Ask – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:30:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Innovative Search Features Drive Engagement – Paul Vallez #OMS12 http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/innovative-search-features-drive-engagement-oms12/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/innovative-search-features-drive-engagement-oms12/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2012 11:30:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13302 Paul Vallez admits that when he started at HP less than a year ago he had just come from Ask.com and was pretty cocky about what he knew.  Vallez also shares that he wasn’t very open to new ideas and wanted to step into his new position at a big brand and immediately demonstrate value. What was [...]

The post Innovative Search Features Drive Engagement – Paul Vallez #OMS12 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

"Google taught us how to search." - Paul Vallez

Paul Vallez admits that when he started at HP less than a year ago he had just come from Ask.com and was pretty cocky about what he knew.  Vallez also shares that he wasn’t very open to new ideas and wanted to step into his new position at a big brand and immediately demonstrate value. What was his approach?

  • 75% Cocky
  • 25% Open to new ideas

In Vallez’s presentation he identified what he called “3 Key Learnings” that he shared with the audience for improving the way that your search strategy is implemented for improved engagement.

Key Learning #1 – Enterprise Search is Ripe for Disruption

According to Vallez, Enterprise Search is constantly going through a cycle and that emerging companies and established companies alike should expect changes, be prepared to take action, and run for the opportunity.  The different phases that were identified included:

  • Creation: In this phase organizations are experimenting with different platforms and their may be limited use or capability.
  • Survival: This phase shows some growth with a small community of partners and vendors.
  • Growth: At this point their is a solid value proposition in place as well as vendor consolidation.
  • Equilibrium: By this phase the vendor community can be leveraged, benefits and risks are known, and there is a flat growth.
  • Decline: The final phase presents an opportunity for other companies to begin working their way onto the Search playing field.

When we reach the “Equilibrium” phase of the cycle what you will typically see happen is the beginning of the decline.  At that point there is the opportunity for other organizations to disrupt the cycle and begin rolling out their own Search solutions.

Are you prepared for this disruption?

“By the end of 2012 over 90 percent of information flowing through the internet will be reach media (audio, images, video)” – Cisco

Search today is largely commoditized.  Companies will feature a product page that contains images, pricing, and product specs but not much more.  What these pages wont show you is what the product is good for or what problems it will help consumers solve.  When we talk about content we need to start talking about which content will better engage our customers.  At this point the majority of us know that if  they can’t find it from you they WILL look elsewhere.

Key Learning #2:Enterprises Need to Facilitate User Research

Facilitation of user research is key.  After all the internet is all about information.  How it is consumed, shared, and what affect it has on our prospective clients.  The question we were urged to ask ourselves was: What is the right information for your customers?  Vallez encourages us as marketers to make our information less about the product and more about the customers needs, stressing that customers also need to understand why your product is right for them. A 2010 DMA Study found that 43.7% of buyers admit that they are taking more time to research purchases while 66% of buyers say that vendor content/website influences their purchasing decisions.

Key learning point #3: Deliver the Right Balance of Content and User Experience

It is recommended that we focus on search results that bring up the right TYPE of information for our customers.  It should be as easy as possible for customers to  find anything related to your products so they know if they are making an informed buying decision. An example of some objectives that you may want to set forth to target your consumers could include:

  • De-commodotize the search experience
  • Better engage user
  • Faciliatate research
  • Increase Conversion Rate

What Did We Learn?

  • Prepare for a deeper level of engagement beyond text
  • Segment your audience and develop customer centric content and experiences
  • De-commoditize your search experience
  • You should spend at least 75% of your time being open to new ideas

After the presentation I asked Paul Vallez the following question: “With a shifted focus on providing customers with a combination of targeted content and user generated content how do you handle negative feedback while still presenting a real picture of your products?”  Vallez shared that obviously no brand wants to see anything negative being said about their products.  However, customers can tell when something is too curated or moderated.  HP has implemented a response button so that if customers don’t like the results they can send feedback to the company.  He has found that you will consistently get a more positive reaction from your customers if you take an open and honest approach.

 


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Innovative Search Features Drive Engagement – Paul Vallez #OMS12 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Innovative Search Features Drive Engagement – Paul Vallez #OMS12 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/innovative-search-features-drive-engagement-oms12/feed/ 5
Search Engines Bringing Back Variables In URLs – At Your Expense http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/01/search-engines-url-variables/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/01/search-engines-url-variables/#comments Thu, 21 Jan 2010 20:21:49 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=8387 Did you realize that search engines have gone full circle on URLs in variables? It used to be considered something to avoid, now search engines are saying variables in URLs are good, as long as you use the canonical meta tag. Google is pushing them with FeedBurner and if webmasters aren’t careful, they could fall [...]

The post Search Engines Bringing Back Variables In URLs – At Your Expense appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Duplicate ContentDid you realize that search engines have gone full circle on URLs in variables? It used to be considered something to avoid, now search engines are saying variables in URLs are good, as long as you use the canonical meta tag. Google is pushing them with FeedBurner and if webmasters aren’t careful, they could fall victim to a new onslaught of duplicate content issues.

One of the biggest issues with SEO is duplicate content. If search engines can’t tell which version of a document is the original or canonical version, then there can be consequences involving less than ideal search visibility. For example, the following URLs might all point to the same web page, creating the illusion that they are copies of the same thing. But in reality, it’s just one web page.

www.domainname.com
domainname.com
www.domainname.com/index.html
www.domainname.com/index.html?referid=somesitethatyouareadvertisingon

Content management systems, e-commerce stores, and dynamic sites in general, used to be big on adding variables to URLs as a way to construct search queries on content or to track visitors. Then along came advice from the search engines that said they see each URL as a unique if it has different variables. That little improvement caused a duplicate content mess.

So over the past few years, web site owners and marketers have been hard at work cleaning up their URLs, removing variables and trying to make duplicate content a thing of the past.

Then Google came out with a canonical meta tag that could be used to help fix duplicate content issues. The advice was to simply add a canonical meta tag to any page and every version of that page will be considered one. No longer will there be duplicate versions and no longer will variables be a problem in creating the illusion of different copies of the same page.

The good news here is that Yahoo, Bing, and Ask also jumped on board to support the canonical meta tag.

What we didn’t realize was Google had a hidden agenda. (In my opinion) For a few months after the canonical meta tag came out, Google FeedBurner started populating every feed that runs though their service with additional variables in the URL. These variables are then used to better track FeedBurner clicks in Google Analytics.

So now, Google is pushing out URLs with multiple variables creating duplicate content issues for anyone who isn’t using the canonical meta tag. Additionally, if you use TwitterFeed to auto post content from FeedBurner to Twitter, or even copy the URL from a feed and share it, you’re also spreading the problem.

