Maybe it was the disheartening sweep of the Yankees at Fenway last weekend after a promising few innings (say it ain’t so Joe, say it ain’t so) or what is now a 6 game losing streak that caused a slow week of posts here at TheVanBlog, but it was hardly a slow week for the rest of the blogosphere when it came to search engine news. I’ve got plenty of links as always and as usual we’ll start things off with social media.
Is the honeymoon really over for social networking sites? A MediaPost report seems to think so and Jordan McCollum covers the report. MediaPost says it’s time for the social sites to start generating revenue and among other things suggest they sell user data to marketers. Old media is already profiting. Jupiter Research showed how page views are up significantly since USA Today went social. Muhammed adds his own thoughts to the report.
I’ve been very interested in how the campaigns for the upcoming presidential election are playing out online. First MySpace will be running primaries and now Yahoo! will be hosting two presidential debates. Charlie Rose will host the events and you’ll be able to ask questions of the candidates from your living room.
- Honeymoon Over For Social Networks? Back to School, Then
- What Social Media Did for USA Today
- Charlie Rose To Host First Live Online Presidential Debates
Several social media sites made updates and added features this week. Facebook added features targeted at micro-blogging in a change that looks designed to take on Twitter and Jaiku. MyBlogLog added relevancy and the more you interact with a site the higher up your avatar will show in the MyBlogLog community, which I think is a very nice touch. BUMPzee added hotspots so you can see the content that is doing well on social media sites everywhere. And Newsvine made significant changes to their interface so you can customize the sites home page to your liking.
- Facebook is Gunning for Twitter
- MyBlogLog’s Relevancy Overhaul
- BUMPzee Updates April 25
- Newsvine Relaunch Today: Build Your Own News Site
- Newsvine 2.0 – Evergreen
Forrester released a report on social technographics to help you decide how best to market through social media. The full report is expensive, but the brief blog post about it is still informative. Andy Hagens posted a list of links to 17 niche social media sites when you’re looking beyond the handful of popular social media sites. Andy claims all are gaining critical mass and sending more targeted traffic too. In a similar vein Aaron Wall has some advice on how to find social news links. And closing out social media this week Bill’s found some patents to show us how StumbleUpon, eBay, and Google can make recommendations without us asking.
- Forrester’s new Social Technographics report
- Top 17 Niche Social Media Sites (That Actually Send Traffic)
- Digg to Pligg – Easy Social News Links
- Queryless Recommendations at Google, Stumbleupon, and eBay
Has blogging peaked? According to Business Week it might have and Muhammed thinks it might be a good thing that the blogosphere is standing still.
- With 15.5 Million Active Blogs, New Technorati Data Shows that Blogging Growth Seems to be Peaking
- The Blogosphere Is Standing Still
Darren Rowse had an interesting series of posts this week on how a blog can launch you into whatever is coming next. In the first post Darren talks about different types of bloggers, including one he calls spingboard bloggers and followed up with a post about how springboard bloggers can leverage their blogs for bigger things turning the single post into a two part series.
- Blogs as Launching Pads….
- How to Leverage Your Blog for Bigger Things – Springboard Blogging Part II
The design challenged will love the new WordPress Theme Generator from Yvo Schapp. Layout changes are a little limited (no 3 column layouts for example), but this has got to be one of the easiest ways to get a somewhat customized look for your blog. At first glance it looks good. Of course no matter how good your blog looks you better back it up with good content. Rhea Drysdale tells us how to write good?…umm…well?…no good. The title is a purposeful grammatical mistake, but the post is one worth reading. And Brian Clarke gives us two of his usual good posts this week. First on how to bond with your readers against a common enemy and then how how to tell a story when you post to engage your readers.
- WP Generator Blog
- How to Write Good for Search Engine Marketing
- Do You Have an Enemy? Here’s Why You Need to Find One
- Tell a Tantalizing Story to Kick Off Your Blog Post
You knew the talk about Google and paid links was going to continue didn’t you? Didn’t you? Let’s face it this debate will probably last for quite some time.
