Lee Odden

MSN Start.com v3.0

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

MSN web blog mentioned today that version 3 of start.com was made live. Scoble mentioned something on Friday also. You’re supposed to take a quiz to see the actual interface, presumably using MSN search to find the answers. I think that’s an odd decision actually. Why create an obstacle (even though it’s minor) to viewing something you’re announcing?

This 3rd iteration is definitely an improvement. What’s kind of cool is that when you click on any link, a window hovers over the “dashboard” so you can still see what’s behind. I am guessing it’s Ajax that’s enabling that feature – cool. It’s still not Bloglines by any means, but it’s great to see MSN making progress.

Lee Odden

Google Targets BtoB

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Google recently engaged in a study with Millward Brown that polled 900 respondents to show how search advertising is more effective than ads in trade magazines and other traditional business-to-business media according to AdWeek’s IQ Interactive.

Findings of the poll:

  • Search engines were used 30% more frequently than trade periodicals in the research phase of the buying cycle
  • Search engines were used 21% more frequently than the b-to-b press in the consideration phase
  • Search engines were used 62% more in the final purchase phase

Google now shows AdWords ads on business publications including VNU, Reed Business, Hanley Wood and Ziff Davis Media.

Lee Odden

Google updates papers and webmaster guidelines

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Have lots of time on your hands and want to learn more about how Google works? Read these Publications related to Google technology

As alluded to in the recent Webmaster World “Questions for GoogleGuy” thread, Google has updated its webmaster guidelines via SEW Blog

  • Have other relevant sites link to yours.
  • Submit a sitemap as part of our Google Sitemaps (Beta) project. Google Sitemaps uses your sitemap to learn about the structure of your site and to increase our coverage of your webpages.
  • Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.

Looks like relevant links are pretty important. Always a good reference, check out Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Lee Odden

Google Inclusion Program – Google Sitemaps

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Maybe it’s not a guaranteed inclusion program, but Google has launched a new experimental service that will work with the regular crawl to add web pages to it’s index.

Details available on:

Details from Google:

Google Sitemaps is an easy way for you to help improve your coverage in the Google index. It’s a collaborative crawling system that enables you to communicate directly with Google to keep us informed of all your web pages, and when you make changes to these pages.

With Google Sitemaps you get:

Lee Odden

The Search Engine Marketing Kit

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Anyone in the SEO industry has most likely heard of the new search engine marketing book by search marketing veteran, Dan Thies of SEO Research Labs. However there’s a lot of newbies out there and search marketing is growing fast.

I’ve had a loooong time to review the book and here are my thoughts:

Published through SitePoint books, this comprehensive 300 page book and accompanying CD offer a wealth of useful information to both newcomers and seasoned search engine marketing professionals.

The book covers the gamut of topics for marketing through search engines including:

  • Understanding how search engines work
  • Basic and advanced SEO
  • Search engine friendly web design
  • Pay per click and paid inclusion
Lee Odden

GoogleGuy Answers Google Bourbon Update Questions

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Brett Tabke of Webmaster World has set up a “Questions for GoogleGuy” thread for webmasters to ask questions concerning the current Google “Bourbon” update.

GoogleGuy responds to many questions in the thread, too many to list here. I highly suggest you take a look.

However, I can’t resist a few interesting comments:

I’ve been aching for a long time to mention somewhere official that sites shouldn’t use “&id=” as a parameter if they want maximal Googlebot crawlage

“we only export new visible PageRanks every 3-4 months or so”

I recommend absolute links instead of relative links, because there’s less chance for a spider (not just Google, but any spider) to get confused.

“My opinion is that spam is getting hit faster, and that for the rest of this year, it will continue to get harder to spam.”

Lee Odden

Google Rater Hub – Search Quality Program

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Henk van Ess’s Search Bistro was slashdotted in it’s first post today. He includes information of Google’s search results quality program at eval.google.com in a post called, Google Secret Lab

There’s a flash movie showing some screen shots along with a link to a rater job description at Monster.com.