Google then came out with a URL builder tool that allowed you to track custom campaigns in Google Analytics by customizing your URLs with additional tracking variables. This extends the potential duplicate content issue even further.

So what doess this all mean for web site owners and marketers? It means that if you’re not paying attention, duplicate content could be causing you problems with increasing frequency. Do you know if your site has canonical meta tags? It should. Do you know if your FeedBurner feed is going out with additional tracking variables? It probably is.

A Solution: What needs to happen is the canonical meta tag should become a standard meta tag in web development. It should be added to all web pages as a safety measure. It doesn’t harm anything, unless implemented improperly, so ask your developers to code it into all pages.

As for variables in the URL, they’re still not good when it comes to SEO and avoiding duplicate content issues. Short and sweet is the best way to create URLs, but on that off chance that you need to track affiliates, want to track visits to a page from a specific online or offline campaign, or for whatever reason can’t avoid variables in the URL, then they are OK as long as you use the canonical meta tag.

Like it or not, the canonical meta tag is the only way to ensure that your site doesn’t fall victim to duplicate content issues. If you stop and think about it, it is an easy solution to a big problem. And once a site has canonical meta tags on their site, using the URL builder or variables in general to track URLs can be pretty handy. Webmasters just need to remember that a variable or two may be ok for some campaigns, but we don’t want to go back to long and ugly URLs because the longer the URL, the more difficult they’ll be for search engines, and users, to interact with.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2010. | Search Engines Bringing Back Variables In URLs – At Your Expense | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Search Engines Bringing Back Variables In URLs – At Your Expense appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/01/search-engines-url-variables/feed/ 28
SES San Jose: Semantic Search: How will it change our lives? http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/08/semantic-search/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/08/semantic-search/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2008 01:32:57 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=2741 Where is search headed?  We’ve heard of semantic search for a few years now, but what’s going on with it?  Each major search engine is taking the next steps but some are closer than others.   Actually, what we are beginning to see is semantic and universal search merging together.  Yahoo, Ask, Powerset and Hakia [...]

The post SES San Jose: Semantic Search: How will it change our lives? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Where is search headed?  We’ve heard of semantic search for a few years now, but what’s going on with it?  Each major search engine is taking the next steps but some are closer than others.  

Actually, what we are beginning to see is semantic and universal search merging together.  Yahoo, Ask, Powerset and Hakia showed screenshots that included images, videos, ratings and other media.  Are universal and semantic search the same?  Possibly. 

Yahoo Semantic Search Results Enhanced Ask Semantic Search Results Enhanced
– Sorry for the bad pictures. I haven’t got down the art of taking pictures of PowerPoint slides.

Yahoo may actually be leading semantic search, as compared to Google, MSN and Ask, as they are empowering users to incorporate data via microformats, rdf and SearchMonkey applications.  You can go into Yahoo today and additional sites such as Facebook and LinkdIn are already integrated into people searches.  Other applications can be added based on the users preference.  Yahoo has seen up to a 15% increase in clicks with the additional information integrated. But is that semantic?  Adding in additional information doesn’t necessarily mean the search engine understood my query.

Powerset and Hakia are new a search engines that is trying to get away from simple keyword & link relevance and analyze content to become semantic search engines.  Unlike the major engines, they don’t have to worry about current users and pre-defined expectations.  They may actually have a head start because of this.

During the session Kevin Ryan made a great point.  For years searchers have been using one, two or three word searches to get results, but semantic search is best when searchers ask a question.  So how do we get users to forget what they know about searching and advance their queries?

Ask actually may have a hand up on this as we were all use to asking Jeeves a question.  Maybe it’s time for Jeeves to be revived??

Semantic Search Panel

The goal of semantic search is to give users what they want without having to re-do their search.  It’s about search engines becoming more understanding and a system for giving users what they want the first time they ask.

Check out all of TopRank’s coverage of SES San Jose and sessanjose08 Photos.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2008. | SES San Jose: Semantic Search: How will it change our lives? | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post SES San Jose: Semantic Search: How will it change our lives? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/08/semantic-search/feed/ 2
Small Business Guide to Optimizing Universal Search http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/10/optimizing-universal-search/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/10/optimizing-universal-search/#comments Thu, 11 Oct 2007 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/10/optimizing-universal-search/ The buzz in the search marketing media and increasingly, the business press, on the importance of unified or universal search is gaining momentum and is unavoidable. Small and medium sized business web site owners and webmasters are now presented with the challenge of making sense out of the recent rash of search engine interface and [...]

The post Small Business Guide to Optimizing Universal Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
SMB Universal Search Engine Optimization
The buzz in the search marketing media and increasingly, the business press, on the importance of unified or universal search is gaining momentum and is unavoidable. Small and medium sized business web site owners and webmasters are now presented with the challenge of making sense out of the recent rash of search engine interface and functional improvements and how to adjust their online marketing efforts accordingly. Many are not sure what to do. Hopefully this short guide will shed light on the fundamentals and give some basic direction on next steps.

Early this summer Google rolled out one of the most significant changes to its search engine ever called Universal search. This update was followed a week or so later by Ask.com announcing Ask 3D. After a leak and then a more official announcement late September, Microsoft Live officially announced the 2.0 version of it’s search engine to include universal search features and Now Yahoo and has followed suit with their version of Unified search, being called the “new Yahoo! search“. What does all this mean for most businesses marketing online?

What is Universal Search?
First, I should explain what Google Universal, Ask 3D, Live Search and the new Yahoo! Search are, and how they’re different from the way search engines have traditionally retrieved and displayed search results. As an overview, the latest and greatest versions of the popular search engines include more than the text based web pages in the search results that we’ve all been used to the past 10+ years.

These “upgraded” search features from the major search engines now also find and bring back results in varying media formats including: images, news, local listings, video, blog posts, products and more depending on the particular search engine. But let’s break it down a bit further.

Ask and You Shall Receive
Ask 3D means bringing in three dimensions of search into one set of search results, i.e. the three columns in the search results page. For example, if you search for “Shrek 3“, on the left are additional suggested search terms and related searches to other movies. In the middle are paid listings with regular text based results below. On the right are search results from images, video, Wikipedia and other sources depending on the query.

Ask.com 3D
click for large view

One of the big challenges in making search a positive experience for users is to deliver the right answers according to the searcher’s intent. Searching more content sources than just web pages allows the search engine to deliver extra sets of relevant content that people may be looking for rather than making them sort through the typical web page results to find the content they’re looking for or worse, have to perform yet another search on another specific type of search engine.

Ask 3D is unique compared to Google Universal, Live Search and the new Yahoo! search because it most distinctly separates the different data sources on the page.

Google’s New Universe
Google Universal blends Images, Maps, Books, Video, and News into the standard search results page. If we use the “Shrek 3” query again as an example, you’ll see listings from YouTube mixed in with the web pages including a preview image and the option to watch the movie trailer right within the search results. Normally, you’d have to click and visit another web page to do that.

