Imagine the ability to create your own 45-second audio/video commercial in less than 15 minutes. A new service from SiSTeR.TV, Pic2Vid.Com allows you to do just that, allowing users to create, store, send and link to, a self-made online audio-video presentation without special hardware or software. According to SiSTer.TV’s Tomer Alpert, “Every small business that doesn’t have a $10,000 budget can look to Pic2Vid for answers.” Read more…

Spiders make great geek pets, at least virtual ones do. Here at StepForth, we keep a couple spiders on our system to test sites, pages and documents in the hopes of learning more about the behaviours of common search engine spiders such as GoogleBot, Yahoo’s Slurp and MSNBot. Read more…

In nearly every technical trade from auto mechanics to refrigerator repair, a series of four letter words are used to express frustration or to project one’s vexation on an inanimate object. Frequently these words, regardless of the shop in which they’re said, bear a striking similarity to each other. For many search engine marketers, one of the strongest four letter words is spam. On the Internet, the word spam is most often associated with unsolicited junk email but search engine marketers use the word to describe techniques that violate search engine guidelines or are in some way or another based on offering search engines spiders one set of data while presenting another on the site. Over the past three weeks, threads about search engine spam at various SEM forums transited from discussion to debate, at many points descending into downright nastiness and incivility. Read more…

(co-written by Bill Stroll, Sales and Marketing Manager)

Christmas is coming. Six months from today, retailers and E-Tailers relying on a strong holiday season will be assessing the bounties of the season. The winter holiday season is the most important segment of the year for North American retail businesses, often accounting for more than half of annual revenues. For many businesses, the period between October and mid-January makes or breaks the bottom line. Read more…

Two months ago, Google released a 63-point patent document outlining how it examines historical data associated with websites and documents in its index. Since that time, we have witnessed changes in the algorithm which have become known as the Bourbon Update. StepForth has written a short whitepaper which studies that document and gives a short overview of the patent and how its contents may affect the Google organic search engine. It is important to note, this document does not cover subsequent announcements from Google such as Google Sitemaps. The following are a few paragraphs from the whitepaper, “Historic Data and Google Ranking: An analysis of the March 30th, 2005 PatentRead more…

Google is trying a little experiment. They already have the largest public database of documents found on the web but there is always more to see than meets their spiders’ eyes. Google Sitemaps is a good way to start finding it.

Google appears to be inviting webmasters and SEOs to create detailed sitemaps in XML format to invite, direct and re-invite Google’s spiders as the sitemap evolves with the site. Webmasters can set priorities and protocols to tell the spider what should be examined and how it should be seen. Google provides a highly detailed explanation of XML instructions, but only to those who’ve signed up for a Google account. More on that stuff later.

Get a jump on your weekend and start learning about creating and submitting sitemaps to Google today. In the long run, a lost techno-weekend following a pleasant long-weekend might not be so bad after all, given fun of playing with spiders.

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Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

SEM Growing More Complex

Working out a marketing plan for new and evolving websites is a bit more complicated than it used to be. There are a few new things to be considered before embarking on a search marketing campaign than in previous years. Search marketing has become more important and is thus becoming more professional. With growing acceptance of online communication tools, and a number of alterations to the faces of search engines themselves, the marketing arena has been upgraded from a three-ring circus venue to a Super Bowl sized stadium. Read more…

Click Fraud is the greatest threat to the rapid growth of the paid-search marketing sector. Speaking about click fraud to an investor conference in December, Google CFO George Reyes stated, “I think something has to be done about this really, really quickly, because I think, potentially, it threatens our business model.” Accounting for an estimated 5 – 15 percent of all PPC clicks (estimates differ by sector), click fraud is assumed to cost advertisers tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The problem has become so pervasive the April 7 edition of Wall Street Journal ran a front-page center column story titled, “In Click Fraud, Web Outfits Have A Costly Problem“. (subscription req.) Read more…

Imagine this scenario. Too tired to cook after arriving home from a long day at work you call your local pizza shop to order two large pizzas and a bunch of soft drinks. You dial the number as usual and, instead of the familiar voice of Tony, the owner/pizza champion, a younger voice comes on the line. Read more…

“What’s the use of a good algorithm if you can’t change it?” Dr. Who (The Fortune Program)

Search engine optimization firms tend to have unique relationships with their clients. Like our colligate cousins in the web design field, our clients often see our services as one-time events. Once the initial SEO campaign is completed and websites have achieved Top10 placements, some clients are content to go about their business assuming their placements are going to stay in place. In many cases, they do. A website that has been optimized by a good SEO can prove difficult to dislodge, even when these placements are targeted by other SEOs. Read more…

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