Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wiser About The Web

This article dated on the 27th of March (Today is the 21st...), is pretty indicative of the trends surounding online marketing and SEO/SEM. I've been involved in the online world for over 12 years now and I have seen quite a few things progress. One of them is definately online tracking. This is a definate read if you are interested in the sorts of data advertising agencies and Search marketing firms acquire. If you couple those measurements with the metrics data search engines like Google and Yahoo collect/provide, you can see how truly little annomity we have online. Scary though, but the complete truth.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Google Music Search - Tool for Audiophiles

Yet another great tool in the Google Arsenal, Music Search. Although I am not sure if this is new, I just found out about this about a week ago and although it is a fledgling technology, the promise is there. Next best thing to add to this tool to make it a killer app is to be able to play a sound byte/sample off of the search page (probably using AJAX). This would make the experience very fluid and probably allow Google or affiliates to make immediate purchases (which I know I've fallen victim to... and many others will also.).

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kinderstart Vs. Google - Who will Win? Who Cares?

Reading this article about Kinderstart's suite against Google, it becomes immediately appearent that online marketing can be cutthroat and at times innane. In this case, I can understand the upset that Kinderstart must have experienced when 80% of its revenue was lost and 70% of its traffic vanished, however, on the same note, Google makes these updates often and that is one of the majoy risks of operating with a dependancy on one site / search engine, or portal.

Operating in the SEO/SEM space, professionals like myself understand that updates can certainly "shake things up", but we move on and determine a new strategy to shift the reality of search engine filtration to our favor. As the profession grows up, we will understand how to more effectively implement a strategy that can work well for years at a time and be augmented slightly to maintain the effect.

This lawsuit seems quite lame in my opinion as any one of my clients, or me for that matter, could go around suing Google willy'nilly for similar results, but in our minds, we know better. Shame on Kinderstart for starting a battle that is unjust, and hopefully nothing beneficia comes of this site for Kinderstart.

Technology is a tool, not an end. There ends my rant.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Google Offers SEO Selection Guidelines

As interesting a topic as this is, it holds so much in terms of emphasis for the growth and development of the SEO profession. After the search engines and concerned "netizens" began policing search engine abuses by black and grey hat SEO's back in 1999/2000, the profession began its movement to become a true profession which could garner salary and reputation worthy of the effort and improvement brought forth. No movement was greater however, than over the past 2 years where it became outrageously obvious that Search engines were clamping down on black hats, concerned "netizens" were not accepting the abuse anymore, corporations were more aware of the implication of "spamming" search engines and overall SEO professionalism became a true virtue.

While I and many others have always stayed true to white hat tactics, for quite some time there was angst over the popularity and widespread underground approval or "whatever it takes" tactics for SEO's. I can safely say that the search engines: Google, Yahoo!, MSN and others are indeed doing a great job at improving algorithms in this way and that the SEO community is beginning to get serious on improving reputation and actual optimization of websites, the way it should have always been... is now becoming a reality.

About time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Microsoft launches revamped search engine

Yet another article about the Microsoft initiatives to improve beyond Google's status as the defacto search engine of current. The good thing here, is that, now there are a couple more details about their new engine, plans for the near future to burst onto the scene ahead of Google and also a name for their new technology. Microsoft dubs their brand spanking new web search application, "live".

Set to be replacing the current MSN engine technology, "live" will be running through a undetermined length test-phase on and once deemed read to launch, will replace engine. Features planned to improve the technology beyond that which exists right now is tabbed searches conducted simultaneously in one window, smart pane technology which will allow for display of more or less result information according to user specifications/needs, and image searches in tandem with copy and information searches. A great possibility also lies in more natural searches conducted off of logical questions as opposed to keyword based searching which is not completely considered natural.

Now, it will definately become appearent that if this becomes the star of search, I and other SEO specialists will be looking into new ways of designing search term optimization patterns, and could
A) create a more accessible method of penetration into search results or
b) be detrimental to search tactics and be more of an uphill battle to get results from optimization efforts...

At this time, we will just have to study, analyze and wait to find what the future brings.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Microsoft says better than Google soon |

I am certainly interested in this bit of news as Microsoft is making a really big claim and the correlation between their efforts with their Small Business Directory and the effects seen in the market with that directory has improved. The fact that Microsoft's Bcentral directory has been placed as one of the more important directories from a position of not even being known over the past 10 years, shows me and perhaps the rest of the SEO / SEM community that they are serious in positioning their search services in front of competitors.

The question, will they succeed, is yet another issue. After all they are facing two giants, Yahoo! and Google. Google of course being the most proactive and R&D focused competitor, willing and able to try everything to dominate the search market.

The most intreguing thing at this time for me is how Microsoft intends to be better than Google's 100+ point site analysis. What could they tweak or add on to their algorythm to improve search relevance and thus beat out the functionality and quality of results that Google churns out? I am sure this is on the mind of every SEO professional who has read the article.

All we can do at this point is wait and see.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Submitting to Google and Yahoo Local

Although links are the focus of link building, it is important to grab at opportunities that are considered traditional. Although getting a local listing (like the yellow pages) is somewhat traditional, there is a new spin on the quality since now there are identical ways to get info listed online. Superpages is a good example of an online yellow pages that supports internet listings and searches.

Get listed at Google and Yahoo! local to see some extra, qualified traffic. You'll need location information for your offices, a phone number to list, a description of what you do or sell, an email address and website. For Google, you'll might want to use your Google account, which you already have if you've signed up for Gmail, Adwords, Google Sitemaps or any other online based Google product. Local search is becoming more important to your business so start by using their form and verification process. Basic Local Yahoo listings are free of charge just like Google Local.

My Favorite SEO Tools - Professional Picks

Since there are many good tools to conduct SEO / SEM campaigns, I felt like sharing some of my favorites, and in doing so, I believe they are the best in the industry. I hear from many SEO professionals that getting a good sampling of keyword search stats comes down to the use of a tool like wordtracker, and while it is useful, it doesn't quite have the right feel for me. To collect the searches conducted on a term or "like" term, I use Yahoo! /Overture's Keyword tool instead of wordtracker. The searches performed can be compaired against a search done in MSN, Yahoo! or Google to get the success factor by comparing the ratio of competitive results to searches performed per month. Obviously, the more searches performed to the least competitive results, is what any good SEO looks for.

For link building campaigns or determining the history of links from a site / client, I like the link reputation tool. It can be slow at times, but overall, I do find it useful and enlightening. Furthermore, Seochat's Pagerank search can be used to find high pageranked sites that are link building opportunities. The best part about this is that Seochat publishes a plethora of useful tools, all in one spot.

Other tools include:

Don't have or want the Google toolbar? Use Seochat's Pagerank Lookup.
Want to get your site up to par with SEO like symantic structure and "rules", try sitening's SEO analyser (a definite killer app) . Honorable mention does go to the developers of another SEO analyser which with a little more tweaking, might catch up to Sitening's tool.
Looking to see how many pages of your site or client site are indexed by the major engines? Try the index report tool.
To find a list of robots crawling websites, check out the robots list.
Dont necessarily want the robot list, but do want the robot user agents?
An alternative to Seochat's link popularity tool is this one.

In conclusion, these tools make the process of acquiring SEO statistics and data, easier and allow for a more complete "picture" or the situation you are facing in your optimization battles. Use them, they will definately help and provide a way to track results.