Google Universal
click for large view

So rather than having to perform unique queries on Google, Google News, Google Images, etc individually, Google Universal searches all of those databases and returns the best matches in one set of search results. Findings reported in a recent study by Enquiro show that searchers are more engaged with content throughout the unified search results page rather than just the top 3 listings.

That makes sense because if you search for something and see a video thumbnail in the middle of the search results page, it will draw your attention – provided the title and description text are relevant of course.

Microsoft Search is A-Live!
The new Live Search promises better relevance, speed and look/feel enhancements as well as enhanced search results for queries related to “high interest” categories like: Health, Entertainment, Shopping, Celeberaties, Local, and Video. When a search is performed, like our favorite “shrek 3“, you’ll see video thumbnails displayed near the top of the standard search results with related searches suggested on the right. One neat, and surprising to me, was that the video clips play when you put your cursor over them. No clicking necessary.

Microsoft Live Search
click for large view

It’s A New Yahoo
With the new Yahoo! search, the same unified search characteristics apply. Yahoo searches it’s various databases or indexes of content and brings them back into one set of search results as you can see in this “shrek 3” example search. One interesting feature is that when you search for something location/event oriented, you get a set of results at the top of the page sorted by category, date and most popular. That information comes from Yahoo site, Upcoming.org. The other more notable feature of Yahoo’s new search is the “search assist” feature that suggest phrases as you type.

Yahoo Search
click for large view

While each version of “unified search” is slightly different, they all share the same characteristics of bringing back content from multiple data sources with the intention of providing a better user experience.

Why do these changes with the search engines matter to search marketers and web site owners?

First, it creates an online marketing challenge. A web site might have enjoyed certain positions on key terms within a search engine only now to find that their ranked web pages have been pushed down by video, image or local search results.

To address the situation, web site owners are faced with the proposition of making the effort to optimize their video, image, blog, local, news and product content. That’s easier said than done, because in most cases, small businesses have but a smattering of those content types at their disposal. If you don’t have the content format, you certainly can’t optimize for it. Even if you did, optimizing video for example, is a different thing than optimizing for news search.

The business of optimizing content for search engines just got a lot more complex.

With Challenges Come Opportunities
Many businesses won’t even notice why their search visibility has changed until it’s far into the game. Some will resort to beefing up their paid search campaigns, which you’d think might be an objective for the search engines, and some will roll up their sleeves and tackle the opportunity head on. With unified search results, there exist additional, high profile exposure opportunities where none of that type previously existed. The way for smart marketers to approach these opportunities is with a holistic perspective.

Optimizing holistically starts with an inventory of a company’s digital assets. Text, images, audio and video are all considered along with the incorporation of keyword messaging across company communications. Matching digital assets with channels of distribution provides marketers with even more opportunity to reach customers since each channel (blogging, email, media relations, social networking, forums, etc) can drive traffic independently as well as improve standard search visibility.

If a small business is not in the habit of creating content in multiple formats, then it will mean change. In fact, substantial changes may be necessary with content creation, approval and publishing processes along with the need for ongoing education. The key is to identify those content creation processes that are already occurring that could be altered or leveraged for the purpose of publishing more media content online. Process changes will still be necessary, but if a business can use some of what they’re already doing with other marketing promotions to improve their search visibility in a world of universal search, it will save effort, money and enable results more quickly.

Optimizing for Universal Search in Action
An example might be a situation where a new product is being released. In such a situation, many small businesses will post a new product page with a photo on the web site and email their list of industry publications and local reporters the announcement. They might even post a press release.

To take advantage of such a situation where unified search results can be leveraged might include the same process of updating the company web site with the product content. Such an effort would also include creating content in additional media formats, such as shooting a short video with an engineer or product manager explaining some of the features/benefits of the product. Just about all digital cameras can take a few minutes of video. The video can be edited with free video editing software like Windows Movie Maker to add credits or even add background music.

Promoting a Good Image
To leverage image search, the image file names could use keywords relevant to the product. Alt text used in the coding of the web page describing the image could do the same as well as a short text caption beneath the image. The image(s) can be submitted to image sharing web sites like Flickr.com with relevant keywords in the image category, title, description and tags. The description of the product on the image sharing site can include a link back to the product web page on the company web site.

Associating relevant keywords with the image will help media or image search engines understand what the image is, and subsequently categorize and rank it. The link from the image description on the image sharing site can send both visitors and search engines to the product page.

Video is the New Rock Star of Search
The product page on the company web site can also include the short video to give visitors another way in which to learn about the product. Embedding the video in the product web page also gives search engines another media format to index and display in unified search results. Submitting the product video to video sharing web sites such as YouTube.com with a relevant, keyword-rich description will make it even easier for the video to appear in video search and unified search results.

To take it a step further, you could upload screen captures of the video to image sharing sites and link back to the video from the description. The image and video could also be packaged with the press release to provide the media more interesting and engaging ways to learn about the new product. Submitting the press release via wire services can also leverage new search visibility. There are many more steps possible in promoting such content ranging from social bookmarking to blogger relations to the creation of viral linking campaigns, but this is a start, a foundation.

Making Universal Search Easier is Hard Work
The overall idea is to create, optimize and promote the kinds of media formats (text, images and video in this example) that both customers and search engines will respond to. Making it easy for search engines to find your text, images and video means it will be easier for those representations of your product to show up in unified search results.

It may sound like a lot of work but this is the reality of the new search. Optimizing relevant media formats to meet the information channel and format consumption preferences of customers is what will allow small businesses to continue competing against the “big guys” on the web.

The upside is that a substantial increase in media types being indexed by the new search engines all linking to a company web site will provide the kind of advantage standard search engine optimization no longer offers. In other words, optimizing for the different media types provides a competitive advantage.

The Work Will Never End But the Benefits Are Long Term
As long as there are search engines, there will be some kind of optimization for improving search engine visibility. What small business marketers need to consider are all the digital assets they have to work with and enable content creation, optimization and promotion processes to give both search engines and customers the information they’re looking for in the formats they’ll respond to.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2007. | Small Business Guide to Optimizing Universal Search | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Small Business Guide to Optimizing Universal Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/10/optimizing-universal-search/feed/ 30
SES Keynote: Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/08/keynote-jim-lanzone/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/08/keynote-jim-lanzone/#comments Tue, 21 Aug 2007 19:37:09 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/08/keynote-jim-lanzone/ Tuesday’s SES’s keynote was with Jim Lanzone of Ask. He talked briefly about the past, present and future of Ask.com. Jim stated that they’ve seen great growth since launching Ask 3D. They feel that they are the fastest growing in their category. Ask is not as concerned with beating the others at market share, they [...]

