A study of search engines and search engine user habits found that in almost every instance, the results found at each of the five search engines studied were relativity similar to each other. The study was recently conducted by San Mateo market research firm Vividence and consisted of searches conducted by general search users on Google, Yahoo, MSN, Lycos and Ask Jeeves. Asked to find the answers to a series of questions designed to show how each engine performed and which engine produced the greatest user satisfaction, participants found the correct answer on one engine as frequently as they did on the others.

On the performance test, each engine fared equally well. On the user satisfaction test however, Google emerged as the clear winner with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 68% compared to 59 percent for Yahoo, 56 percent for Ask Jeeves, 53 percent for MSN and 48 percent for Lycos. According to the study, Google ranked high in user satisfaction for three main reasons, its strong brand name, the site’s uncluttered appearance, and the fact that paid advertising is clearly marked.

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

StepForth, (working quietly behind the scenes) is proud to be a part of the team that is introducing the world’s first accessible search engine for people with disabilities, YouSearched.Com. The search tool was developed by UK based philanthropist and entrepreneur Khalid Karrar, with technical assistance provided by StepForth CEO, Ross Dunn. Read more…

Google announced the development of a desktop based search tool that sounds an awful lot like the plans for Microsoft’s new operating system Longhorn. Due to be released in early-mid 2006, the Longhorn operating system is said to fully integrate search with the O/S, making any file your computer has ever accessed a searchable document. These files would include items from your hard drive, corporate Intranet and the common Internet. The idea behind the move was to a) create a better operating system that allows users to find information from a far greater range of documents, and b) to take large amounts of market share away from other (non-MS) search tools. Google is trying to counter this threat by introducing its own desktop based system that will have similar features to those found in Longhorn. According to today’s technology section of the New York Times which broke this story, the new software is being code named “Puffin”. (subscription to NYTimes required) As Google made this announcement this morning, there has (thus far) been no response from Microsoft.

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Thursday, May 20th, 2004

PPC Tips : Google and Image Ads

For some time now Google’s publishing partners and advertisers have been requesting image based advertising through the AdSense and AdWords programs, and Google is listening.

Currently still in Beta, Google has introduced image ads into its AdSense / AdWords program. Read more…

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Thursday, May 20th, 2004

Big Nets Catch Many Fish

For the past two weeks I have covered the topic of keyword research. If you are a new subscriber or did not get a chance to read the last articles they can be found online. They covered:

> Choosing potential keyword targets

> Determining which phrase will produce the greatest return on investment

In this crucial first step in the optimization there is an additional aspect of choosing your keywords that has yet to be covered and that is how to choose multiple keyword phrases to target in a single promotion. Read more…

In a report to be issued very soon, the Washington DC based think tank, Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, claims that Linus Torvalds is not the original author of the open-source movement’s premier software. According to the president of the Institution, Kenneth Brown, Linux was created on the back of, “…intellectual property often taken or adapted without permission from material owned by other companies and individuals.”

According to the EWeek article from writer Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Torvalds’ response to the allegation is,

“OK, I admit it. I was just a front man for the real fathers of Linux: the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. They (for obvious reasons) couldn’t step forward to admit that they had gotten bitten by the computer bug and had been developing a series of operating systems on their own during the off-season.

“But when they started with Linux (which they originally called Freax, they do feel like outsiders, you know, and that’s a whole sad story in itself), they felt that they could no longer just let it languish in obscurity.

“They started to look for a front man, and since Santa Claus is from Finland, and thus has connections to Helsinki University, and the Easter Bunny claimed, ‘He’s got good ears, if a bit small,’ I got selected.

“Since then, I’ve lived a life of subterfuge, always afraid that somebody would find out the truth. I’m actually relieved that it’s over, and that the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution has finally uncovered the lie. I can now go back to my chosen profession, the exploration of the fascinating mating dance of the aquatic African frog.”

I just left the Optimizing for Flash and Non-HTML session. Gregory Markel from Infuse Creative announced (on Macromedia’s behalf) that Macromedia has formed a focused project group to address issues with SEO and FLASH. This announcement was backed by Karen Howe, founder of Singing Fish who is also working with Macromedia on FLASH/SEO solutions.

Gotta get to the next session: Writing for Search Engines.

more soon.

Hi All,

I am at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Toronto. This is my first post from the conference and there is a lot to talk about. The show itself is extremely well organized and the weather in Toronto is beautiful. I have spent most of my time speaking with whomever I can find to speak with. The first two sessions I attended were dealt with basic SEO topics with the more advanced sessions being held this afternoon and tomorrow. This afternoon I will be attending a session regarding PPC campaigns. More later, sessions are about to begin again.

It appears that Time Warner is looking to dump its AOL unit and both Yahoo and MSN are interested. This story is just starting to develop so there will be a lot more written about this soon.

Aside from the massive changes a sale of AOL will bring to the SEO world, this move would, in my mind, mark the end of the Dot-Bomb era. AOL actually purchased Time Warner at the height of the Tech-Boom but has been more of a financial millstone around TW’s neck ever since. The sale would likely breathe new life into AOL but, if MSN completes the purchase, would mark the destruction of Netscape.

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Thursday, May 6th, 2004

A Journey Of A Thousand Miles

It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In the case of a search engine placement promotion of any size the first step should be the choosing of keywords. Everything from the titles, meta tags and even your content will later be built around these phrases. Read more…