To be honest, there’s nothing really that exciting here, other than it’s not readily available information. The fact that Google has people checking search results along with algorithm updates is a good thing.

This was also mentioned on Threadwatch

Lee Odden

Yahoo and Google Search Engine Updates

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Yahoo and Google are making updates.

Yahoo! – Big Yahoo! SERP Update Reported
“I tend to believe that this is not the real update and that we can expect something larger in the next two to three weeks. But I can be wrong.” via SERoundtable.com

Google – Update Bourbon is not over!
“According to Googleguy over on WMW, Here’s the advice that I’d give now: take a break from checking ranks for several more days. Bourbon includes something like 3.5 improvements in search quality, and I believe that only a couple are out so far. The 0.5 will go out in a day or so, and the last major change should roll out over the next week or so. Then there will still be some minor changes after that as well. So my “weather report” along the lines of http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000095.html would be a recommendation that rankings may still change somewhat over the next several days. ” via SEO Scoop

Lee Odden

Favorite SEO Blogs

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Rand at SEOMoz has posted a poll regarding favorite SEO Blogs on SEOChat.

Some of the top resources in the SEO industry are included in this and somehow, Online Marketing Blog got in there! Thanks Rand!!

Here’s the list of SEO blogs for voting. I’ve added some additional information on each:

www.seo-scoop.com – Dazzlin Donna, performs SEO on her own sites and her blog offers excellent insight into a SEO practioner. Practical observations and tools are offered daily.

www.searchenginelowdown.com – Andy Beal, VP Marketing for giant SEO firm, KeywordRanking. This blog focuses on SEO news of the day.

www.seroundtable.com – Barry Schwartz, President of RustyBrick Web Dev firm, and all around happenin guy when it comes to SEO. A moderator at several SEO forums, Barry covers SEO news, practical tools and observations and tracks notable threads from SEO forums.

Lee Odden

Blog search engine submissions

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

As I’ve been noticing an increase in forum activity in RSS and blog threads, several people are asking how to promote their blog/RSS feed. There are many options to this as there are with SEO, but one useful resource concerns submissions to Blog and RSS feed search engines and directories:

Here’s a list of blog and RSS search engine submit urls that might be useful:

Blog Catalog
Blog Universe
Globe of Blogs
RSS – Feeds4all.com
RSS – IceRocket
This is NOT a comprehensive list, it’s just one of my bookmark categories. There are many others and you can also use paid services like RSS Submit.

Lee Odden

New Buyer’s Guide to SEM – SEO Firms

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Marketing Sherpa has published their new guides to SEO firms and SEM agencies today.

As in last year’s report, TopRank Online Marketing was the only Minnesota based SEO firm included.

If you’re considering hiring an SEO firm or Paid Search Ad agency, these guides can help you:

  1. Easily compare and contrast 126 SEO firms and 60 Paid Search Ad agencies (in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia & New Zealand) to pick the right one for your needs.
  2. Calculate what your budget should be (before you start shopping for a provider).
  3. Weed out the wanna-bes and inept firms & agencies that are trying to make a buck on the $4 billion search marketplace but don’t really know what they are doing.
Lee Odden

Press Release RSS Feeds

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Steve Rubel notes that Google now offers a atom format feed of its press releases. His comment says it all: “It’s more efficient for journalists when PR professionals post press releases themselves in a timely matter and simultaneously generate opt-in RSS alerts.”

Danny Sullivan lists additional notes along with the feeds offered by Yahoo and MSN.

This is one of the most efficient applications of RSS and I think we’ll see a lot more on this topic over the rest of the year. In fact, I just posted about using press release RSS feeds last week with a list of applications outside the distribution of the feed itself.

As a distribution format, RSS feeds are perfect for press releases, newsletters and article marketing. Benefits range from unfiltered and near real time updates to subscribers as well as a method of improving link popularity and search engine rankings.