The post SES Keynote: Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Tuesday’s SES’s keynote was with Jim Lanzone of Ask. He talked briefly about the past, present and future of Ask.com.

SES 07 Keynote with Ask

Jim stated that they’ve seen great growth since launching Ask 3D. They feel that they are the fastest growing in their category. Ask is not as concerned with beating the others at market share, they are more concerned with getting satisfying results back to the searchers. After launching ask 3D they are finding that about 50% of their users are not clicking on the web results but rather on of the other offerings on the page. Jim also pointed out that they are trying to get as much information above the fold as possible. To do this theyare putting content where other search sites are putting ads.

However, Ask 3D is just the beginning. Jim said that the items they have on the roadmap for Ask over the next 12 months is very exciting. However, he didn’t go into details on what that might be. He did talk about Ask Eraser though, were users that are concerned with privacy can erase it. In just a few hours all your search and tracking information will be removed from Ask and it can’t be subpoenaed. He also pointed out that with Ask, you need to turn on the history tracking tools and opt into personalized services. They don’t just give them to users.

Ask is also working on a project called farm (I think that’s the right code name). The project is designed on making data fresher and better. Getting it up to the levels that will give searchers much better results.

Not many products were talked about other than the main Ask search engine. There was a small tidbit that the new Bloglines was coming soon, but it was skimmed over. They did show a new TV commercial though that shows what the new Ask offers and, at the end, compares it to another, popular, search engine. It really showcases everything that Ask offers on the main search results page and should be on TV next week.

Again, listening to Ask talk about their product offerings at an SES conference, it makes me wish I used it more often than I do. Maybe that’s my goal for September, use Ask.com more. 🙂


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2007. | SES Keynote: Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post SES Keynote: Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/08/keynote-jim-lanzone/feed/ 1
Ask Morphs into Ask3D http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/06/ask-morphs-into-ask3d/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/06/ask-morphs-into-ask3d/#comments Tue, 05 Jun 2007 03:57:59 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/06/ask-morphs-into-ask3d/ Ask.com has upgraded to a new interface called, Ask3D. The 3D makes reference to the three panels of information on the search results page. Ask X was the development playground for Ask3D and includes some interesting features including the display of search results from specialized data sources that are unique to the query. At first [...]

The post Ask Morphs into Ask3D appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
ask.com 3d

Ask.com has upgraded to a new interface called, Ask3D. The 3D makes reference to the three panels of information on the search results page. Ask X was the development playground for Ask3D and includes some interesting features including the display of search results from specialized data sources that are unique to the query.

At first glance, the big difference between Ask X and Ask3D is the initial interface. Ask X is a search box and nothing else. Ask3D provides categories for Web, Images, Ask City, News, Blogs and the extras: video, maps and shopping. The search results page is very similar with 3 columns.

ask3d-mpls.gif

There are a number of improvements including the binoculars function showing larger preview images, one click saving to your Ask favorites and in some cases, the ability to play video clips from the third column search results.

I think this is a great effort from Ask and the user experience and aesthetics are a big improvement. The variety of search results sources from the specialty data bases is great, but some of the results in the 3rd column, especially video, have a ways to go in terms of relevancy.

Thanks to Gary Price for the heads up and I hope IAC and Ask continue to work on improvements.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2007. | Ask Morphs into Ask3D | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Ask Morphs into Ask3D appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/06/ask-morphs-into-ask3d/feed/ 14
Search Engines Support Sitemaps Autodiscovery http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/04/search-engines-support-sitemaps-autodiscovery/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/04/search-engines-support-sitemaps-autodiscovery/#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2007 15:38:47 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/04/search-engines-support-sitemaps-autodiscovery/ The good people at Ask.com pinged me this morning that Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Live Search and Ask.com announced support of autodiscovery for Sitemaps today. WebProNews published an announcement about the search engines Google and Yahoo agreeing to work on a common sitemaps standard and the launch of sitemaps.org at the WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference in Las [...]

The post Search Engines Support Sitemaps Autodiscovery appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
The good people at Ask.com pinged me this morning that Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Live Search and Ask.com announced support of autodiscovery for Sitemaps today.

WebProNews published an announcement about the search engines Google and Yahoo agreeing to work on a common sitemaps standard and the launch of sitemaps.org at the WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference in Las Vegas last year.

The new open-format autodiscovery allows webmasters to specify the location of their sitemaps within their robots.txt file, eliminating the need to submit sitemaps to each search engine separately. The updated Sitemap protocol has benefits for site publishers, the search engines as well as searchers. Ask.com is also supporting manual submissions of sitemaps via a ping url.

Find more coverage on this over at Search Engine Land, “Search Engines Unite on Sitemaps“.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2007. | Search Engines Support Sitemaps Autodiscovery | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Search Engines Support Sitemaps Autodiscovery appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/04/search-engines-support-sitemaps-autodiscovery/feed/ 3
Ask.com Launches Version 2.0 of Sponsored Listings http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/10/askcom-launches-version-20-of-sponsored-listings/ Mon, 02 Oct 2006 12:50:02 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/10/askcom-launches-version-20-of-sponsored-listings/ Ask.com has announced this morning the launch of an upgraded version of Ask Sponsored Listings with improvements based on advertiser feedback and a new API to allow search marketers to create customized tools. Here are some of the new features: • Daily Budgeting • Variable Refill Amount • Hourly Billable Data • Bulk Upload Enhancements [...]

The post Ask.com Launches Version 2.0 of Sponsored Listings appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
asl.gif
Ask.com has announced this morning the launch of an upgraded version of Ask Sponsored Listings with improvements based on advertiser feedback and a new API to allow search marketers to create customized tools.
Here are some of the new features:

• Daily Budgeting
• Variable Refill Amount
• Hourly Billable Data
• Bulk Upload Enhancements
• Dashboard Reports

Looks like Ask is stepping up in the world and with 66% year over year growth in searches (2005 to 2006) according to Nielsen/Netratings, there’s a lot more overall search market share left to take from MSN and AOL.

Barry provides these links to more info: Program details and a “ASL 2.0 Webinar“.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Ask.com Launches Version 2.0 of Sponsored Listings | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Ask.com Launches Version 2.0 of Sponsored Listings appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Blogger Relations: Ask.com “gets it” http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/08/blogger-relations-askcom-gets-it/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/08/blogger-relations-askcom-gets-it/#comments Wed, 16 Aug 2006 23:27:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/08/blogger-relations-askcom-gets-it/ On Wed night of Search Engine Strategies last week I had the privilege of attending a dinner hosted by Gary Price of Ask.com. Organized by their PR department, Ask was making a specific effort to reach out to bloggers in the search marketing space. Other Ask staff were in attendance as well including Paul Vallez [...]

