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June 2007 Archives

June 1, 2007

Live Search Books: Now with In-Copyright Content


Today we’re delighted to announce the availability of in-copyright book content in the Beta version of Live Search Books!

For hundreds of years books have been the repositories for the world’s most trusted, authoritative knowledge. But until recently, books have been invisible to the world’s search engines. Change is afoot! Starting today, you’ll find search query results from in-copyright books in Live Search Books. The integration of this valuable content will help us improve our ability to answer your questions and point you toward useful sources for additional information. The Live Search Books offering is part of our larger Live Search strategy to deliver the most relevant information possible to our customers in a seamless experience that integrates results culled from a variety of essential sources.

Live Search Books Screenshot

Live Search Books Screenshot

Those of you who have tried Live Search Academic, our search service for scholarly publications, are already familiar with our unique two-pane interface that makes it easy to scan and preview search results. We’ve carried over that successful design to Live Search Books and made it even better! Our design makes it easy to quickly figure out if a book is relevant to your search, then jump to the relevant information within that book. The preview pane includes a cover image, summary of the book and table of contents previews (where available), and a new hit density map that makes it easy to see where your search results fall in a given title. Seeing where clusters of results fall makes it easy to get to the relevant section of the book quickly and easily, making the best possible use of limited page previews.  To that end, we also have included a page preview counter that tells you how many pages you have left to view within the preview page limit set by the publisher. Of course we also make it easy to search within books: our viewer allows you to search for specific keywords, view full pages or zoom in, flip through page by page, and link to the book’s Table of Contents.  If you decide that you want to own the book, we make it easy to buy it with links to the publisher’s ecommerce enabled web site and major online book retailers.

Live Search Books Screenshot

Another thing that you’ll notice about Live Search Books is the quality of our scanned images.  We are taking particular pains to obtain the highest possible quality images to ensure that our customers are getting the best viewing experience possible.

Today’s release includes books from a wide range of publishers. We have paid particular attention to ensuring that we are only including books in our index that our publishing partners have given us permission to include, so our customers and partners can feel secure in our stance on copyright protection. Here are just a few of our launch partners: Academic Resources Corporation, Amherst Media, Bearport Publishing, Cambridge University Press, Edward Elgar Publishing, Harrison House Publishers, Harvard University Press, Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services, Institute for International Economics, John Wiley & Sons Publishing, Lerner Publishing Group, MBI Publishing Company, McGraw-Hill Companies, Microsoft Corporation, MIT Press, OECD, Osprey Publishing, Oxford University Press, Pearson Education, PREP Publishing, Rodale, Rutgers University Press, Simon & Schuster, Springer, SUNY Press, Taylor & Francis Group, The Perseus Books Group, The World Bank, University of Massachusetts Press, Wheatmark, Wilderness Press, World Health Organization, World Scientific Publishing Company, World Wisdom, Yale University Press. There are many more not named here—and many more whose books will be incorporated as we update the index going forward.

Publishers who are interested in submitting content can find out more about the program at publisher.live.com.

Send us your feedback at lsselfbk@microsoft.com and let us know what you think, and be sure to check Live Search Books often as we’ll be adding books to our index on a regular basis.


— Cliff Guren, Director of Publisher Evangelism, Live Search Selection Team

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Searcharazzi: Let the Layoffs Begin


Searcharazzi - A Column From Search Engine Land

Listen up, HR managers, there’s a fresh crop of search employees on the block.

iCrossing commenced a round of layoffs this week. Rumor has it that the new CFO, Michael Jackson, is not driving continued growth, but cutting the fat based on profitability of offices and accounts. As of this morning, 20-30 employees have been cut from the Scottsdale headquarters and the New York office. Atlanta is also rumored to get cut down to 4 people. Some accounts suggest that when all said and done, roughly 60 people will be left in the wake.

Click to continue reading…

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Google AdWords Getting Bolder

We spotted a new Google AdWords phenomenon yesterday – as you know, Google “bolds” words in ad text that match the keywords you’re bidding on. The example below shows that synonyms of keywords are now appearing in boldface.

We’ve confirmed with Google that this is a new “feature,” and it also works with antonyms. So, for example, if the keyword is “GM,” and the words “General Motors” are included in the ad, then “General Motors” will appear in boldface.

Click to continue reading…

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June 4, 2007

Search Engine News Review – Mon Jun 04, 2007

Utilizing Keyword Domains for Corporate Sites
Mark Fulton at DotSauce points to a list of 190 keyword domains, compiled by SearchDomainsForSale, used by various corporate entities to promote various aspects of their business. Some of these domains house minisites that come across as PSAs (Public Service Announcements) – which if sincere is a great marketing tool.

