Yahoo! Firefox Toolbar, Google Investor Day, & Cold Calling

Yahoo! FireFox Toolbar:
released, reviewed by Danny Sullivan.

Wonder when Google will do the same, they are likely missing out on some amazingly valuable data by not having an official one.

Newsburst:
Cnet creates an online aggregator that will compete with Bloglines & Rojo

Brand Pyramid:
Good post about building products and services at various price points. Also, Rob Frankle on how CEOs screw up branding.

Google Investor Day:
was yesterday. slides and audio if your into that sort of stuff. some of the sides:

  • 60: their revenue was split nearly 50 / 50 between Google.com and their partner network.

  • 72: the top 20 markets have a 17.6% web penetration.
  • 73: shows 66% of revenue was domestic.

This guy thinks they will be worth a trillion dollars in 20 years.

In 20 years nobody will remember his prediction, but Battelle gave him a link yesterday and I gave him one today. Random arbitrary predictions are a good way to gain free links ;)

Atomz:
site search provider gets snarfed up by WebSideStory. More people should use the word snarf.

Google's Search Results are Crap?
Danny says people should not be so quick to discout the opinions of SEOs.

Hiring:
Ammon Johns is hiring.

Cold Calling:
is evil. Nick W has some tips on how to cold call. My personal goal when people cold call me is to ensure I drastically increase the likelihood they will have a bad day, and to hopefully lead to eventual attrition at their work place.

New Google Maps, Yahoo! & RackSpace, About.com for Sale

Feb 8th

Google Maps:
New version out. Danny Sullivan has more on the offering.

RackSpace:
May not play well with Yahoo!

About.com for Sale:
Bidding ends today. Price between $350 to $500 million. Bidders: Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, AOL & New York Times.

Yahoo! Launches Yahoo! Q

Feb 3rd
posted in

Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Q, which shows contextually relevant news and links in a small pop up box next to content.

"The thinking is that if you can read an article, you can be inspired to search," said Ken Norton, senior director of product management at Yahoo search. "We're bringing search to the moment of inspiration... We'll save them time and energy, and the most relevant search." source: MarketWatch

A couple weeks ago Jakob Neilson talked about using fat links (or smart links which offered multiple options or opened multiple windows when clicked). This is the first implimention of the concept I have seen by any major web players.

There are two major modes for Yahoo! Q:

  1. Webmasters can add the Yahoo! Q code to their pages... I will be doing that shortly just to test it out.

  2. Users can download the Yahoo! Q DemoBar or add extensions to FireFox.

Eventually Yahoo! may integrate ads into their Q boxes, but off the start they are primarily hoping to improve search usage. The fact that FireFox is part of the beta release means that Yahoo! is really starting to create products which the web community will help market for them.

I have not tested it much, but is sure sounds like cool stuff.

PostScript: I installed Yahoo! Q on all my individual post pages. It was easy to install, but I am kinda tired.

I few things I do not like about it...

  • the Yahoo! Search blog has not yet installed Yahoo! Q. What is up with that? ;)

  • It slightly messed up my template. Not sure if I am at fault or it is at fault.
  • It requires me to pop the form element up within the content tags when I would have prefered to have it lower...like near all the other search engine links. currently if I do that it might place too much weight on the post title
  • Since many of the highlights will be at the bottom of the screen it will require the user to scroll down to see the Q box. Perhaps they could find a way to ensure a large portion of it fits on the screen?
  • Jeremy stated that they are working on the clunkiness problem.

The technology is a fairly cool idea and should be amazingly useful for community driven sites.

Google Strong 4th Quarter, Yahoo! Japan Blogs, Australian SEM Conference

Google 4th Quarter:

Yahoo! Japan Blogs:
Yahoo Japan has beaten Yahoo to the blogosphere

Down Under:
Australian SEM Conference

DMOZ Post:
NickW finds Black Knight's what is wrong with DMOZ post ;)

New AdSense Feature, Yahoo! Video Search, Peter Norvig Talks Semantics & Spam

Jan 25th

New AdSense Beta Feature:
change to ads about feature allows you to switch the ads to a different topic. example here: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/health/hearing/

Video Killed the Search Star:
in your mind and in your car. search for Yahoo! videos wherever you are...

wonder what effect that will have on the porn industry?

here is a cool video of Jobs introducing the Mac (looted from ThreadWatch)

Paid By Google:
Ben Goodger, Lead Engineer Mozilla Firefox

Spam: an Issue of Semantics:
Peter Norvig discusses semantic web ontologies

Google AdSense Problems, Making Cheap Sites, Killing Comment Spam, Google Fiber Optics

Jan 17th

Google AdSense:
Some are questioning if & for how long it will make sense. Others are noticing some problems too.

