The social web is rapidly growing and Google is trying to tap into this massive industry with the launch of Friend Connect. Released in a limited preview, Friend Connect allows web site owners to incorporate a number of gadgets to their site in an effort to improve the overall user experience.

Friend Connect helps webmasters make their websites more appealing, engage users, and help increase the average time on site. Incorporating a number of available social features is made easy, and does not require any programming skills whatsoever.

Webmasters select from a list of Google and Member gadgets, choose their colors and other options, and then simply cut and paste the code directly to their site.

When your site visitors opt in to use Friend Connect within your site, when they enter a review, post photos, or interact with your gadgets, notices are posted within their friends various social media accounts which can attract them to visit your site.

Currently Friend Connect is available only in a preview release, with select sites being accepted. If you are interested in participating, fill out the application form and cross your fingers that Google will accept you.

Over the past few weeks I have received a few questions regarding my 3 part series on How to Optimize for Google. This post will answer a few of the questions I have received.


Do hyperlinked images count as back links? Which scores higher, text or image links?

Yes, Google does count hyperlinked images, however, to get the most out of imaged based links it is best to have relevant, preferably keyword-rich, alt text tagged onto the image.

As far as which scores higher, for the most part they are equal, assuming that the image has the appropriate alt text. In some cases a text based link may actually pass on a little more value if it is located within a highly relevant paragraph as an in-line link. Read more…

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Friday, April 25th, 2008

Yahoo's 1st Quarter of 2008

In the first quarter of 2008 earnings are up, employees are down, Microsoft started its attempts at a takeover, and Yahoo still found time to get into bed with Google (although the U.S. Justice Department is still out on that one).

(Note: this posting was originally aired in this week’s StepForth Weekly Newsletter)

First quarter earnings for Yahoo were higher than most experts had predicted. Sales rose by 9 percent to $1.8 billion, with an increase in net income by a sizable 282% to $542 million, compared with $142 Million for the same period in 2007. These profits were largely in thanks to Yahoo’s investment in the initial public offering of Alibaba.com which accounted for $401 million. Read more…

In Part 1 and Part 2 of How to Optimize for Google I discussed general website optimization, links, and Google webmaster tools. In Part 3 we will look at a number of other considerations which play a role in successful rankings in Google, and also touch on some tactics which are best avoided. Read more…

Optimizing for top Google rankings includes a number of factors. In Part 1 of 3 we discussed onsite optimization. In Part 2 we will touch on incoming links as well as using Google Webmaster Tools.

LINKS
Links are very important in today’s Google rankings, but just how many links you need will depend on both the competitiveness of your target phrases, and the quality of the incoming links themselves.

Essentially the number one rule of links is to keep it relevant! Topical relevance is very important in order for inbound links to give your site the most value. If the page that links to you is relevant that is good, if the entire site linking to you is relevant, that is better.

First to get an idea of how many links you may need, take a look at the top 10 ranking sites in Google and record how many links Yahoo is noting for each site. (This is because Google does not display anywhere near all the links they have noted). The average of this count is often a good indication of how many links your site may need. Read more…

In today’s online world search engine rankings can make your business succeed, and while rankings in Yahoo and MSN are very valuable, their combined market value is still less than that of Google. This makes achieving top rankings in Google that much more important.

In this three-part series on How to Optimize for Google we will touch on a number of important aspects for top Google rankings including website optimization, links, Google Webmaster tools, and a number of other considerations.

The focus of Part 1 will be with on page website optimization. If you have already read this, check out Part 2 and Part 3 of How to Optimize for Google Read more…

What would you do if you suddenly found your private residence plastered over Google Street View, along with photos of your yard, pool, and other private property? Well, this very thing has happened to Christine and Aaron Boring, and they have since filed a lawsuit against Google.

According to The Smoking Gun, when one of the vehicles shooting photos for the mapping service made a wrong turn up a 50 foot private driveway, it also continued snapping photos and those photos made it onto the live version of Google Street View.

Google spokesman Larry Yu told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “There is no merit to this action. It is unfortunate litigation was chosen to address the concern because we have visible tools, such as a You Tube video, to help people learn about imagery removal and an easy-to-use process to facilitate image removal.”

The Boring’s are seeking “in excess of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars for compensatory, incidental, and consequential damages, punitive damages, costs, all allowable attorneys’ fees, and all other damages deemed to be just,”

Another home owned by Janet and George McKee also found its way onto Google Street View. This series of photos is far more intrusive, as the vehicle had to drive up a long winding driveway to approach the house. No word yet on whether or not the McKee’s will also be filing suit. More info and photos on this instance can also be seen at The Smoking Gun.

The “Boring” photos have since been removed from Street View, however, the Mckee’s photos are apparently still listed. Searching Google Maps for the Boring’s Address (1567 Oakridge Lane, Pittsburgh, PA 15237), and doing a fair bit of scrolling to the West, you will eventually find their photos have been blacked out and removed from Google.

As posted at Yodel Anecdotal, Yahoo has developed and launched a new website targeted at women. Unveiled on Monday, Yahoo! Shine “features the best writers and bloggers in women’s publishing”. It helps “connect like-minded women, share stories, and more”.

Shines editorial team features editors from Lucky, Jane, and the Wall Street Journal. They created Shine to appeal to a large demographic of women and give them a “smart, dynamic place for women to gather, get info, and connect with each other”. Read more…

Google Docs logoIf you’ve been swayed away from your Microsoft Office products and are now a frequent user of Google Docs you may be interested to know that a select few users will now have offline access to their Google Docs files, as Google begins rolling out their offline editing access.


On Monday Google announced in the Official Google Docs Blog the upcoming functionality to their software. The big push came with requiring the ability to work on your documents when on an airplane, commuting to work, or when your home internet access goes down. Read more…

Earlier this month Google launched a new function which allows searchers to search deeper within existing authority search results.

When searchers enter a query for certain terms, typically brand names such as “best buy”, an additional search box appears next to the authority listing allowing for a deeper site search. This site search will then search the specified site for your next query. This feature has been available for some time using the Google Toolbar, or by entering the command ” site:domain.com”, but was only recently integrated into the actual search results.

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