.Edu and .Org Links the Easy Way
Cristian Mezei writes about Addison University’s offer of a WordPress MU blog for a $25 monthly donation. But in the comments, minstrel poo poos the idea that .edu and .org links are treated any differently than any other high quality link.

Link Baits vs Reciprocal Links?
Stoney deGeyter of ISEdb wrote last week that Link bait is the new reciprocal link. Actually, he clarifies and says that many forms (not all) of linkbaiting are like reciprocal links without the reciprocation. That makes sense, I guess, if you’re talking about posts written for the explicit purpose of baiting a particular purpose. Though I don’t quite see how SE algorithms can be written to distinguish. The only way I see is brute force: discount all articles with more than X outbound links. What do you think?

Marc Andreesen Blogs
Marc Andreesen of Netscape and Ning fame has a blog. [via John Batelle’s Searchblog]

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Yahoo Cedes Victory to Google?

Has Yahoo ceded victory to Google? Yahoo! is saying that search is history and is planning to fight other battles. Yahoo! believes personalization is the future of the web and is more important than search. In the meantime, they’ve opened up their Panama ad platform by launching a commercial Search Marketing API program, which might be a little late.

Yahoo giving up is a huge disappointment – to me anyway. Is this utter nonsense? Search will always be important on the web. How we do to it, however, will have to improve. Twelve years after being a search engine webmaster, I find search still lacking. To me, relevance will be most important, but since that changes by user, maybe Yahoo’s focus on personalization is a smart move. So if that’s true, why have at least three Yahoo executives left the company?

But I’m always against (virtual) monopolies, so my fingers are crossed that Google will have a competitor soon – or we’ll have to live with the FOG (fear of Google). On that note, Microsoft is reputedly building a new top-secret horizontal stealth search engine using a Silicon Valley team of at least twenty developers.

My question is why? Is their existing engine beyond repair? More importantly, will they come up with something worthwhile?

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June 5, 2007

Don’t Get Duped By Google And Yahoo! Match Typing


Paid Search - A Column From Search Engine Land
In Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing (Y!SM), not only do match types have different names, but matching technologies and algorithms are dissimilar. I’ll review the various match types and discuss differences. For this article, I’ve done some testing and included some results.

Click to continue reading…

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Google’s Matt Cutts on SEO : From SMX Seattle

Rhea here! If you don’t know who I am, it’s probably because I’m the least published SEJ contributor and well-known IT girl of SEO blogging. To correct this I decided to cover all of the organic sessions for Search Engine Journal at SMX Advanced in Seattle.

The truth be told, I just wanted to get on the VIP Google party list and receive prank calls from the industry’s most respected SMM princess. Alas, Loren Baker informed me that networking at the bar and injecting coffee into my veins with Lisa Barone didn’t merit a press pass. So, stay tuned for session coverage, interviews and incriminating photos.

FOR SEMs WITH ONLY 60 SECONDS TO SPARE!

I will include a 60 second summary for each session at the top of every post. If you only have 60 seconds, please review those points.

And now, without further ado, I bring you (drum roll please), You and A with Matt Cutts!

SEO in 60 seconds:

– If your site is in the supplemental grab more links to show up in the main.

– Supplemental results do not mean you’re penalized.

– Google does a good job of geo-targeting search results.

– Webmaster guidelines are short, so users can make educated inferences based on their unique situation.

– Webmaster console may soon include a paid link report, similar to the spam report.

– Linking out from your site, if the links are useful to your users, isn’t a bad thing. Google’s philosophy – what’s good for the users is good for Google.

– Search result pages on your site are not penalized, but Google does reserve the right to trim them from the SERPs.

– SRPs can still rank well if they provide unique content or strong categories.

– Whether click-throughs affect rankings can neither be confirmed nor denied, but if the algorithm did count them, it would cause a lot of noise.

– Google loves Wikipedia because more often than not the information is a well-presented, fairly accurate summary of what a “regular” user is searching on.

– Google didn’t manually stop the Stephen Colbet google bomb.

– Google will manually edit the image search results as images are still difficult to deliver with accuracy.

– Matt’s Phrase of the Day: “Scalable and robust”

‘You & A’ Session with Matt Cutts

The You and A session started on the awkward side with Matt Cutts urging the audience to get Danny undressed or “casual.” After removing the jacket, tie and shirt, Matt still wasn’t comfortable and Danny had to disrobe the pants! I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to imagine the audience naked, not get nude yourself. Fortunately, the striptease broke the ice and made SMX Advanced as a conference to remember.