For those Making MANY Sites:
Designing a Low Maintenance Website

Comment Spam:
Google to try to kill comment spam? ... of course even if they do people will still comment spam on the off chance that people do not impliment this.

Google Fiber Optic Network?
Google wants 'dark fiber'

Yahoo! Partners up with Verizon:
Yahoo, Verizon ink Web tie-in

Name a Book:
John Battelle is looking for a subtitle for his book.

Search Marketing UK Trade Organization...other stuff

Oct 22nd

SEMPO UK
no way Jose... Sick of the SEMPO antics, the brass of the UK SEO scene have made their own search marketing organization.
With the likes of Barry Lloyd, Ammon Johns, & Mike Grehan I am sure they will do well.

Spammer?
A White KnightTM is crowned

Yahoo!
buys Stata Labs who is the maker of Bloomba

GOOG
their stock is up a bit more on the day. Their market cap sits at 47.37B and Yahoo! is at 47.56B.

Yahoo! Link Renting: a Critical Look at Yahoo!

Yahoo! Renting Links
Yahoo! was recently renting / leasing / buying / otherwise acquiring some high PageRank keyword rich links from gasbuddy.com. Normally when large companies buy these types of ads they use tracking codes, but these ads were straight links which are analyzed by search engines. Was Yahoo! Buying PageRank? Was Yahoo! Trying to Manipulate Search Results
Only Yahoo! knows what their true intentions were with the links, but within 4 days of people mentioning the links in the SEW forums the links were dropped. If they were not buying the links to manipulate the search results then one would wonder why they were not using a tracking code.

The Yahoo! ad unit used keyword rich links. They pointed links at
http://autos.yahoo.com/ with "cars" as the anchor text
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/used_cars.html with "used cars" as the anchor text
http://autos.yahoo.com/new_cars.html with "new cars" as the anchor text &
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/kbb/ with "Kelley Blue Book" as the anchor text

What Did Yahoo!'s Ad Look Like
Their Gas Buddy ad unit looked like this:

Yahoo!'s Other Ads
Yahoo! Shopping is still renting other high PageRank links through the Internet.com network to boost their rankings for high margin consumer electronic items.


anchor text "cameras" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Digital%20Cameras:20148412


anchor text "laptops" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Laptops:20148417


anchor text "PDAs" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:PDAs:20148420

Yahoo!'s Problem with Link Renting
Yahoo! runs their own search engine which powers a ton of search worldwide. Not only are they renting links that manipulate Google's search results, but the links also manipulate the Yahoo! Search search results.

These links are essentially used to build keyword rich link popularity from powerful websites, which may fall under the following unacceptible practices:

  • Pages using methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking

  • Excessively cross-linking sites to inflate a site's apparent popularity

as set by the Yahoo! Search quality guidelines.

Recently someone at the SEW forums stated that Yahoo! told them the problem with their site is that they have too many links pointing at their site.

The Problem with Yahoo! Renting Links

Yahoo! manually edits their search results. If other people have too many links pointing at their sites it is a problem, but if Yahoo! does it then it is ok? why?

Yahoo! owns a valuable network. What they do with that network is up to them. When people search for information Yahoo! can throw whatever ads they want around the results, but the results themselves should not be internally tainted.

As an oracle of information an ethical question is raised when Yahoo! is paying people to edit their results and paying other people to manipulate those same results.

What Next?

If Yahoo! decided what they want to place in their search results how can I trust them? What happens when they personalize my search? Will that mean that I get biased crap promoting more Yahoo! stuff? Will I not be able to find the information I need?

There is a level of trust associated with search. If Yahoo! wants to manipulate Google search results that is fine. If they are going to do that then they should prevent those same pages from being indexed in their own search results.

Yahoo!'s pages rank in the top 5 of Yahoo! Search for "cars," "new cars," & "used cars." Interesting how those search terms match up with the links they were renting.

Yahoo! just shot themselves in the foot if they were hoping to catch Google in search anytime soon.

Another Link Renting Problem
If you look at the Internet.com commerce partner network
http://www.jupitermedia.com/partners/
you will notice that it is a random collection of websites. The only thing preventing these links from being considered a "link farm" is that:

  • they are expensive

  • they are attached to a huge powerful network
  • and Jupiter Media is making a ton of money from them.

    Also, how can a company claim it

    provides unbiased research, analysis and advice, backed by proprietary data, to help companies profit from the impact of the Internet and emerging technologies on their business. source

    and yet sell keyword rich ad space:

    • to random sites

    • throughout its own parent company network
    • which manipulates search results?

