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

The SEO 101 logo from WebmasterRadio.FM - click to see the show archivesHello everyone, this post is a quick overview of the stories of interest in the realm of search engines and related news over the past few days. I am sorry I can’t provide more detail on each of these items; really they could be stories unto themselves. The fact is, StepForth has never been busier so we have had absolutely no time to write. I will, however, endeavour to write an article or two over the next couple of weeks. Perhaps someday we will even send out a new issue of our web marketing newsletter ;-) In the meantime, I and my co-host John Carcutt discuss SEO every Monday on SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM (it airs 5pm EST, 2pm PST) so tune in!!

Anyway, enough with the chatter, here are 4 of the most interesting news headlines spotted today:

Google’s Plan to Increase Ad-Serving Quality Now Includes Teracent

Teracent LogoGoogle has set the bar for online success by giving everything away (Gmail, Android, GAnalytics, GDocs, GApps, GMaps, etc.) but still making a financial killing; all due to brilliant pay-per-click ad-serving technology. With that in mind, you can now take for granted that Google is going to do all it takes to keep on the cutting edge of online advertising technology and maintain its lucrative bottom line. Which takes us to it’s recent purchase of Teracent, a company that has created a machine-learning technology that will increase the flexibility of Google’s ad-serving platform to allow previously unheard-of targeted & advertising online; for desktops and the growing mobile marketplace. Want to learn more about Teracent’s purchase? Here are some great links: Read more…

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Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Yahoo’s Search Share is Tanking!

This Silicon Alley Insider Chart based on the latest Comscore U.S. search engine market share results says it all… Yahoo is on its way out as a search leader and none too gracefully. If I were a Yahoo executive it would hurt to see this no matter what future plans they had for Bing to take over. Scary stuff!

Yahoo's search engine market share is tanking!

A Photo of Dr. Ralph Wilson of Web Marketing Today and Wilson Web

Dr. Ralph Wilson

Web Marketing Today, one of the oldest and most respected marketing sites in the world just turned 15 years old!!

My friend and mentor Dr. Ralph Wilson started Web Marketing Today back in 1995 (at the time known as Wilson Web) after discovering that his website design clients needed help navigating the world of web marketing.

To this day Web Marketing Today has published countless thousands of posts helping small business owners, and experts alike, to understand what it takes to succeed on the Internet.

The Web Marketing Today banner Read more…

Synopsis: If your website is suffering from some dropped rankings on Google consider checking the geographic targeting in your Google Webmaster Tools site settings and read up on how to make the right selection (or not at all).

A screenshot of the Geographic Target setting in Google Webmaster Tools. In this case it is set to be saved for the USA

Did you know that changing your geographic target in your GWT site settings can have an impact on your rankings? The impact can be positive in one regard and negative in the other: Read more…

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…

Just an hour ago comScore released the U.S. search engine rankings for September. Without further adieu here is the lowdown on the search engine wars:

September 2009 U.S. Search Engine Rankings by comScore

* Based on the five major search engines including partner searches and cross-channel searches. Searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines are not included in the core search numbers.

Americans conducted 13.8 billion searches in September, down 1 percent from August (which had one additional day compared to September). Google Sites accounted for 9 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! Sites (2.6 billion), Microsoft Sites (1.3 billion), Ask Network (541 million) and AOL LLC (416 million).

(Source:  comScore Report)

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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…