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…

google-base-now-merchantThis Monday Google launched a new face for Google Base called Google Merchant Center which allows ecommerce businesses to upload product feeds to Google so individual products are searchable via Google Product Search (once known as Froogle).

I am not sure what drove the reasoning behind this transition but the new name definitely makes more sense to the average user. Google also removed the “beta” element of the Google Base logo which is another indication that Google Merchant Center is the polished edition of Google Base.

Here are the benefits of Google Merchant Center as noted on the brand spanking new home page:

google-merchant-center-benefitsAs far as I know there is no change in terms of the benefits offered using this service over Google Base except that Google claims it “should” be easier to use. That said, I don’t claim to be a Google Base expert by any means. If you have any input on this please feel free to comment and inform your fellow readers.

Is Google Base beta Completely Gone? No, Google has stated that there are still users that need to upload non-product data who will be using Google Base for now as it has some facilities that Google Merchant Center does not currently have. To quote Google’s blog post on the subject:

Google Base is still available for other types of structured content, but the Merchant Center provides a better, optimized experience specifically for product listings. The Merchant Center is where we’ll continue adding features and improving the tools for uploading and managing product listings.

That said, I expect Google Base will be phased out as soon as possible since the the new name “Google Merchant Center” does not preclude integrating the non-product submissions in the near future – and why bother having to maintain two merchant access points?

This Web Pro News video was taken at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose a few weeks ago and drives home some points about how to react to a perceived or actual Google penalty that I think are worth sharing to our audience. You can also see the full article on this subject that was the inspiration behind this video: How a Google Penalty Can Make Your Site Stronger.

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. ;-)

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