New MSN Search Technology Trial, New MSN Search Format

Wow, July is already here...

New Look MSN
MSN launched their new look MSN search engine results page. Now they clearly separate ads and organic listings.

How Other Search Engines Look
Google has always done this and Yahoo! started testing mid June and will release the new look soon. This leaves one to Ask Jeeves when they intend to dump the 10 ad blended serp technique.

While Asking Jeeves...
MicroSoft has not publicly stated any great interest, but

Ask Jeeves President Steve Berkowitz suggested he might be open to deal if it was in the interests of the company's shareholders, although he did not comment directly on any offers coming from Microsoft. - source

New MSN Search Features
In addition MSN has added a drop down box to allow people to search for specific things such as movies or news. Elsewhere MSN added its search technology preview to the MSN sandbox.

Paid Inclusion is Garbage

MSN also decided to filter out their paid inclusion search results. (time to edit my ebook again) "We really we want customers to feel the best about the results being served," MSN's Grothaus said.

Google"It's hard to be sure that the end result of the algorithm would be the same and that everyone is being treated fairly," Google's Silverstein said of allowing paid inclusion.

Ask Jeeves"We will continue to get better at crawling," said Jim Lanzone, vice president of product management at Ask Jeeves. "The value proposition of Site Submit has ceased to exist."

More Paid Inclusion is Garbage / Bad Press for Yahoo!
Recently a person I consulted in the past had some of their Yahoo! listings disappear overnight (and from my talking to many other SEOs this is becoming somewhat common). After paying for inclusion into Overture Site Match, my friend's site still does not show up for terms he has shown up for ever since the inception of Yahoo! Search.

He sent them a request question and they gave him a complete crap form letter response that suggested he visit WebmasterWorld to learn more about SEO.

There horrific customer service and near complete disapproval toward the program from SEOs and webmasters has Yahoo! considering dumping or changing the program. (or at least that is what credible sources say)

While I am Picking on Yahoo!
Does anyone know what this is?
RENAMEDBYADMWHILEHIDDENTOALLOWDUPLICATEACCELERATORS

Yahoo! Search Engine Optimization Tips

Apr 17th

Recently Mike Grehan interviewed Jon Glick, who is Yahoo!'s Senior Manager for Web Search. You can read all the good Yahoo! Search stuff (note to self: stuff is a generic word to use in anchor text) in it, or look at my synopsis below. Yahoo! Search
How was Yahoo! Search Made?

The goal in creating Yahoo! search technology was not, you know, let's take a piece here a piece there...AllTheWeb was very, very good at was rebuilding indexes and keeping very high levels of freshness...Alta Vista had a really good core technology called MLR (machine learn ranking).

The best of breed parts of those engines were included with some of the best parts of Inktomi to make the new Yahoo! Search.

Meta Keywords
How is Yahoo! Search using the meta keywords tag?

Each keyword is an individual token separated by commas...For best practice you just need to remember it's for matching - not ranking...‘laptop computers’ will count for ‘laptop computers’ and not ‘laptop’ or ‘computers’ separately.

Essentially this is a good place for synonyms & misspellings (I tend to have some of them in my copy anyway)...Each keyword phrase is unique and separated by commas, so you will not have set off a flag for laptops if you use a meta tag such as
<meta name="keywords" content="Yahoo! laptops, computer laptops, compaqt laptops, compak laptops">

but you will also want to get words such as "lap tops" and "compaqt lap tops" in your meta tags. Each version helps to get your file included in that specific subset of search results, but has no influence on rankings.

Meta Description
How does Yahoo! Search use the meta description tag>

Yes we do use meta keywords. So let me touch on meta tags real fast. We index the meta description tag. It counts similar to body text.

Page Title Tag
How should I write my page title tag?

The title tag? My biggest recommendation is write that for users! Because that's the one real piece of editorial in the search listing that you can absolutely control...We typically show, roughly 60 characters. That's the maximum we'd show. I'm not a professional copywriter, so I can't tell you "is short and punchy better than lots of information..."

Affiliate Marketing
Why does Yahoo! hate affiliate marketers?

Well let me just say first that, in that sense Spam has gotten a lot better over the years. You don't really much have people trying to appear for off topic terms as they tended to. You now have people who are trying to be very relevant. They're trying to offer a service, but the issue with affiliate Spam is that they're trying to offer the same service as three hundred other people.

They also touch on Site Match, search personalization, SPAM, linkage data and other hot search topics...also linked to this visual thesaurus tool at the end of their eMarketing News newsletter.

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