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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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Google Addresses Duplicate Content Myths

I just came across this excellent post at WebProNews that brought to my attention a new video posted by the Google  Search Quality Team. The video discusses duplicate content on Google and how it is managed. The best part is it once again highlights that Google does not penalize for duplicate content – it merely omits content that is redundant within specific searches. In fact, content that may be omitted on one search may be highly ranked in another search.

Anyway, it is worth viewing for anyone who may still be concerned and/or confused about how Google handles duplicate content:

YouTube Preview Image

Google made a minor change to its interface on Wednesday which is notable only because, well, it is Google. What did they do? Well they stretched the home page search box and increased the size of the font for the search box. Not much to report really but the Wall Street Journal decided it was worthy of a remark when they posted the story along with several “snarky” remarks from fellow search engine writers who were very underwhelmed by the whole update.

The one, tiny take away from this? The WSJ article noted that Softpedia’s Lucian Parfeni thinks the changes could have something to do with the increase in searches on smaller screens due to the rise in netbook usage. I think he is right on the money there and I will add that Google could be catering to the aging baby boomer population (cough… Eric Schmidt… cough) that is bound to be finding the larger text a bit more comfortable :-)

google-interface-update

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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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Monday, August 31st, 2009

Android Bruises Apple in China

On Friday the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Apple signed a lucrative deal in China with China Unicom to sell (what I call) a censored version of the iPhone (it has WiFi removed for “security reasons”). The Chinese FlagThe deal will herald an impressive increase in Apple’s phone share but what should not be missed is that Android somehow flew under the radar despite signing a similar deal with China Mobile; a company with 3 times the subscribers of China Unicom! Something tells me that Android is going to take a way larger piece of the mobile pie than its competitors thought… silly competitors. They should know that since Google is involved it is going to do well – more likely than not.

The HTC Dream (AKA. the Google Phone)From a personal perspective I have the Gphone (HTC Dream – one of a few Android phone styles) and I love it; the benefits of many free apps and excellent integration with Google makes it very appealing to me. From that perspective also consider that the success of Android will inherently improve Google’s foothold on search which means great things for any who have top search engine rankings on Google.

BONUS: for those that don’t like being told what they can or cannot do with their phone you might appreciate Android’s success because it is an open source OS which is very unlike the iPhone’s totalitarian OS.

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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)

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Monday, August 17th, 2009

Google Leads in Mobile Search

In today’s daily chart from the Silicon Insider we get to see how well the top search properties are doing on PCs in contrast to Mobile. It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that Google has the lead in Mobile just as it does on PCs. It was interesting to note, however, that Yahoo is farther behind Google on Mobile than on PCs despite its highly touted mobile portal and tools.

Search engine marketshare by PC and Mobile

It seems Google’s Caffeine update includes some significant alterations in their local search organic ranking algorithm.

I whipped up this screenshot side-by-side comparison for you to see the differences between the Caffeine Sandbox on the term “Vancouver car sales” and the current live Google results for the same term. Please note that if you click on the image you will be taken to a MUCH larger version without the mark-up so you can see the results more clearly. Read more…

On Monday Google did something out of character by announcing a pre-release viewing of a major update to their algorithm they nicknamed Caffeine:

For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. It’s the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions. The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we’re opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback.

The sandbox URL for the new update is http://www2.sandbox.google.com – Check it out and see if you notice any difference with your rankings. Please post any interesting findings as a comment on this article. Read more…