- Buying Links? Make Sure You Have a Well-Rounded Link Profile
- Debate Over Paid Links Continues
- Flooding Your Link Profile
- Google, Paid Links, and the FTC Staff Letter On WOM
- Should Paid Links Influence Organic Rankings?
If Google has scared you away from purchasing links there’s always linkbait. First Jordan tells us why linkbait isn’t always best and then Michael Gray defends linkbait and provides historical evidence that it’s been going on long before the web itself. Jennifer Laycock started what will become a 10 part series on linkbait and viral marketing. You can read the first three posts now, but will have to wait for the rest to be published.
- Linkbait Isn’t Always Best
- Linkbait, Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exagerated
- Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work – Part One
- Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work – Part Two
- Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work – Part Three
John Scott revealed he had run a little experiment that had produced huge gains in search traffic. What John did was remove pages from the v7n forum that were old and had limited page views. What happened? John says he started noticing 7,000 more referrals a day from the search engines. Barry Schwartz talked about it briefly and linked to a Cre8asite forum thread where it’s being discussed. Perhaps in a moment of clairvoyance Rand talked about page bloat and why you should remove extraneous pages from your site. Rand’s post is actually from last week, before John told us about his experiment, but I included it here since it fits nicely with the discussion.
- Excess pages polluting your website?
- Is Too Much Content A Bad Thing For SEO & Search Rankings?
- The Page Bloat Disease & Why You Should Eliminate Extraneous Pages
One of the more common questions I see about keywords is whether or not you should include them in domains and URLs. The question was discussed in a few places this week. Raj Dash talks about using keyword domains for seo and then Barry Schwartz points to a WebmasterWorld thread discussing keywords in URLs. Michael Gray tells us when not to use keywords in URLs, though he’s really talking about an alternate structure for those URLs. And bluehat Eli has some advice for grabbing as much keyword real estate as you can in domains. If you’ve never read Eli before you’re in for a treat. Great info from someone not quite so whitehat. Check out some of Eli’s other posts while you’re there.
- How to do long-term (budget) SEO using keyword domains
- Keywords in URLs the New Google Search Optimization Winner?
- Reasons Not to Use Keywords in Your URL’s
- Keyword Real Estate
Last week I pointed you to Stuntdubl for the post you had to read. This week it might be this one from Danny Sullivan. Yes I know PageRank isn’t what it used to be and you’d be wise not to put too much emphasis on it. But it won’t go away and people have questions about it all the time. Next time they do this is the post you’ll point them to. Danny’s got everything you really want to know about PR in here.
Search Engine News
Of interest to all search engines with an ad network (isn’t that all of them now?) the Click Quality Council released its Principles to Ensure Click Quality. Otherwise Google dominates the search engine news as usual, but stop the presses. In some categories Yahoo properties are proving to deliver better results than the mighty G.
As the week started Google was named the most powerful global brand of 2007. Later we learned they had also become the world’s most visited site. They were also sued again over search results, this time by a building contractor who didn’t care for the second listing for “RSA Homes” showing his company in a bad light. Of course now the rest of the first page contains articles about the story.
Google has also been the hampered with privacy concerns in recent weeks. There’s a lot of information on privacy and instead of linking to it here I think I’ll save it for a dedicated post next week. I hope you don’t mind the wait.
It’s been a couple of weeks since they purchased DoubleClick, but there are still questions about what Google will do with search marketing company Performics. And deals with DoubleClick and Clear Channel among others have everyone wondering how much advertising Google will ultimately control. Fortunately as Google takes in more advertising dollars they’re giving out more to the publisher network.
- Performics President Responds to Speculation Over Google – Performics Dissolution Rumor
- Google Changing Tune on Performics?
- Google’s Long March Towards Taking Over the Advertising Universe
- Google AdSense (Publisher) Revenue Share Highest Ever – Maybe
- Google’s “Claim Your Content”?
