Lee Odden

Google Checking Automated Submissions

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

I noticed today that Google is now checking for automated web site submissions on the Google add URL form. When submitting a site Google has added an optional field to enter in a string of characters that dynamically displays on each visit to the page in order to distinguish from manual and automated submissions.

This is fairly new as the Google cache of that page from yesterday does not show the extra form.

Recently it was also reported that Google search engine ranking checkers were being presented with the same type of form.

So is Google tightening up the general access to some of it’s services? If Google is getting hit pretty hard with a large number of automated queries, it makes sense. I am curious where else this feature will show up on Google.

Lee Odden

Yahoo! IE Toolbar Detects RSS Feeds

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Yahoo! Search blog has posted that the Yahoo! Toolbar for IE will now detect RSS and Atom feeds just like the Firefox version does.

To make this work, you need to have the v5.6 of the Yahoo! toolbar installed. Then you need to make sure the My Yahoo option is selected under your personal options and that you’re logged in to Yahoo.

Once that’s all done visit a site that has the proper autodiscovery tag for a RSS or Atom feed in place, a blue button will appear in your toolbar. Click on that to add the feed to your My Yahoo! reader.

I appreciate the added feature, but I enjoy the freedom of adding feeds without logging in myself – as in Firefox + Sage.

Lee Odden

MSN RSS Aggregator start.com

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

MSN News Reader
MSN RSS Aggregator

I was being interviewed for an article on RSS marketing yesterday afternoon when our discussion turned to why Microsoft doesn’t offer a (RSS) news aggregator? We agreed that Microsoft seems behind on the search front lately. Microsoft is experiencing bad search karma lately with SES NYC and their marketing program.

Well, here’s a positive turn: This morning I discovered they ARE working on a RSS aggregator via SiliconBeat and Scoble. Here’s the announcement.

I’ve been trying it out and it seems to work pretty well. The site offers Web, News and Images search with pre-defined categories including: Business, Entertainment, Health, News, Science & Tech and Sports. Plus you can add your own content/feeds.

Lee Odden

Better than Personalized Google News

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

There’s been a bit of coverage on personalized Google news today, and it seems to work well. You can rearrange sections of content and customize based on keywords.

MSNBC Newsbot offers some degree of news personalization for local information and stocks.

Topix.net is another good news source but does not offer page or content personalization outside of entering your zip code for local news.

Yahoo News offers no personalization but does offer RSS feeds.

What I think is even better than these news services in regards to personalization is Findory.com. You can search news, blogs or the web. What’s unique is that the site filters content displayed according to the links you click on. Here’s an explanation from the site on how it works:

Lee Odden

Eye Tracking Search Results

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Marketing Sherpa recently published their findings from a study on the effectiveness of landing pages using eye tracking software to create heatmaps. A Landing Page Handbook for increasing conversions for landing pages results from the study which includes 59 samples from real-life campaigns.

At the Search Engine Strategies conference in NYC last week, Enquiro announced the results of their research in conjunction with Did-it.com and Eyetools.

Fundamentally the results are pretty obvious. Top ranked organic search results get the most attention. What’s interesting is that viewing patterns form an “F” shape aligned with the upper left of the search results page. What’s also very interesting is the dismal lack of activity on the right side in the sponsored links or PPC ads area.

Lee Odden

Google clustering

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

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.

Lee Odden

Audio Interview: Online PR, Blog & RSS Marketing

Lee Odden     Online 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.

Lee Odden

Yahoo Offers SEO Tips

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

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.”

Lee Odden

Internet news, blogs and RSS marketing

Lee Odden     Online 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.

Lee Odden

Yahoo! Search revisited

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

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.

Lee Odden

Google Desktop Search out of beta

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

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.

Lee Odden

SES NYC post mortem

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

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.