The post Blogger Relations: Ask.com “gets it” appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

On Wed night of Search Engine Strategies last week I had the privilege of attending a dinner hosted by Gary Price of Ask.com. Organized by their PR department, Ask was making a specific effort to reach out to bloggers in the search marketing space. Other Ask staff were in attendance as well including Paul Vallez the Director of Ask search advertising, a representative from Bloglines as well as Paul Loeffler and Patrick Crisp from their public relations department.

Bloggers in attendance included: Matt Bailey, Rand Fishkin and his mom Gillian, Chris Pirillo, Andy Beal, Loren Baker, Lee Odden, Jennifer Laycock and our favorite party crasher, Jim Hedger. (links are to photos from the dinner)

An excellent dinner was had by all but the most interesting and enjoyable part of the evening was the conversation. Ask staff were great about mingling and “asking” what we thought about various aspects of Ask products.

A few months ago when the Ask Blogs and Feed Search launched, I was given a preview under embargo. I misunderstood the timezone and posted to my blog one hour early (11pm CST). I realized immediatley this mistake and took down the post after 2 min. Since I didn’t hear back from Ask’s PR department, I thought they didn’t catch it. I learned at the dinner that not only did Ask PR see my early post, but Jim Lanzone, the CEO noticed it as well. Oops!

The good news is that they also saw me take it down right away and post at the correct time. What would another search engine do? All I know is, Ask has made the effort several times to reach out (to me) in some way as a blogger to foster rapport and solicit feedback. I appreciate that and I am sure when I get the chance to write about those efforts, our modest 25-30,000 monthly visitors to this blog appreciate it as well.

Whatever I use a search engine for, the act of reaching out does make a positive impact. It’s smart blogger relations.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Blogger Relations: Ask.com “gets it” | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Blogger Relations: Ask.com “gets it” appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/08/blogger-relations-askcom-gets-it/feed/ 2
SES San Jose Exhibit Hall Photos http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/08/ses-san-jose-exhibit-hall-photos/ Tue, 08 Aug 2006 20:20:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/08/ses-san-jose-exhibit-hall-photos/ I have to say, when I walked into the exhibit hall this am for a quick look, I was impressed! Lots of space and lots of exhibitors. Incisive Media has done a bang up job. Here are a few candids: Google Booth Yahoo Booth Microsoft adCenter Booth Ask.com Booth Daron Babin and Greg Hartnet SEMPO [...]

The post SES San Jose Exhibit Hall Photos appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
I have to say, when I walked into the exhibit hall this am for a quick look, I was impressed! Lots of space and lots of exhibitors. Incisive Media has done a bang up job. Here are a few candids:

SES San Jose
Google Booth

SES San Jose
Yahoo Booth

SES San Jose
Microsoft adCenter Booth

SES San Jose
Ask.com Booth

SES San Jose
Daron Babin and Greg Hartnet

SES San Jose
SEMPO Booth

SES San Jose
Mick Jolly and David McInnis of PRWeb

SES San Jose
Fionn Downhill and a co-worker from Elixr Systems

SES San Jose
Giving away a car?

SES San Jose
An animated Rand Fishkin


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | SES San Jose Exhibit Hall Photos | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post SES San Jose Exhibit Hall Photos appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Sunday Search Marketing News http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/07/sunday-search-marketing-news/ Sun, 23 Jul 2006 13:42:51 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/07/sunday-search-marketing-news/ Ask.com just gets cooler and cooler: RSS Smart Answers – Example: Online Marketing Blog Matt Cutts on Google “Invalid Clicks” aka Click Fraud case. SEOmoz offers a breakdown on pricing for SEO: Basic – $30k. Full meal deal: $120k Searcher Behavior Research via Information Research Nielsen/Netratings: Google Domination Continues: 49.4% of all searches in June [...]

The post Sunday Search Marketing News appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
  • Ask.com just gets cooler and cooler: RSS Smart Answers – Example: Online Marketing Blog
  • Matt Cutts on Google “Invalid Clicks” aka Click Fraud case.
  • SEOmoz offers a breakdown on pricing for SEO: Basic – $30k. Full meal deal: $120k
  • Searcher Behavior Research via Information Research
  • Nielsen/Netratings: Google Domination Continues: 49.4% of all searches in June 2006.

  • Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Sunday Search Marketing News | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Sunday Search Marketing News appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    Search Engine Relevancy http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/06/search-engine-relevancy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/06/search-engine-relevancy/#comments Wed, 14 Jun 2006 04:39:47 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/06/search-engine-relevancy/ Aaron Wall has posted an excellent article on search engine relevancy over at SEOBook.com explaining his perception of the different relevancy criteria used by Google, Yahoo and MSN. Aaron offers both a short version and long version. Yahoo is great, but can still be manipulated. Google is best at determining relevancy. MSN is still new [...]

    The post Search Engine Relevancy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    Aaron Wall has posted an excellent article on search engine relevancy over at SEOBook.com explaining his perception of the different relevancy criteria used by Google, Yahoo and MSN. Aaron offers both a short version and long version. Yahoo is great, but can still be manipulated. Google is best at determining relevancy. MSN is still new and currently easiest to manipulate. Ask is good, but their small market share does not necessarily warrant specific attention from a SEO perspective.

    This is a great resource offering some very useful tips and insights for those that are grappling with understanding how search engines determine what’s relevant. This article is not just for newbies though. Aaron pays attention to concepts like the importance of site age, editorial and social factors that you don’t see in other articles of this sort and that are increasingly important.

    The long version includes information for each search engine including: On page content, crawling, query processing, link reputation, page vs site, site age, paid search, editorial, social aspects, SEO tools, business perspectives, search marketing perspective, additional engine specific resources and employee blog links. Aaron also touches briefly on Vertical search.

    Does this mean you should optimize for each search engine separately?  It depends on what your business model is. As Aaron suggests, you might use more aggressive tactics with short term or disposable projects focusing on Yahoo and MSN and emphasize long term tactics for sites that you want to do well in Google.

    For me and our clients, Google refers the vast majority of traffic, so that leaves only one option: long term and quality SEO.

    I thought Aaron did a great job on this. Well done!


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Search Engine Relevancy | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Search Engine Relevancy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/06/search-engine-relevancy/feed/ 2
    Ask.com Blog and Feed Search http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/05/askcom-blog-and-feed-search/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/05/askcom-blog-and-feed-search/#comments Thu, 01 Jun 2006 03:59:58 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/05/askcom-blog-and-feed-search/ The long awaited Ask.com Blog Search Engine has finally launched. There are two iterations: One for Ask.com in the form of another right side option. The other within Bloglines.com. The Ask.com blogs and feeds search is directed more towards general users. The Bloglines versions offers more advanced options for “prosumers” as Kaushal Kurapati from Ask.com [...]

