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Search Event 2009 on December 7 was the day that Real Time Search was unveiled at GoogleYesterday Google unveiled real-time search which has brought with it a great many new marketing techniques and possibilities for web traffic. Want to learn more? Here is how to see real-time search in action and a few important questions and answers to follow it up.

#1) What is Real-Time Search?

Real time search is a type of search query that can be done on Google (and other real-time search sites) that provides the latest discussions/news from all over the Internet based on the query.

Real-time search has come about as a result of the often useful real-time news that is available within social networking feeds from sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.  When all of these real-time social networking sites started there were very few people that believed they would go anywhere (who would have the time after all?!); and you can count me as one of them at the beginning. That said, disbelievers were proven wrong and sites like Twitter have become popular world wide. Twitter, in fact, has made multiple world headlines as a platform for national protests (i.e. Moldova’s Twitter Revolution“) and has often broken news far before the mainstream media reported it. What was worse (to Google anyway) was this timely (valuable) news was often nowhere to be found within search results because Google was not indexing news that quickly.  Well Google was going to have none of that and they spent a long time creating a whole new set of algorithms and systems to filter real-time results while providing them within seconds of being posted online. Yesterday, Google announced that  we will start seeing real-time search appearing in search results within the next few days across all English-speaking portals of Google.

Below is an example of how the results look in regular (organic/natural) Top 10 search rankings. 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…

There are several billion images indexed in Google Images. Are yours there? If you’ve been wondering what it takes to get your images ranking, then this article is for you. Here are some tips to help you increase the exposure of your images, and with a little luck, have them appearing at the top of the regular web search results.

1. Image File Name
The first step towards having your images appear in image search is with the image file name. When naming images consider using a target word or phrase whenever it makes sense to do so. If you run a hotel, consider naming a photo of your building as “victoria-hotel.jpg”.

Use hyphens instead of underscores in file names. While these days underscores are supposedly being treated as word separators by Google, consider sticking with hyphens to play it safe. Read more…

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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…

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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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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Thursday, August 20th, 2009

How to Identify a Google Penalty

Last week I wrote a story called “How a Google Penalty Can Make Your Site Stronger” and since then I have received a lot of inquiries about how to identify if a site has been penalized. Instead of answering every email individually, which I could never find the time to do, I figured I had better create a quick list of the most obvious indicators of a Google penalty which I could refer people to and build on when I have more time.

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