear on Yahoo properties

Microsoft - Yahoo Search AllianceNow that US and EU regulators have approved the deal, search marketers need to assess which Yahoo tools they rely on – and need to be prepared with alternatives should these tools be discontinued.

During the SMX West 2010 session Microsoft + Yahoo: What’s It All Mean?, I looked at the agreement’s implications for three Yahoo tools search marketing professionals have come to know and love:


Domain & URL Strategies for Multilingual & Multinational Sites

One problem search engines face when indexing and ranking a website’s content is to identify the target geographic and linguistic market a particular website page is trying to reach. The world wide web is indeed that, and the issue is particularly complicated for websites in languages which have a broad geographic reach such as English and Spanish.

Fortunately for site owners, there are clues search engines use to match website content with searcher location. By understanding these clues and user behavior, site owners can choose a domain and URL strategy which best fits their needs.

I discussed domain and URL strategies at the SMX West 2010 Search Marketing Expo conference. For the benefit of those who couldn’t attend, the slides and a rough transcript follow. I’d strongly recommend that you attend a future SMX conference in person – from search marketing tips to great networking (and fine food), you won’t regret it.


Italian press to Google: you’re unfair (and we’re confused)

This past week the Italian antitrust authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) conducted a search of Google’s Italian office and announced it was beginning an investigation into Google’s possible abuse of its dominant position in the Italian search engine market. The case was triggered by a complaint from the Italian Federation of News Publishers, FIEG (Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali). FIEG represents publishers of newspapers and magazines, together with press agencies.

So what’s the problem?

The news industry has struggled since the mid 1990s to figure out a profitable internet strategy. “Free” content needs to be supported by advertising revenue, yet poorly targeted banners and the like don’t pay much. Google’s indisputable success as an advertising powerhouse1 has captured the press’ attention.

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10 shadows hanging over Google: does Google have a dark side?

In a recent article on Microsoft’s bing, I felt it necessary to temper my enthusiasm for Microsoft’s commitment to web search by noting Microsoft’s decidedly checkered record as a good net citizen. What about Google?

It is almost too easy to write a glowing review of whatever new service Google unleashes. For example,

  • Google Maps Street View enables us to preview a new client’s street and building prior to a first visit – a boon in city environments
  • Google Translate has improved so significantly of late that it really is useful in providing rough draft translations of search marketing articles
  • Google Squared provides an innovative take on structuring search results for items with multiple attributes.

However while enthusing over Google’s services one might ask,

Does Google have an underlying dark side? If so, need anyone care?


Google Squared – expanded search engine results in a table

Google Squared LogoOne of the more exciting recent search engine advances I’ve seen in a while is Google Squared. Search for something which has multiple attributes and Google will try to build a structured table of results, adding columns for each major attribute it knows about. As an example, try “Hitchcock films”.

Google Squared Result for Hitchcock Films

Figure 1: Google Squared search results for “hitchcock film”

Did Google miss a film? Just add a row and Google will try to fill in the missing attributes. Is a film attribute missing? Just choose from a column suggestion Google offers or specify it yourself and Google will try to find the data. Does a data element seem amiss? Hover over it and Google will display the data source along with alternative values. In the Hitchcock example, one film was reported with the re-release date rather than the original date; a click or two later and the correct date appeared.