    The post Ask.com Blog and Feed Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    Ask.com Blogs and Feeds Search

    The long awaited Ask.com Blog Search Engine has finally launched. There are two iterations: One for Ask.com in the form of another right side option. The other within Bloglines.com. The Ask.com blogs and feeds search is directed more towards general users. The Bloglines versions offers more advanced options for “prosumers” as Kaushal Kurapati from Ask.com called them in our preview call.

    Key features include the use of Ask.com “expert rank” which breaks the web into communities and defines subject specific link popularity. This is combined with Bloglines.com subscription data to determine relevance in blog and feed search results.

    Another key feature is the quality of content. Ask.com Blogs and Feeds search is available in 20 languages with 4-6 million articles indexed per day. There are 1.5 billion articles indexed overall. Blogs and feeds that are indexed only include the feeds that Bloglines users have subscribed to.

    In the Ask.com blog and feed search results, the binoculars preview option is listed below the search results snippet along with drop down menu options for subscribing to the feed with your favorite feed readers. Another drop down menu lists popular social bookmarking services.

    So far I like Ask Blogs and Feeds search. The search results are a lot more relevant than Sphere. It will be interesting to see how it compares to Technorati, Feedster and Google Blog Search though. Those services are not limited to a certain subscriber base like Bloglines, but they also have issues with blog spam. It’s a bit of a tradeoff.

    Looks like the Ask blog search feature is under a bit of a heavy load right now. Hopefully they’ll be doing better in the am.
    [Update: I just tried again and the blog and feed search is working just fine.]

    Michael Arrington has a post on Ask.com blog search over at TechCrunch where he shares his thoughts on the issues of relevancy with blog search. Ask.com has posted their own blog and feed search details as well.


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Ask.com Blog and Feed Search | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Ask.com Blog and Feed Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/05/askcom-blog-and-feed-search/feed/ 3
    Barry Diller Keynote at SES NY 2006 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/03/barry-diller-keynote-at-ses-ny-2006/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/03/barry-diller-keynote-at-ses-ny-2006/#comments Fri, 03 Mar 2006 23:01:51 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/03/barry-diller-keynote-at-ses-ny-2006/ Photo Credit Jim Boykin Keynote presentation at Search Engine Strategies New York with Danny Sullivan and Barry Diller of IAC. Diller’s company acquired Ask Jeeves in 2005, now rebranded as Ask.com. Diller: I have always liked Ask.com. I just felt they needed to drop the Butler (drop baggage). The butler limited the opportunity for Ask.com [...]

    The post Barry Diller Keynote at SES NY 2006 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>

    Photo Credit Jim Boykin

    Keynote presentation at Search Engine Strategies New York with Danny Sullivan and Barry Diller of IAC. Diller’s company acquired Ask Jeeves in 2005, now rebranded as Ask.com.

    Diller: I have always liked Ask.com. I just felt they needed to drop the Butler (drop baggage). The butler limited the opportunity for Ask.com as a mass market player in search. He does not intend to change the “Ask” brand.

    If it’s like everyone else, it doesn’t have a reason for being. Like when he started Fox, Diller didn’t want to make another of the same big networks. He Wanted to make something different.

    Ask is differentiated by the way it works from the other engines. Market share doesn’t matter, relevancy does. Diller invites people to try Ask.com and see for themselves.

    Diller: “We lost a fat butler, we’re not going to gain a fat butterfly.”

    On incentives for searching.
    Danny: “You’re already doing that with iWon.”
    Diller: You’ve got to be in it for the long haul. It’s not action-reaction advertising. In the end people will say, “There are things here that I like.” Diller reiterates that he is in it for the long haul and not looking for quick popularity. Ask.com will drive awareness in a variety of ways, but not be limited to advertising.

    Diller: “If the product is good and worthy, somthing happens.”

    Danny: Does Ask look at Microsoft as a 3rd place player worth going after?
    Diller: The history of Ask is not a global search player. It’s roots are in natural language search. “We’re ready to compete.”

    Danny: Does Ask need a mission statement?
    Diller: “Be Evil” audience laughs. As a mantra, “Do no Evil is a bit pretentious and more appropriate for a non-business entity. One slogan does not make sense.

    Danny: What’s going to happen with Ask and China?
    Diller: We have R&D in China now and we’re working on a local search engine. Censorship in China has been “over-mediated”. If you’re going to function in another country, then you need to follow their rules.

    Diller explains that he has several businesses operating in China. A company needs to understand what it’s like to operate in another country. If there are constraints that do not allow a company to operate as it should, then it shouldn’t be there.

    Danny: Privacy has been an issue with search engines recently. The U.S. government has asked other search engines for data. How would Ask respond?
    Diller: We (companies that collect data) have an absolute obligation to protect information on people. Privacy is absolute.

    Danny: How do you manage so many companies that might compete?
    Diller: We have been collecting vertical data for 10 years. When it can be used to improve user experience, we will use it. But we will not use it otherwise.

    Danny: How does search measure up to your other initiatives?
    Diller: What intrigues me about search is that it is interactive. Search is another language.

    Diller had a relevation about what was possible with a screen and dove into it (Internet).

    Danny: How does Ask fit in?
    Diller: I instantly liked it. We first thought about whether search engines could damage other IAC businesses. Is there opportunity? We decided a search engine would be a good fit and purchased Ask shortly after.

    Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask comes up on stage to present some of the new features recently launched.

    Objectives for the new version of Ask and dropping the butler:
    Recent changes serve as a culmination of enhancement developments the Ask team has been working on and presented in an un-cluttered way.

    Lanzone shows the toolbox on the right side of the Ask home page. Dictionary is the most popular type of search at Ask. Ask tools are editable.


    New Maps Product – Has cool Ajax powered drag and move feature. Ask has built up driving directions and itinerary functionality. Calculates driving directions on the fly as you point to new destinations. The map overlay does not use satellite images, it uses aerial views with better resolution.
    Directions for driving and also for walking are available. You can also “play” back your directions activity.

    Diller: We have made major investment in Ask and we’re in it for the long term.

    Danny: Do you think there are enough voices in search?
    Diller: No

    Diller emphasizes the long term and that making Ask a top tier player will not happen overnight. “If the idea is good, the world allows it to come into the DNA. It feels more natural than trying to hammer it in via advertising”, says Diller.

    Danny: Other search engines are working on off-PC search. What does search convergence mean to Ask?
    Diller: It doesn’t matter what the “screen” is. New technology/convergence is close, but not yet.


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Barry Diller Keynote at SES NY 2006 | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Barry Diller Keynote at SES NY 2006 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/03/barry-diller-keynote-at-ses-ny-2006/feed/ 2
    Ask.com Code Red Stormtroopers http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/02/askcom-code-red-stormtroopers/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/02/askcom-code-red-stormtroopers/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2006 14:39:37 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/02/askcom-code-red-stormtroopers/ Last night the Ask.com party named Code Red was full of interesting people and a few stormtroopers here and there. Lots of LOUD music and celebration of Ask.com and the retirement of the butler as well. I didn’t get a shot of it, but they had the Ask butler displayed as if frozen in a [...]

