If you are at all involved in web marketing or follow a single online technology source then you have heard a million comments and discussions about the sting Google used to prove Bing is copying some of its search results: here is the original press release from Google with their evidence. (Just here to vote? Vote here)

The following quote summarizes the Google opinion on how Microsoft did it and the result:

As we see it, this experiment confirms our suspicion that Bing is using some combination of:

or possibly some other means to send data to Bing on what people search for on Google and the Google search results they click. Those results from Google are then more likely to show up on Bing. Put another way, some Bing results increasingly look like an incomplete, stale version of Google results—a cheap imitation.

What came of this very public wedgy from Google was, inevitably, a shit storm of enjoyable proportions between the two competitors. Here are some of the highlights along with some of my own thoughts on the matter:

Bing denies the copying allegations:

We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting.

We do look at anonymous click stream data as one of more than a thousand inputs into our ranking algorithm. We learn from our customers as they traverse the web, a common practice in helping to improve a wide array of online services. We have been clear about this for a couple of years (see Directions on Microsoft report, June 15, 2009).

Not only does Bing deny the allegations but Google’s hypocritical stance allows Bing’s Yusef  Mehdi (SVP of Online Services) to take a righteous stab at Google and draw blood: Read more…

The logo for Victoria, BC's Camosun CollegeDo you want to learn how to do SEO yourself? For the second time I am teaching an eighteen hour, 6 night course at Camosun College on SEO over the month of February and I need just one more signup for this course to proceed.

The cut-off for signups is 12 noon tomorrow! (Jan 27th.)

Too Late or Can’t Make It?: if you find this after the cut-off date please contact me and I will put you on a list to let you know when the next course comes up.

More information on the course follows: Read more…

Photo of Matt Cutts - head of web spam prevention at GoogleGoogle’s Matt Cutts recently announced enhancements to its spam reduction methods that have already taken place and are impacting search engine results.

NOTE: First I will recount some of what he said but if you want to get to the meat of it all skip below to “So What Does this Mean for Your Website?”.

And now, without further adieu let us start with a snapshot on the gravy Matt Cutt’s dished:

… we recently launched a redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly. The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments.

This is great news for many of us but there is a wide swath of decent businesses with legitimate products and services who have top rankings partly due to overly optimized content; in many cases they were forced to use the techniques competitors were winning with. It is these businesses that could feel the wrath of this update along with the additional updates to come in 2011 according to Matt Cutts: Read more…

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Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Google CEO Eric Schmidt Steps Down

From left: Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, and Sergey BrinJust 31 minutes ago Google CEO Eric Schmidt posted that he will be stepping down as CEO on April 4th, 2011 in favour of giving Larry Page the reins. This news came in conjunction with positive fourth quarter 2010 financial results released at the same time: “Google reported revenues of $8.44 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, representing a 26% increase over fourth quarter 2009 revenues of $6.67 billion” (4th quarter results).

Here is the pertinent quote from his news release:

Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google’s Chief Executive Officer. In this new role I know he will merge Google’s technology and business vision brilliantly. I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better! Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead.

Read more…

Anyone who has seen one of my presentations knows that I am a die-hard MindJet Mindmanager user… in fact, I favour it over PowerPoint by far.

Some of my audiences have even requested more information on the product I use. Well, today, something special showed up in my mailbox… a 25% discount on all purchases at MindJet from November 29th to December 3rd, 2010. I immediately used the discount to upgrade from Mindmanager 8 to version 9 :-)

25% off at MindJet.com

Click here for the discount: http://bit.ly/mindjetm

Here is a powerful video on YouTube which shows the blinding growth of social media and it states, without a doubt, social media is here to stay while providing glimpses of the future where social media will dictate everything we see online:

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Link to original video

Some great takeaway stats: Read more…

In the course of my day at StepForth I come across a ton of interesting stuff which I Tweet, Facebook, Stumble etc. on a regular basis. That said, the following are two pieces of media which I simply could not pass up sharing with you.

#1: Video: “A Life on Facebook”

This video was created by Maxime Léure and it is so brilliant I think it deserves Emmy consideration. What do you think?

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Here is a direct link to “A Life on FacebookRead more…

The writing has been in the sand for a while now but today Google rolled out a truly game-changing format for local search results. By totally eliminating the Onebox and removing most non-Google maps results from the first page, Google has made it more important than ever before to have a strong Google Places profile.

Onebox – Huh?: In case you are unfamiliar with all this hoopla you should know what local search results looked like before the transition. In this older Google search results screenshot you can see the Onebox in it’s original glory with 10 local business listings aligned directly next to a Google map of the related area. When the original Onebox was released it caused a major stir because it pushed down organic search results which would have normally been the first results seen on the page; a lucrative spot which was now gone due to this changeover. The next major change came when Google reduced the local results to 7 instead of 10, made each listing double-lined, and allowed business owners to purchase a Google Places Tag which enhanced listings in search results for $25 per month. Up until this point the local search results were considered a lucrative place to be for local-targeting businesses but no where near as lucrative as it will be as of today. Read more…

In my preparation for a search engine optimization (SEO) course I am teaching at a local college (Camosun College) I came across this awesome video by Google’s Matt Cutts. This video does the best job I have seen yet of explaining how Google works and, I think, it may even displace some misconceptions I run into every day when talking to prospective clients. So, if you are curious about search engine optimization or you just want to see your BFF, Matt Cutts, in a very slick video you can watch it below!

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Source: How Search Works by Matt Cutts

I found this on the Google Corporate Information Page where other great videos are as well.

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Enough with the “SEO is Dead” Crap

My pet peeves related to the SEO industry change on a regular basis but right now it is definitely the “SEO is Dead” headline… it is overused, totally unimaginative, and always wrong. Yet here I have to use it… at least it is to spurn it defiantly!! Sure, search engine optimization (SEO) changes, there is no doubt about that, but it is not dead and won’t be for a very very long time. If you think it is, I would love to hear an argument for why your website no longer needs to provide a clear picture of keyword relevance to search engines.

Anyone Saying “SEO is Dead” Doesn’t Understand What SEO Is

First, for the sake of choosing a neutral starting point let’s look at the parts of Wikipedia’s definition of SEO that relates to this discussion:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. … Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.

Based on that definition, what has changed? No matter what happens, every website owner who values search engine traffic will yearn to be more visible. Read more…

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