To commemorate National Tree Week, which has been celebrated since 1974 and lasts from November 22nd to December 3rd, Litegreen.com will plant a tree for every new registration on their website. After that week they will plant a tree for every 50 british pounds spent on their website.

Litegreen.com is a search engine that provides content from vetted environmentally and human rights-conscious businesses. Here is their official description: Read more…

Part of my job of keeping up on the latest SEO news and tactics is to venture where I think no self-respecting webmaster should go… the black hat SEO news world. Fortunately, these occasional glimpses of the dark side are very interesting. For example, one of the more popular websites in the black hat industry, SEO Black Hat, recently noted that in a single weekend Google had managed to clear out much of the offensive adult content found in top 10 organic results; searches had to be conducted using a single adult word (use your imagination). The result? You and I may like this impressive cleanup but the adult webmaster forums were abuzz with dropped rankings across the Google board and supposition ran wild.

What does this mean to you and me, the webmasters that care nothing about the adult marketplace? Well here is the data that I found most interesting. According to the research conducted at SEO Black Hat, many of the adult websites that were dropped from single phrase searches actually lost little or no traffic. In fact, some of them increased traffic! Read more…

Two excellent questions are answered in this article:

A.) Which steps should I follow when optimizing my dynamic website?

B.) Can you maintain the integrity of my design while implementing SEO?

QUESTION A) Which steps should I follow when optimizing my dynamic website? – Chriz R. Read more…

Question: There are a number of wire services (like PRweb) for submitting
press articles to online news feeds. Is it recommended to use a few of them
for article submission or am I running the risk of having my article
submitted to any particular distribution partner more than once. Is there
any advice you can give me regarding which services distribute to which
distribution partners and how to select which ones to use. – Frank O. Read more…

This was Google's holiday logo in 1999
In a bid that is sure to raise the interests of many e-tailers, Google has announced that it will be providing free merchant services for the holiday season. Say what?! Yes, FREE.

For those of you who are not familiar with transacting online suffice it to say that this promotion could save participating e-tailers hundreds if not thousands of dollars this holiday season. Read more…

A new shopping search engine has brought to the public a technology that has been used mostly in movies and the offices of law enforcement – visual recognition. The new search engine, Like.com employs their “Likeness Technology™ to create a digital signature that describes the photo’s contents and enables a more accurate search for similar looking items and products,” says the About Us page on Like.com. Read more…

This is a heads up for my readers and clientele that MSN search applied an update that has significantly affected rankings. The client results we have reviewed so far have all done well by this update but we are continuing to review. So far it appears that MSN is still following the basic principles of good SEO but I have noticed the following elements appear important: Read more…

Clickriver Beta
Search engine company A9, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com has launched a secure beta called Clickriver which allows advertisers to launch pay-per-click campaigns on Amazon.com. The service is currently in Beta and for the moment is only offered to pre-screened applicants – apply here.

Advertisers will be able to promote their wares “on search results pages and on many product detail pages” according to Clickriver’s FAQ. Opening Amazon to the PPC marketplace has some impressive implications considering the millions of consumers that Amazon caters to. For example, advertisers will now be able to advertise next to products that are currently being reviewed for purchase; a qualifier that will undoubtedly heighten the interest of cutting-edge advertisers. Simply put, the cross-promotional potential of this new offering is huge.

If you happen to get in on the beta I would love to get your opinion on this new service. Just drop me a note via ross@stepforth.com or post a comment.

Special thanks to John Battelle and ResourceShelf for cluing me in on this excellent new offering.

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Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

Yahoo! Launches Yahoo! Food

Today Yahoo! announced the launch of Yahoo! Food, a site focused entirely on content from foodies and other culinary household names. In my opinion Yahoo! Food is a smart move and I look forward to seeing how it affects Yahoo!’s bottom line. After all, I don’t know about you but I know many people watch the Food network on a daily basis (including me) and I expect that a site run by Yahoo will offer yet another great resource for foodies.

When Deanna Brown, General Manager of Yahoo!’s Lifestyles was asked on MarketWatch how Yahoo! Food will compete against other food resources like the Food Network and Bon Appetit she had this to say,”I think it is the ease of use and the compelling design, kind of the comprehensive all in one destination.” She finishes by emphasizing the personalization that Yahoo! Food allows; (the site becomes) “your property… and keeps you in touch with what you are looking for.” – source MarketWatch blog.

Finally consider the marketing benefits of business owners who need to promote their cooking wares or resources (books, online directories, etc.); this addition to the Yahoo! Search Marketing network will prove a tasty one indeed.

Kudos to Yahoo, they are definitely trying hard to increase their bottom line. After announcing their 3rd quarter financial results on October 17th, Yahoo! definitely needs all the help they can get.

The following question was sent in using StepForth’s SEO question submission form . If you have a question that you don’t mind being answered publicly please send it in and we might just use it in our next SEO newsletter.

QUESTION: “When do inbound links dictate ranking?”

“We have been told by an SEO consultant that, once the number of inbound links becomes significant, this rather than any SEO optimisation of the site itself dictates ranking for search terms. How true? If so, it implies that, to make any changes in rankings and search terms, we need to devote effort to links and link text from appropriate sites (authority etc). It implies time spent on adjusting title tags, keyword density etc, is fruitless.” Paul C. Read more…