Remember when Google was trying to work out a deal with Viacom to show cable content on YouTube? It wasn’t that long ago. Since the deal fell apart Viacom seems to be signing deals with everyone but Google. Andy Beal asks if this could prove to take a toll on Google. YouTube may not be getting Viacom content, but it will be getting 30 second pre-roll ads.
I know what you really want to know about Google is how to rank well. Maybe you need to get into Google News then since they’re now being placed in search results. Chris Sherman and Barry Schwartz have some screen shots to prove it. You’re also going to want to know more about personalized search as it becomes more important to the SERPs. Tamar points to a WebmasterWorld thread where a member claims to have seen ads relevant not to what was on the page, but relevant to what was in his Gmail account. Interesting. I’m pretty sure I predicted that very thing would happen a couple months ago when discussing the seo implications of personalized search. Of course the best place for information is directly from the source. Gord Hotchkiss closes out Google news this week interviewing Marissa Mayer and Sep Kamvar about Google Personalization.
- Screen Captures of the New Google News Results in Action
- Google News Results Now Live In Web Search Results
- Very Personalized Google Ads Spotted: Is this New?
- Q&A With Google Personalization Gurus Sep Kamvar and Marissa Mayer
There have been some big expectations from Panama and the reviews have generally been good, but traffic and volume is down and Yahoo reported weak Q1 earnings.
Yahoo did make a major deal with Gracenote to provide song lyrics from just about everyone. Yahoo is going to quickly become the place to go if you want to know who sang what and what are those words they actually sung. ‘Lock the cashbox?’ I thought it was ‘stop the catbox.’
- Yahoo, Gracenote Provide Lyrics For 100,000s of Songs
- Yahoo Partners With Gracenote To Provide Lyrics For 400,000 Songs
I’ll let Bill wrap up Yahoo news with a look at a patent about how Yahoo might use query history to improve results. It’s an interesting way for a search algorithm to learn relevancy and semantic relations by seeing what gets clicked. Bill also noted that in unusual fashion Yahoo mentions a way for SEOs to reverse engineer a search engine. It’s not really new stuff, but it’s highly unusual to see a search engine mentioning it.
Poor Microsoft. They were passed by Google in both brand and visits and they’re resorting to the courts to prevent the Google/DoubleClick deal from going through. John Battelle had a conversation with general counsel of Microsoft Brad Smith to understand why. Microsoft is being sued as well over .NET patent infringement and while they had what should have been a very early lead they’re still chasing Google when it comes to online advertising. It’s not all bad though. Microsoft reported record profits this quarter, mainly on the strong sales of Vista and Office 2007.
- News Analysis: Microsoft General Counsel on DoubleClick and Antitrust
- Microsoft sued over .Net patent infringement
- Analysts: Microsoft’s after Google’s ad business
- Microsoft Reports Record Profits
Big news at Ask this week with the launch of their contextual advertising network. The good news for publishers is Ask will be giving a lot more control over the look of the ads and will be more transparent over the amount of revenue they will be sharing. The bad news is the much smaller network may not be enough to entice advertisers right away.
- IAC Adds Contextual Ads to Ask Sponsored Listings
- Ask to Launch Contextual Ad Network
- Ask.com Launching Contextual Advertising Network
- Ask.com To Launch Contextual Advertising Product
- Ask.com Gets Contexual With ASL Contextual Advertising
- IAC Advertising Solutions Announces Contextual Advertising Product
- Ask.com Asks, How Much Do You Value Transparency, Customization?
Another busy week in search you can spend your weekend reading about. I think the weather has finally turned here in Boulder. Two weeks in a row now we’re seeing sunny and warm, almost hot. While it’s not unrealistic for it to snow here this time of year there’s also a tendency for it to quickly become summer. I get the feeling we’re heading into summer and I’ll be posting next week with the AC running. Enjoy the weekend everyone. I’ll be paying attention again to a Yankees/Red Sox series, this time at the stadium in the Bronx.