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Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Microsoft adCenter – A Little Beef

It is not rare for me to come across issues when working with PPC platforms that really bug me, but usually I just keep to my self.

There is one design flaw in particular at Microsoft adCenter however, that I felt I wanted to beef about briefly in hopes that someone at Microsoft is listening. It has to do with the calendar/custom date range selection, and two key points about it. I must say, that for the worlds leading software company, the lack of user-friendliness and functionality surprises me. Read more…

This time of year, there are often few big stories to report on, but that does not mean there isn’t some interesting search engine news happening out in the world!

It seems that there is no escaping the legal system for any of our leading search engines these days as all three, Google, Yahoo, and MSN, are the defendants in a few new cases: Read more…

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Happy Holidays from StepForth

Happy Holidays to all our friends, clients, colleagues, family, and everyone we know!

In order to spend some quality time with our families this holiday season, StepForth will be closed on Thursday Dec 24th, Friday Dec 25th, and Friday Jan 1st.

We want to wish a safe and happy holiday season to everyone.

Best wishes, and good luck in 2010!

sf-xmas-blog-2009

If your business either has a traditional brick and mortar store front, or your site can value by being associated with your location, then you can benefit from Geo Tags. If your location is irrelevant to your online success, then Geo Tags will be of little use to you.

Geo Tags are trivially easy to implement and they can help to improve your ranking results for searches specific to your area. This ultimately results in higher search rankings and increased targeted traffic to your site. Read more…

There are several billion images indexed in Google Images. Are yours there? If you’ve been wondering what it takes to get your images ranking, then this article is for you. Here are some tips to help you increase the exposure of your images, and with a little luck, have them appearing at the top of the regular web search results.

1. Image File Name
The first step towards having your images appear in image search is with the image file name. When naming images consider using a target word or phrase whenever it makes sense to do so. If you run a hotel, consider naming a photo of your building as “victoria-hotel.jpg”.

Use hyphens instead of underscores in file names. While these days underscores are supposedly being treated as word separators by Google, consider sticking with hyphens to play it safe. Read more…

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Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Google’s New Search Options

Earlier this year Google launched a side panel called “Search Options” which allows users to refine their search results. Yesterday they expanded the available options to include a number of new filters.

google-search-optionsNow when you perform a Google search, but clicking the “show options” link at the top left, you can filter your results with the following options:

Past Hour & Specific Date Range
This option will allow you to filter results based on a specific time period. Say you are researching some current events, by selecting the “past hour” you will remove any similar news stories from the past and be left with the freshest information at your fingertips. For instance, say you want information on the latest tsunami, a regular search for “tsunami” displays Wikipedia’s definition of the word, and some info of the 2004 disaster, but by clicking “past 24 hours” the search results are entirely related to the events of the past few days.

More Shopping Sites & Fewer Shopping Sites
This tool is handy whether you are doing market research for a product or looking to actually order it. By increasing the number of shopping sites displayed, you can more easily locate an online retailer to purchase from; decreasing will show you more review and informational websites. Read more…

This morning my daily routine was slightly interrupted. I logged into GTalk to say good morning to Ross, and all my contacts were mysteriously missing. I then checked my Gmail account, and all my contacts were gone there too (not surprising as the two are pretty much one in the same).

The first thing I did was put this out to the people of twitter, and I got a few responses that others are having the same issue.

So there we have it, Yet another Gmail outage… Hopefully it will be all up and running smoothly soon, this is a rather small inconvenience for me, but I imagine that there are vast numbers out there who are finding this to be a much more serious issue.

Will update this post as we learn more about what is going on.

Update  (10:10 PST):
Well wouldn’t you know it, literally moments after posting this story, all of my contacts had returned, and Gtalk and Gmail were functioning as normal.  It must have been my blog post that fixed it. ;-)

Okay, in all honestly, if you are actually in bed with the swine flu, you are probably better off sleeping, but if you are nurturing the tail end of a flu, or even just the common cold, you may be able and willing to get a few things done.

The other day I was feeling a bit under the weather, and for some reason got to thinking – what SEO work could be done from bed? Sometimes illness can wipe us out so all we can do is sleep the day away, but other times it is just bad enough that you wind up being stuck in bed, but lying awake bored.  I came up with a few tasks a sick site owner could work on while not requiring too much brain power.

This list is for those who want to be at their desk, but just can’t make it off their pillow. Laptop required. Read more…

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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Gmail Service Outage

Google spent much of the day today fighting problems over at Gmail, noting a service outage. As of the time of this writing Gmail was still down, and had been for several hours.

Gmail OutageOn their apps status dashboard they note that they expected a resolution for all users in the “near future”, followed by a note that this time frame was an estimate. What does an estimate of “near future” really mean? Does that mean that its possible that Gmail will still be down a week from now?

Its all pretty vague, and no word yet as to what has caused the outage. Apparently some users have had their access restored already, so it is expected that it wont be too long before services are fully restored for all.

PostScript: Only a few minutes after this posting, Gmail was back online for me (as of aproximately 2:30 PST). Is it still down for you? Please drop a comment and let us know.

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Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

New Look for Yahoo Homepage

Yahoo search may soon be just an extension of Bing – this is not a given as of yet, but something that is looking very likely. All that said Yahoo is also not giving up.

Yahoo has recently launched a new look. While not active on the home page just yet the look is available for a sneak preview at m.www.yahoo.com, and at a first glance, it does look a bit cleaner and slightly less cluttered.

yahoo-mouse-overWhile I have not yet had a chance to fully explore the new features offered through the new Yahoo home page, the integration of video is a nice addition (although be sure not to mouse-over the extra thumbnails, or your video will stop – this really should require a click not a mouse-over, but I suppose little glitches like this are why this main page is not fully operational just yet.)

If you are a techy and interested in learning just what went into creating the new Yahoo home page be sure to check out the following video. (here is a link to the video at Yahoo Video, but they don’t currently offer the option to embed the clip, so we have turned to, none other than, Google owned YouTube)