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February 2008 Archives

February 8, 2008

Live Search: There For Skiiers And Snowboarders Everywhere

Live Search has just added Instant Answers for snow conditions at ski resorts. Type a query for a resort name (such as “whistler”) or for a resort area (such as “CO snow report”) and you’ll see information such as lift status, amount of new snow, base depth, and conditions.

Live Search: Instant Snowboarding Answers

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February 11, 2008

orkut going more social

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How To Get On Google Maps Without An Address

Locals Only - A Column From Search Engine Land One of the top issues in delivering up local search results in a map-based format is what to do with businesses which have no street address. During the SMX Local & Mobile conference back in October, Dick Larkin asked Google Earth VP Michael Jones a question about this very thing: "What should we recommend to local businesses which do not have a local street address—how do they get into Google Maps search results?" Michael’s answer was surprising. I’ll give you his answer in a moment.

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What, Exactly, Are Google AdSense “Other” Relevancy Factors?


Paid Search - A Column From Search Engine Land
It’s been well established that a core—predominant, even—component of the Google AdWords quality-based bidding formula is historical CTR (clickthrough rate). New keywords get treated a bit differently, though; the algorithm must predict CTR based on the similarities of your ad group’s characteristics to historical data in Google’s vault.

If you read through Google’s official descriptions, you’ll also see references to “other relevancy factors.” What are these mysterious factors? Presumably they amount to various facets of your campaign matching the user’s search intent. Basic relevancy stuff (at least, basic if you’ve been around the search game awhile).

They aren’t fully defined or disclosed anywhere, but one thing’s fairly clear: reading the official FAQ’s can only take you so far. In-the-trenches experts tend to develop a feel for what works, and why. Some folks even take it the extra mile and try to reverse-engineer the whole contraption. To me, a lot of them take it about a mile too far. I think focusing too heavily on the “what” as opposed to the “why” will lead you down blind alleys. The “why” is how we make sense of things.

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Seattle Conference on Scalability 2008

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Survey says: love at first ping

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February 14, 2008

Death of SEO Transparency

Scratching deeper into my little foxhole of the search engine marketing pie, I’ve noticed a trend among true experts – if you want to be over-the-top successful, keep your mouth shut! This trend is not without exception, so for what is sure to be statistically insignificant, please take a moment to participate in the SEO Transparency Poll.

There’s a problem in the search industry: SEO noise pollution! What was once a tight community of enthusiastic pioneers has fizzled into a sea of mediocrity. However, this isn’t just another Sphinn-bashing post. Beyond the Sphinn car salesmen pitching the next “12 Ways to Not be a Complete Idiot Online,” there is an overabundance of forums, blogs, magazines, conferences, podcasts and books providing insight into elusive “SEO secrets.”

With so many information sources and “experts” there’s a flavor for every competent and incompetent search marketer. I don’t blame the industry for the shifting baseline of SEO fame. On the contrary, it’s only natural that as the industry was accepted as a mainstream marketing strategy that it would see the flood gates open to opportunists. I should clarify that in my mind opportunists of early SEO days were in fact highly intelligent, driven individuals that deserve the utmost respect for breaking the mold. The new generation of opportunists are leeches, sucking on the hard work and lifeblood of others.
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