    The post Ask.com Code Red Stormtroopers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    storm trooper

    Last night the Ask.com party named Code Red was full of interesting people and a few stormtroopers here and there. Lots of LOUD music and celebration of Ask.com and the retirement of the butler as well. I didn’t get a shot of it, but they had the Ask butler displayed as if frozen in a big hunk of metal, ala Han Solo in Star Wars. There’s a photo of that on Names@Work blog.
    I’ve never seen so many red wigs in one place. But then again, the party was themed “Code Red”. Nice job to Ask.com and their PR team

    I’d like to say thank you to the people who have somehow recognized me and came up to say hi. It’s great to meet people in person and to get feedback. Jim has some good thoughts about the fun of networking at SES events.

    After seeing Rand’s new site/blog design at SEOMoz and getting a sneak peek at Aaron Wall’s new SEOBook design, I’ve become even more motivated to get the design of this blog to the next level. Big changes are in store.

    On an unrelated note, my bag has finally arrived!  I dropped some serious coin at Saks last night 5 min before closing time because I had no idea if my garmet bag would ever be found,  going by the feedback I was getting from Northwest (Minneapolis office did their best to be helpful) and the pure LACK of response from the folks at JFK.

    Now it’s time to get back to covering the SES conference. Be sure to visit Search Engine Roundtable for in depth SES posts.


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Ask.com Code Red Stormtroopers | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Ask.com Code Red Stormtroopers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/02/askcom-code-red-stormtroopers/feed/ 3
    Ask Sans Butler http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/02/ask-sans-butler/ Mon, 27 Feb 2006 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/02/ask-sans-butler/ IAC’s Ask.com has launched the new, clean version of their site sans butler today. New features include: A new homepage design The Ask.com Toolbox, a new feature on the homepage that provides shortcuts to more than 20 search tools New and improved Maps and Driving Directions Encyclopedia search Web-based Desktop search The “edit tools” feature [...]

    The post Ask Sans Butler appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    IAC’s Ask.com has launched the new, clean version of their site sans butler today. New features include:

    • A new homepage design
    • The Ask.com Toolbox, a new feature on the homepage that provides shortcuts to more than 20 search tools
    • New and improved Maps and Driving Directions
    • Encyclopedia search
    • Web-based Desktop search

    The “edit tools” feature is pretty slick actually.

    Requisite press release quote:

    “Today’s launch is a pivotal moment in our history, ensuring a well-known and much-loved search engine continues at the forefront of the evolution of the Internet search market,” concluded Lanzone. “With the new Ask.com, coupled with the backing of our parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp, we have developed a platform for the future of search where new search tools and content will be increasingly integrated within the search engine to meet consumer demand.”

    This is a good move for Ask.com. While Google is doing no evil (right) and Yahoo is doing it’s media thing and Microsoft is playing catchup, Ask.com continues to focus on making itself better. Not that the other engines aren’t doing that too, but Ask.com seems to be less distracted.


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2006. | Ask Sans Butler | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Ask Sans Butler appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    SES Chicago: Q&A on Links with the Search Engines http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/12/ses-chicago-qa-on-links-with-the-search-engines/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/12/ses-chicago-qa-on-links-with-the-search-engines/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2005 22:25:21 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/12/ses-chicago-qa-on-links-with-the-search-engines/ I had some distractions earlier in the day and did not get to blog any of the pre-lunch sessions. So here’s the first post-lunch session:  Links Q/A with Search Engines moderated Detlev Johnson from PositionTech.  This session is a combination of short presenations followed up with Questions and Answers. Speakers include:  Kaushal Kurapati – Ask [...]

    The post SES Chicago: Q&A on Links with the Search Engines appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    I had some distractions earlier in the day and did not get to blog any of the pre-lunch sessions. So here’s the first post-lunch session:  Links Q/A with Search Engines moderated Detlev Johnson from PositionTech.  This session is a combination of short presenations followed up with Questions and Answers.

    Speakers include:  Kaushal Kurapati – Ask Jeeves, Charles Martin – Google, Tim Mayer – Yahoo, Ramez Naam – MSN.

    Detlev announces a part this evening sponsored by WebmasterRadio, Bruce Clay, PositionTech, TrueLocal and NY Times.  This is kind of funny: Tim Mayer takes a photo from the podium of Barry Schwartz blogging from the front row.

    First up was Kaushal Kurapati from Ask Jeeves to talk about how links work with Ask Jeeves.

    Links from high quality pages are best.

    How Ask works:

    1. Search the index to collect and calculate global information
    2. Break the index into communities
    3. Collect and calculate local subject specific information.
    4. Apply all pertinent global and local information

    What this means is get popular in your subject area, not global.

    Be cautious of buying links. Overnight surge in link popularity is a red flag.  Do not engage in reciprocal links.  Avoid link farms, artificial link popularity. It’s easy for search engines to lose trust in a site, but difficult to get it back.

    What to do:
    Link to authority. Become an authority on a subject.

    Ensure the site architechture allows the site to be spidered and that the content is search engine friendly.

    ==

    Next up is Charles Martin from Google, a Software Engineer who works in search quality area. This is his first speaking gig at SES.

    Links are a proxy for human judgement.

    Relevance = PageRank + Hypertext Analysis
    – PageRank algorithm rates reputable pages higher

    Links are votes for your page.

    When you put your links together, try to "channel the user", "be the user".  Use Anchor text that is meaningful to the destination web page.

    People linking to you:
    Encourage related sites to link to you
    Use unique relevant content to attract links

    Avoid reciprocal links

    Linking to others:  You can’t control who links to you, but you can control who YOU link to.
    Link to sites that are useful to users. Link deep.

    Where to put links:

    • Where useful to users
    • Cross browser
    • Static text links best
    • Dashes not underscores
    • Not too many paramerters
    • Short and legible
    • Cannonical

    Backlink Obsession:  Every hour you spend obsessing on backlinks an not on good content, is an hour wasted.

    Shows Google sitemaps that has a tool that shows how many urls are crawled and any errors.

    ==

    Next up is Tim Mayer from Yahoo.

    Link building is overemphasized. Great content will get links organically. Make tools and useful resources and people will link to it.

    Link popularity has been a strong ranking feature for a while, and Yahoo is looking at ways to get away from that. Yahoo has been looking at social search, communities, and tags as a way to rank paegs.

    Linking Strategies:

    • Make links related to content. Help user to find to users related information.
    • Add unique and useful content that invites others to link to your site
    • Use appropriate and specific anchor text to describe linked to content. (NOT "click here")
    • Don’t use link exchanges or buy links

    Yahoo Site Explorer – You can access pages and inbound links to a site.  Site explorer was created for the SEO audience.

