Archives for March 2005

Google clustering

CNET News points out comments made by Google’s Peter Norvig from the recent Semantic Technology Conference.

New initiatives at creating more relevant search results include: “adding new clustering capabilities for search results, providing suggestions for related searches, personalizing listings, and returning factual answers to specific questions”.

It would be great to actually see an implementation of how Google would cluster results.

This was also mentioned at SearchEngineLowdown.

Audio Interview: Online PR, Blog & RSS Marketing

Please indulge a bit of self promotion. MarketingStudies.net recently published an interview I did with Rok Hrastnik covering topics including SEO, online PR, blog and RSS marketing:

Exclusive Search Engine Optimization Strategies & RSS: Interview with Lee Odden, TopRank”

Take a listen if you dare.

Incidentally, MarketingStudies.net is an excellent site covering many topics regarding content publishing and marketing. They also offer a comprehensive e-book on RSS marketing worth checking out. It covers everything from creation to promotion to measurement of a RSS marketing initiative.

Yahoo Offers SEO Tips

Yahoo recently launched an articles & resources section in its small business center. Of the articles available, there are several specific to search engine optimization including:

Search Engine Marketing Overview – “Search marketing probably is the most cost-effective method of advertising on the Web, allowing you to reach the largest possible audience for the least amount of money.”

Search Engine Optimization Overview – “Optimizing your site for search engines can be as important as simply having a web site.”

SEO-friendly Site Design – “To increase your search results ranking, design each element of your web site with your two audiences – humans and search engine “bots” or “spiders” – in mind.”

Building Keyword Lists – “Successful search engine marketers develop their keyword list first, and then build a single, highly relevant web page for each keyword phrase.”

Internet news, blogs and RSS marketing

Search Engine Journal reports that 28% of American adults use news aggregation services such as those offered by AOL, Yahoo News and Google News. The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports newspaper influence dropped from 60% to 39% (1996 to 2004).

Explanations for this trend include increasing overall internet usage including RSS readers, blogs and vertical news sites.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project also reports blog readership increased 58 percent in 2004 and that approximately six million Americans read news via RSS news aggregators, a trend that is expected to continue.

Yahoo News and MSN Search now both offer RSS feeds for their search results. Ah, Google?

The Search Engine Strategies conference last week had 1 session on search engine public relations and 3 sessions related to blogs and RSS. A definite trend.

Yahoo! Search revisited

A few weeks ago I made the comment that I use Yahoo for my start page and Google for search. This prompted an inquiry from Nancy Evars of Yahoo search marketing on why that would be, why don’t I just use Yahoo for search as well as news and mail? At SES NYC I stopped by the Yahoo booth and Nancy took a moment to ask a few questions and we took a look at what the Yahoo search page currently looks like.

To be honest, I had not looked at it in a while. My searching of Yahoo had always been from the home page. On the the Yahoo Search page there’s a lot of white space like Google and it also includes mail login and news. You can easily remove those features by clicking the “x” close icon. Cool. I’ll try that page out as my browser start page to see if I use Yahoo search more often.

Google Desktop Search out of beta

Google Desktop Search is officially out of beta today. New features include the ability to index the entire content of PDF files and the metadata of multimedia files. Google Desktop now offers support for Firefox Thunderbird e-mail as well as AOL’s Netscape.

Google is also releasing a tool kit to create plug-in applications that extend the functionality of Desktop Search via APIs.

One plugin that should be launching today offers the ability to search metadata of Apple iTunes music files. Another plug-in is in development that will transcribe audio and video content using speech-to-text technology to make those files searchable.

Lots of other coverage on this.

SES NYC post mortem

I am finally back in Minneapolis from the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York. It was a really good show with some great sessions and search engine industry networking.

I was able to finally meet several SEO pros in person like Bruce Clay (thanks for letting me ask you so many questions Bruce) he was exceptionally helpful both in conversation and in the sessions he presented at. Also Andy Beal who writes the searchenginelowdown.com blog was also great to speak with. I have to say, I’ve never heard a person speak with alternate British and Southern accents before.

There are many other SEOs and bloggers I was able to finally meet or re-connect with as well including Andy Atkins-Kruger of WebCertain, who as always, is a great mind on all things search.

How Google Works. Physically.

CNet has a great article on how Google works. Not the search algorithms but the actual hardware and software they run. Google keeps costs down by buying relatively cheap machines and writing their own software. “The company wrote its own file system, called Google File System, which is optimized for handling large, 64 megabyte blocks of data.”

They also plan for failures. They know that at least one machine a day will go down and their system was designed to take it in stride. Their data is stored in three different places to limit any type of failures and they have a “master” machine that can locate any of the copies when needed.

TopRank Rated Top SEO Firm

Our search engine optimization firm, TopRank was ranked #6 in the TopSEOs list of 30 top SEO firms for March 2005. Evaluation criteria include:

1. What are the applicant firm’s competitive advantages?
2. How are the applicant’s services and pricing levels superior to the competition?
3. What is the availability of customer and technical support?
4. What is the average response time and time-to-resolution for client problems?
5. What SLA does the applicant provide?
6. What other attributes/innovations does the applicant provide to set it apart from the competition?
7. What is the average rating for the firm in terms of customer service?
8. What is the average rating for the firm in terms of efficiency?
9. What is the average rating for the firm in terms of overall performance?