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Over the years we have answered many a phone call where a prospective client is frustrated with the poor performance of their website(s). Obviously the business profile for each website is unique, but common to many of conversations is the following scenario that we would like to share with you. For the purpose of this example we will use a site owner by the name of Sam.

The question from Sam (the caller):
“ My site is 2 years old and well established online; it is well indexed on the major search engines and has a couple rankings here and there. Unfortunately after so many years of work on the site the rankings and traffic for the website are still not where I need them. I am just not sure if I should commit my limited budget to reworking a website that has been so difficult to promote; it is becoming a bigger money hole than my boat. Should I continue to invest in my current website or try launching another site with slightly different content and a new domain?” Read more…

One of the most frequently asked questions readers and clients email StepForth Placement’s SEO staff, revolves around how websites can be best optimized to meet the algorithmic needs of each of the major 4 search engines, Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Though there have been wide sweeping changes in the organic search engine landscape over the past six months, the fundamental ways search engines operate remains the same. Read more…

Links are the primary arteries of the Internet, the underlying connectors between different places. Links are the transporters that take you everywhere on the web. You likely came to this space via a link and are as likely to follow one out again. Links keep you going online, hopefully to places you want or need to get to.

Google created the most successful information retrieval device of all time based on sending spiders to follow each and every link they can find on each and every web document they come across. Yahoo, MSN, Ask, and all the other search databases have acquired the vast amounts of information they contain in similar fashion. Links play important roles in the ranking formulas of all search engines, especially Google, by providing numerous pieces of data for their algorithms to chew through. Read more…

It has been an interesting day in the IT world. Opening the month of May a couple of interesting stories involving the rivalry between Google and Microsoft are playing through the news today.

The first story demonstrates an Amazon migration from Google based results to those gleaned by the new MSN Search engine, Windows Live. First noted by Aaron Wall over at Threadwatch, A9 and Alexa have both replaced Google’s results for Windows Live. Read more…

North American MSN users awoke today to find MSN Search was out of commission. The service was down for at least four hours today. Thus far we have been unable to find out why. Read more…

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Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

Is Google No.1 Forever?

Google is without a doubt the world’s number one search engine. According to the research firm Neilsen/NetRatings, Google’s share of the global search market in February 2006 was 48.5%, more than double the 22.5% share its nearest rival Yahoo saw. Having been the engine of choice for nearly five years, Google is synonymous with search. Because Google is the first thing most folks think of when they think about search, it is the most important search marketing venue, at least for the vast majority of SEOs. Read more…

For years, the major search engines have been building membership lists by offering a diverse range of services to registered users. Yahoo and MSN, for instance, have offered email accounts to registered users for several years. The major search engines are working to brand user experiences on as many levels as possible and claim memberships as indicators of user loyalty.

The membership race heated up dramatically over the past two years with the introduction of Google’s wide array of membership driven services. Read more…

A report in today’s Financial Times says, “Yahoo has called for broad co-operation among internet, media and communication companies and the US government to counter Chinese censorship on the web.”

The company is calling on the other tech giants, along with the US Government to take a harder, collective stand against Chinese Government censorship of the web. Read more…

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Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Redefining the Search Scenery

As expected, the roll out of change in the world of search is proving to be highly disruptive. Though the year is only three weeks old, noticeable shifts are occurring among the largest search entities and throughout the search marketing sector, making the scenery much different this month than it was just a few short weeks ago. These are among the most interesting times on the Internet as the largest players are positioning themselves to take their unique and collaborative runs through the year of global convergence. Read more…

Many search commentators have connected the rapid drop in Google’s share-values with their recent tussle with the US Department of Justice over its refusal to share search-records with the Government. As far as I can tell, the only thing connecting the two is the coincidence of timing.

As anyone with even a remote interest in search knows, the legal drama unfolding between Google and the DOJ fell out from the closet and into the public realm early last week, nearly a year after the DOJ initial request was complied with by Google’s rivals, Yahoo, MSN and AOL. Of the four major search engines in the United States, Google was the only one to resist the US Governments demand for information on searches conducted by its users.

Within days of the story breaking, Google share prices began to fall, showing a sustained decline for the first time since the search firm went public in August 2004. The sudden drop sent search journalists scurrying to their keyboards to make the unsubstantiated connection between the court case and the value of Google stocks.

What these commentators are neglecting to mention is that investors are becoming wary of the search sector, seeing the bulk of revenues coming from the single source of paid search advertising. Although Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing continue to shower shareholders with positive results, Yahoo’s most recent financial numbers, filed last week, just before the Google share drop started, came in one-cent below investor expectations.

The dust-up between Google and the US Department of Justice is very important and something all search engine users should pay very close attention to; however, it is not likely the root cause of the drop in investor confidence in the search sector. Perceived instability in the long-term business model is far more likely the reason investment management firms and the investors who rely on their advice appear bearish about Google this week.