    New features:
    Added internal link filter to LINK: command
    RSS and Atom feed submissions report – this augments the multiple url via txt file and single url submit

    Tim shows Search Information and Contacts page – to get a site reviewed for reinclusion. Don’t link unrelated content.

    ==

    Last up is Ramez Naam from MSN Search.

    Why do search engines use links?
    1. The link structure of the web helps SEs understand the
    2. Links are good lables, "anchor text"

    If you engage in tactics that do not reflect the user’s benefit you are at risk.

    ==

    Q/A with Search Engines:

    Question from Andrew Goodman:  What would you do to distinguish intentional Google bombing.
    Tim (Yahoo):  If there’s a 1000 links coming into a site and the anchor text is all the same, that’s not human effort. You should be asking for links and the linking site picks the text.
    Kaushal (Ask): It’s fairly easy to detect most manipulations.

    Question from Barry: Tim said there’s too much focus on linking and not on content. Why have the other search engines not build similar tools?
    Tim (Yahoo): Site Explorer is for SEOs, to reduce the query load on their front end.

    Question:  Has a content site, 10,000’s of pages and wants to do more deep linking. Will those links deep benefit up and across?
    Rameez (MSN): If your deep pages link to each other there will be some benefit to them when linked from external pages.
    Charles (Google):  Getting deep links is not a problem. What could be a problem is of all the pages of your site link to each other will make the site look like a blur.

    Question: For the most part, no canonical problem. Most links go to main url. However, they do use newsletters, RSS feeds, etc with variables. Those urls get picked up by other sites. Will a link to those dirty urls pass value?
    Tim (Yahoo):  Keep it simple. Try to let the SE know that it’s the same page.
    Charles (Google): Sounds like your content page would have 2 urls. One plain, one with variables. You can redirect the variable url to the static url to get. Says that the site will get credit for the vote either way.

    Question: What’s the best way to let the search engines know about new content.
    Ramez (MSN): If you have good content, people will link to it organically.
    Tim (Yahoo): Get a site that is already indexed to link to you.
    Kaushal (Ask): Get into DMOZ and crawler friendly.
    Charles (Google): Best way to get links is organically – through blogs, etc.

    Detlev (Moderator): A site can be indexed pretty quickly. I had a new site (SearchReturn.com) indexed quickly by getting linked by a blogger in this room. Detlev is looking at me when he says this and we’ve traded emails about it, but Barry might have also linked to him.

    Question: It’s been mentioned to keep query string values small, but how small?  
    Tim (Yahoo): When a search engine looks at your site, url length is an issue when it has a lot of variables because it’s likely to be a duplicate. Making urls look static, will make the search engine more confident it’s a good url. Also limit the number of directory levels to 3 or 4.

    Question:  With the Google sitemap, is there a limit?
    Charles (Google): Yes there are limits. 50,000 urls, 50 site maps. However, the current beta may not support that many. Look to the online documentation for exact numbers.

    Question:  For a niche category, once you’ve exhausted relevant links, where else can you get links?  Tim (Yahoo):  Geographic, but be careful of creating a link network.

    Question: Do you penalize when another (bad/spam) site points to me?
    Tim (Yahoo): You can’t control who points to you. But, bad sites often link to bad sites. We’re not going to ban you, but make sure your site is clean. You shouldn’t get banned, but if you do – you can get your site reviewed.
    Charles (Google): If bad sites link to you, hold fast.

    Question: Insurance company – agents all have web sites.
    Ramez (MSN):  They do look at how many sites per domain, per ip.

    Question: Is there a penalty for using the add url form?
    Ramez (MSN): No
    Tim (Yahoo): No
    Charles (Google): I would be stunned to hear using the submit url form would be poorly received.

    Question:  You say too many links too fast. How many is too many and how fast is too fast?
    Charles (Google): If you get a lot of links all with the same anchor text, that’s the issue.
    Tim (Yahoo): It depends on the industry. Look at other sites in the same industry and how many links they have.  

    Question: Are other search engines looking at adding a feature like Google SiteMaps
    Tim (Yahoo):  Yahoo has a multiple url submit option.

    My battery died again. This won’t happen again!  Only 3 more questions or so. Barry also covered this session.

    Tags: SES Chicago, Link Building, Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask Jeeves, Search Engine Strategies


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2005. | SES Chicago: Q&A on Links with the Search Engines | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post SES Chicago: Q&A on Links with the Search Engines appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/12/ses-chicago-qa-on-links-with-the-search-engines/feed/ 2
    Search Engine Thanksgiving http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/11/search-engine-thanksgiving/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/11/search-engine-thanksgiving/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2005 16:35:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/11/search-engine-thanksgiving/ Here’s a very happy online marketing Thanksgiving to you. Here are a few logos from search engines: I guess MSN Search isn’t in the Thanksgiving spirit, or they just don’t get into the seasonal logo changes. Happy Thanksgiving to Online Marketing Blog readers! Lee Odden Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to theTopRank® Online Marketing [...]

    The post Search Engine Thanksgiving appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    Here’s a very happy online marketing Thanksgiving to you. Here are a few logos from search engines:

    Google Thanksgiving

    Yahoo Thanksgiving

    I guess MSN Search isn’t in the Thanksgiving spirit, or they just don’t get into the seasonal logo changes.

    Happy Thanksgiving to Online Marketing Blog readers!

    Lee Odden


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2005. | Search Engine Thanksgiving | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Search Engine Thanksgiving appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/11/search-engine-thanksgiving/feed/ 3
    Ask Jeeves Integrates GoFish Multimedia Search http://www.toprankblog.com/2005/11/ask-jeeves-integrates-gofish-multimedia-search/ Tue, 22 Nov 2005 15:25:00 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=734 Ask Jeeves will be integrating GoFish’s multimedia search technology into www.ask.com. The first phase of the integration is live allowing Ask Jeeves users to listen, browse, purchase, and download music, video, podcasts, audio books, movies, music videos, and ringtones. Ask Jeeves is the first major search engine to partner with GoFish for multimedia content. With [...]

    The post Ask Jeeves Integrates GoFish Multimedia Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>
    Ask Jeeves will be integrating GoFish’s multimedia search technology into www.ask.com.

    The first phase of the integration is live allowing Ask Jeeves users to listen, browse, purchase, and download music, video, podcasts, audio books, movies, music videos, and ringtones.

    Ask Jeeves is the first major search engine to partner with GoFish for multimedia content. With estimates on entertainment related searches at 20%, multi media content represents a relevant and growing market.

    Tags: gofish, ask.com, multimedia search, search engine


    Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
    TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

    © Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2005. | Ask Jeeves Integrates GoFish Multimedia Search | http://www.toprankblog.com

    The post Ask Jeeves Integrates GoFish Multimedia Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

    ]]>