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…

The logo for Victoria, BC's Camosun College with a link to its websiteVictoria SEO specialist, Ross Dunn ( CEO of StepForth Web Marketing Inc.  ) will be teaching two web marketing courses at Victoria’s Camosun College Interurban campus this February and March. The first course in February is focused on teaching business owners how to improve their search engine rankings under local search results. The second course in March will delve into the world of advanced search engine optimization (SEO) and is designed for web marketers with prior experience in search engine optimization (SEO).

For more details please see the content below and sign up information from the Camosun College Continuing Education website (link: computer training courses). Read more…

On Thursday, Jan 21st, Google will be releasing its fourth-quarter earnings and stockholders are likely to be very happy with the results. That said, what will happen in 2010?

Google’s 4th Quarter Results Expected to be Great

In this Reuters article Kaufman Brothers analyst Aaron Kessler is quoted as saying, “the unofficial ‘whisper’ numbers among investors have Google’s fourth-quarter net revenue growing between 13 percent and 15 percent from the third quarter’s $4.38 billion.”

So just how well is Google doing in comparison to the markets? Read more…

Google is changing, and becoming far more effective than ever before. With personal and universal search we have seen results and information more relevant to our searches. Now with the relatively new real-time search, we are starting to see just how it can have a positive impact on results, and also give us more reason to trust in social media. Read more…

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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!

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How does Google determine which real-time results will appear? They have to filter through an unimaginable volume of information and make a decision in mere seconds. This is a billion dollar question that will be on the minds of search marketers around the globe. Indeed, the question was so on the minds of marketers that in less-than-subtle ways the question was probed throughout the conference yesterday.

As expected the Google representatives at the Search Event 2009 press conference easily danced around related questions but there were a few nuggets worth taking away and mentioning. Essentially Google has applied a new form of algorithmic indicator that Marissa Mayer subtly called an Update Rank.

Here is exactly what she said about real-time data:

“… authoritativeness exists there as well and there are signals there that indicate it. So for example, retweets and replies and the structure of how the people in that ecosystem relate to each other. You can actually use some of our learnings from PageRank in order to develop a, say, a Updates Rank, or an Updater Rank for the specific people who are posting. So this is something we are beginning to experiment with but it is interesting to see that same parallel where PageRank looks at links you can actually look at the very mechanisms inside of these update streams and sense the authoritativeness the same way.”

So based on Marissa’s words and the other take-aways from the conference here is my first draft on what real-time results are based on: Read more…

Search Event 2009 on December 7 was the day that Real Time Search was unveiled at GoogleYesterday Google unveiled real-time search which has brought with it a great many new marketing techniques and possibilities for web traffic. Want to learn more? Here is how to see real-time search in action and a few important questions and answers to follow it up.

#1) What is Real-Time Search?

Real time search is a type of search query that can be done on Google (and other real-time search sites) that provides the latest discussions/news from all over the Internet based on the query.

Real-time search has come about as a result of the often useful real-time news that is available within social networking feeds from sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.  When all of these real-time social networking sites started there were very few people that believed they would go anywhere (who would have the time after all?!); and you can count me as one of them at the beginning. That said, disbelievers were proven wrong and sites like Twitter have become popular world wide. Twitter, in fact, has made multiple world headlines as a platform for national protests (i.e. Moldova’s Twitter Revolution“) and has often broken news far before the mainstream media reported it. What was worse (to Google anyway) was this timely (valuable) news was often nowhere to be found within search results because Google was not indexing news that quickly.  Well Google was going to have none of that and they spent a long time creating a whole new set of algorithms and systems to filter real-time results while providing them within seconds of being posted online. Yesterday, Google announced that  we will start seeing real-time search appearing in search results within the next few days across all English-speaking portals of Google.

Below is an example of how the results look in regular (organic/natural) Top 10 search rankings. Read more…

Yes, I am serious! Here is the website announcing the big Droid/Google advertising event on Black Friday. Here’s the deal:  just conduct a Google voice search by calling 888-376-4336 and your results will be displayed all over Times Square for all to see!

An image of the "Search Times Square" bulletin

Now how does this help your advertising? Well, think outside of the box… why not conduct a search that is guaranteed to show your company as #1 in the search results? Why not have that happen a few times? :-)  Seems to me like a cheap way to gain a lot of advertising. Of course, I have no idea how the searches will be presented but if they are being presented at all then it seems this would be a worthwhile experiment.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving today and a lucrative day of advertising on Black Friday :-D

An image of the countdown to Droid taking over Times Square

Thanks to TechCrunch for filling me on in this wonderful opportunity

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