Michael Martinez started off the You and A with a ballsy question about Matt dodging his concerns on the supplemental index.

Matt: If in a site is in the supplemental index, try to grab more links and you should show up in the main index. Supplemental doesn’t equal penalty.

Quick mental lapse on my part – Mikkel deMib Svendsen just walked into the room.

Back to the session. The next question touched on local search and how confident Google is with knowing where a user is located. Matt emphasized that this is out of his field, but Google does a good job of geo-targeting search results.

Pat from Feedthebot.com: Why are Google guidelines so brief and what does the future hold? Matt quickly lost the audience in his reponse by referencing piano’s axioms and group theory in mathematics. The bottom line, Google’s philosophy is to only provide a minimal set of information to enable users to make their educated inferences based on their unique situation. Concise guidelines also provides greater flexibility for Google as they do not have to micro-manage each item.

Next question, what’s up with link buying? Are paid links the death of the algorithm? Do borderline grayhat SEOs have to buy links to stay ahead?

Matt: Would like to see the Webmaster console provide a paid link report, similar to the spam report. Yes, buying links is outside of the guidelines and users can make the choice to pursue it or not understanding the manual and algorithmic consequences.

What about linking out from your site?

Matt : What’s good for the users is good for the search engines and links out of the site are often useful.

How can webmasters make on-site search result pages user and search engine friendly?

Matt: It’s important to note that the topic of search result pages is addressed in technical guidelines, not the webmaster guidelines. So, there’s no penalty for having the SRPs, but Google reserves the right to trim them from their results. Category pages and pages with unique user generated content are considered a value to the user, so those have a greater potential of being indexed and ranked well.

What’s the impact of click-throughs on general web search?

Matt: We can neither confirm nor deny whether this is a factor! However, if click-throughs were used as an algorithmic metric the results would be very “noisy.”

Why does Google love Wikipedia? And, when will you break up with them?

Danny: “I think Matt wanted to tell Wikipedia first.”

Matt: Almost no one in this room is a regular user. Regular users like Wikipedia because more often than not it’s more accurate than even the official site.

At the Pubcon Super Session Matt looked up every domain mentioned, what business is it to Google?

Matt: I want to know what kind of webmaster the individual is that’s requesting a site review. It’s my way of assessing their level of “web-savvyness.” But that doesn’t mean the type of sites you own will harm your ranking. However, addressing a follow-up question, a spam flag could be thrown if sister sites are doing anything fishy, which could negatively affect the ranking of other sites.

Jonathan Hochman: What does Google think about Jason Calacanis’ Mahalo?

Matt: Mahalo is still in its infancy, so it’s difficult to comment. However, page rank is fundamentally links done by people and engineers write the algorithms, so Google doesn’t ignore the human side of search.

Then a question on categorization.

Matt: Try to allocate your products or services to the most relevant topic and direct links to the category you consider most important to the user. Even if products are duplicated in other categories, that should force higher rank for the most relevant area.

Really cool metaphor from Matt: Think of page rank as Playdoh – You can split your categories, but there’s a limited offering, so it’s very important to consider where you place your dough.

Quick question on the Stephen Colbert Google bomb dispersal, what happened? Was the removal human or algorithmic?

Matt: The algorithm didn’t change while Colbert was ranking for “giant brass balls” and “greatest living American” so any results were automatic.

Danny: What about Bush and failure?

Matt: By putting any word on your site it sends a signal to Google that there’s a match to the site and will return results.

Question on image results in SERPs, “When I search George Bush, Jimmy Carter shows up.”

Matt: Onebox philosophy – we return best results. Universal search – we consider what’s the best result for your need? Image search is still difficult to manage accurately, but is getting better. Google will manually edit image search if a user has a significant issue.

Finally, a question on theming, LSI and similar words, how has the technology progressed?

Matt: Google doesn’t talk about which keyword grouping they use. Themes can be a good practice for synonyms as Google doesn’t have to determine them. Semantic matching is used, but if naturally targeted doesn’t hurt your rankings.

The last question was reserved for Matt to the audience, “What do you want to see from webmaster console?”

– Penalty reports

– Accurate information

– Real time reports

– Google sauce revealed

– Errors displayed without having to click the domain

– Spider traps

– Shared login

– RSS

– 404 reports

– More query data

And now onto Duplicate Content…

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