Thanks to confirmation from a post today by Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Journal I can now state that what we are seeing at StepForth is not an aberration; there is a toolbar PageRank (PR) update happening.

What does this mean for you? Nothing, unless your site’s toolbar PR drops to zero for over a week and you see negative ranking fluctuations; then and only then should you consider your site may be in some hot water.  Read more…

Today, Matt Cutts posted a new Google Webmaster Video addressing (finally!) the issues surrounding the many changes in long tail search engine results. Here is the video:

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To recap, the Mayday update (as most are calling it) was a purposeful and permanent shift in how Google determines which sites should be ranked under long tail searches (i.e. short tail = “victoria bc hotel“, and long tail = “victoria bc pet friendly hotel“). According to Matt, the changes are not based on specific offending websites but a quality enhancement to the entire Google algorithm with the most affect being on long tail rankings. Read more…

The Google Places LogoDo you have a suggestion for Google on how to improve Google Places (once called Google Local Business Center)? If you do, then Google is asking for your suggestions and I suggest we all take advantage of this rare opportunity.

Read more…

The PubSubHubbub (PuSH) logo by Google If you have a blog or a website with a RSS (real simple syndication) feed and you haven’t heard of the new PuSH protocol then I have a treat for you. A little while back, Google announced a new open source protocol quirkily called PubSubHubbub, or PuSH for short. In Google’s own words PuSH is “a simple, open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol as an extension to Atom and RSS.”

And now, without further adieu, here it is in English:
Read more…

On the 24th of March I was in Vancouver doing some pro-bono work teaching a group of charities and non-profit organizations some of the ins-and-outs of effective web site marketing. Well, a little ways into discussing how to boost Google local search engine results I was asked by a participant how her charity can be on Google Local without showing her address. I was stumped! The only way I knew how to do that was through a PO Box which I did not recommend and the out-of-the-question methods commonly used by spammers. Well, in a wonderful occurrence of synchronicity, thanks to Matt McGee’s post that day on Search Engine Land I discovered later that Google had just added that very capability to a raft of Google Local Business Center accounts; allowing business owners to hide their address (among other enhancements).
Read more…

When I was at SMX West 2010 in Santa Clara a couple of weeks ago, I attended a session called Technical SEO. One of the speakers was Maile Ohye (one of the best Google speakers in my opinion)  who showed a very cool comparison of the various URL structures that can be used for multi-regional sites. Maile also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using a country code top level domain (ccTLD = .ca, .co.uk, etc.) or a global top level domain (gTLD = .com, .net, .org, etc.) for multi-region websites.

Anyway, Maile mentioned the URL structure comparison chart from her presentation would be available online soon and here it is reposted in along with other great information by John Mueller. This should be very handy as a reminder for anyone planning their multi-region web marketing. Note that I quickly whipped up a slightly easier to read & print PDF version of the table shown in the article. Read more…

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Yahoo and Twitter Go the Distance

It is all over the airwaves, er ‘netwaves’… Yahoo has signed a deal with Twitter to create a relationship that rivals any other search engine’s connection to the tweeting platform. I am short on time so here are some excerpts from the very unpunny Yahoo release titled “@yahoo + @twitter Sitting in a Tree…T.W.E.E.T.I.N.G.“: Read more…

I am in the midst of a project at the moment and I got distracted by a couple of interesting articles from Google that, I expect, are well worth the read for many of you:

25 Google Website Optimizer Tips for Better Product Pages

Segmentation with Google Website Optimizer = Testing on Steroids! Not all customers are created equal, nor should you deal with all customers equally. Testing different versions of your page or funnel is powerful. Testing different versions based on the type of visitors is even more powerful. There are different ways of doing this, but we recommend starting with BTBuckets or with these instructions.

5 Buzz Tips

Mute posts so they don’t get sent to your inbox. Comments on your posts and comments after your comments send buzz directly to your inbox. If you don’t want a lively conversation to keep appearing in your inbox as people reply to it, you can mute it. Click the arrow in the corner of a buzz post and select “Mute this post.”

Just a couple things to keep you reading…

According to breaking news from the Wall Street Journal, Google will be resuming talks with China after the Chinese New Year holiday over the future of the company’s search engine in the heavily censored country.

Why is Google Considering Leaving? A Basic Timeline of Events

If you have missed the boat on this story then here is an timeline overview:

1) 2005: Google opens in China and censors its content heavily to ‘respect’ the Chinese legal system. Many scuffles over free speech occured over the next few years but  Google ultimately buckled to Chinese law. (more on Google China at Wikipedia)

2) Mid-December 2009, Google gets hacked by cyber-terrorists and after some research, deduces that China was the source of the attack.

Here are some excerpts from  Google’s extensive media release about the cyber attacks:
Read more…

On February 14th, Danny Sullivan posted a frustrated Buzz about Google Buzz that lured me into making a few comments. Well, low and behold, but a man by the name of Josh Wills who is involved behind the scenes in Google Buzz jumped into the fray and listened. Yes, listened! I was so impressed, I thought I would share with you the conversation.

To set the tone, this all started when Danny Sullivan shared his frustration about how badly the reply system is designed within Google Buzz and that spawned a bit of a hackfest from other frustrated users.

Ross Dunn – Yes the whole thing is a confusing mess. I just don’t get what is going wrong over at Google. Have they lost perspective entirely? I am very disappointed; I actually had high hopes for them. I guess I have been taking it for granted that their products are well thought out. I won’t make that mistake again…

Josh Wills – @Alex is right, there is alot to fix. @Ross, I am sorry you’re disappointed.

Josh went on to discuss spam issues on Buzz. I will just show you the parts where we interacted from here on in. Read more…