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…

With the recent deal made between Bing and Yahoo one must ask them selves, what impact will this have on my search rankings. In this case, it may have a significant impact – at least eventually.

Let’s assume that all legalities are settled, and everything goes ahead as planned. What we will eventually see is a full transition of Bing results displayed when one does a search over at Yahoo. This will have the effect of there only being two major search engines out there, Google and Bing. Yahoo algorithm based results as we know them will cease to exist (at least on the organic level). Read more…

This morning Yahoo gave up the ghost on search and signed a 10 year deal adopting Microsoft’s Bing search platform as its primary search technology. In the agreement, Microsoft will be the leading search provider for all of Yahoo’s search properties (over 100 sites) while Yahoo focuses on surviving… err I meant, “allowing Yahoo to focus on what we do best, and that is to be the center of peoples’ lives online” (Yahoo CEO, Carol Bartz).

The following is Carol Bartz’s speech (note: this link and image on this page opens a windows media file) with several key sections bolded for your convenience: Read more…

Today AdAge reported that there is some big news expected from Yahoo and Microsoft tomorrow.

Yahoo and Bing are expected to tie the knot tomorrow - YaBING!The gossip has been here and there but AdAge has lent some credibility to it all – Yahoo is going to partner with Microsoft to use Bing as its main search engine. The look of Yahoo, in terms of branding, is not expected to change; after all this is not a buyout but a partnership.

For more information check out the AdAge article I sourced this news from and I look forward to giving you more to chew on tomorrow.

by Ross Dunn, CEO, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
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Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

A great analogy for SEO

SEO is like gardening. You plant the seeds and hope that you achieve a good harvest within a few months. If the conditions are just right, planting the seeds will bring you results without much trouble, just a little watering. If conditions are not right, you need to take extra steps such as adding extra fertilizer. If all your ducks, or seeds, are in a row you will get a great harvest. Read more…

Its been nearly 2 months since the launch of Microsoft’s highly advertised and anticipated Bing, and the market share figures for the first full calendar month since its launch are in. Microsoft is likely less than thrilled. Read more…

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Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Google Strips Beta Label!

It was bound to happen sooner or later – mind you I suspected it may be many decades away. The use of the “beta” label has been stripped from many of Google’s properties!

Gmail has been around now for just over 5 years (since April 1, 2004). Five years of beta, and at last we get a version that Google feels confident enough to call complete!

The official Google Blog posted earlier today that Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk are now officially out of beta! Some of these applications still have the beta label in place, but they will be removed sometime today.

What does this mean for the average user? Well – nothing really – just the confidence in knowing that Google is finally comfortable enough with some of their products that they can call them complete.

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Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day to all our American friends, clients, and readers!

We will be open, business as usual, on Friday July 3 & Monday July 6 for those of you not taking a long weekend.

From all of us at StepForth we wish all of you a safe and enjoyable holiday!

While doing some local search marketing for a client of mine last Friday I took a moment to watch the introductory video at the Google Local Business Center and I was impressed on how well it got the message across to viewers. As a result, I think it is a benefit to you to watch this if you are not already maximizing your Google Local account:

One critical element that this intro leaves out is Read more…

If you don’t know already it is very important to setup your local business listing on local and mainstream search engines. Well since Bing came out I thought I would go there and get StepForth’s listing. So I visited the Bing Local Listing Center and tried to add my company’s local listing but I ran into an annoying wall a little ways into the process that was a real let down; they didn’t bother to tell me that only the USA is supported at the moment.

January 30th, 2013 Update: Great news! You can now add your Canadian business easily and free to Bing Local via Nokia.

If you are in the USA the process to get your local listing is straight forward – at least as far as I got. Just go to the Bing Local Listing Center and log in with your Microsoft Passport (or create one) and if the system does not find a current listing it will allow you to create one. Well StepForth does not have one yet according to their system so I was directed to the listing local listing creation page. When I got to the creation page and began to fill out the submission form I was rebuffed by a big pet peeve of mine… the system knew I was Canadian (it is noted in the header of the page) and yet the only way to add a listing was to enter a State and Zip (see screenshot). Read more…