Archive for search engine

Jul
31

Yahoo and Microsoft Again

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I have been trying to avoid this issue for quite sometime. Although the impact of the two collaborating on search will affect the Web development and Web hosting world , it seems to me that there are quite a few pundits and journalists out the who have already covered this at length.

However, I think some of them are looking only at the service of the deal and not at the some of the additional benefits to Microsoft or Yahoo (especially Yahoo since their stocks plummeted).

Wall street was very disappointed with the deal since Yahoo doesn’t get any cash up front, but I think it should be known that Yahoo didn’t loose anything therefore didn’t really sell anything therefore not getting a paycheck at the beginning is inconsequential. What they received was a partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft will outsource their search engine and advertising technology to Yahoo. Microsoft gains additional traffic, Yahoo can free up resources for use elsewhere.

A bigger audience doesn’t just mean that Microsoft and Yahoo will gain money through advertising, what it also means is that Microsoft can garner valuable research and can even use Yahoo (or perhaps Bing since Bing will have the smaller audience) as a test bed for developing new search features. Realistically, Microsoft and Yahoo know that this deal won’t unseat Google as the number 1 search engine juggernaut, but what it does do is give both companies the ability to become more competitive down the road.

Yahoo, for instance, can take the money they were using before for search engine R&D and move it into developing tools, APIs, platforms for their user base, etc. Or, they could use that money to research a better search engine without being under the gun to release new updates to the public. 10 years down the road when the partnership ends Yahoo would then have a search engine platform with 10 years of R&D in it. They could also simply pocket the money, save on the expense to increase their profits.

This is not some scheme to try to get number 1 in search engines quick. This is a long term strategy for mutual improvement of two companies in hopes of the eventually unseating of Google as the king of search engines.

Categories : Commentary
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Whenever someone creates a search engine the very first things out of someone’s mouth is, “its a Google Killer.” Sad to say, for those who want a Google Killer, this ain’t it. Be that as it may, I have been fooling around with the Wolfram Alpha search engine for some time now and in many ways I am impressed.

First, interface. I like the output pages a lot. I like how it gives you an interpretation of what you wrote since it allows you to see what you screwed up if the search fails… and fail you will.

The hardest part I hear some people have is getting use to the search query. Well honestly, this is not the type of search engine you will use to grab web sites. It is however, a search engine to grab facts. Such as if you type July 1 Canada, Wolfram Alpha will send you back things such as the format for the date, time difference between today and July 1st, sunrise/sunset times for Ottawa, Canadian holidays for the 1st, etc.

But if I type in something such as “how to make chicken soup,” I get an error. If I type that same line in Google, the first return I get is WikiHow, How to Make Chicken Soup: 10 steps. However, if I type in “canned chunky chicken soup” into WolframAlpha I get the average nutrition content of all canned chunky chicken soups, WolframAlpha has in its database.

Wolfram is meant to be a search engine for all factual data in the world. I read recently that it doesn’t handle sports. So I put it to the test. How will I test for factual data for sports? Easy I will ask for baseball stats, if there is any game more meticulous or analytical on its stat keeping than baseball I haven’t heard of it. I typed in Babe Ruth average ERA (since he was a pitcher at the beginning of his career) and I got nothing. I typed in Babe Ruth homeruns still nothing. I typed in just Babe Ruth and I got back his full name, date and place of birth, and date and place of death.

But type in Internet users and it will spit back the estimated total amount of Internet users in the world, the country with the most and the country with the least among other things.

Wolfram won’t be able to tell you who hit more than 30 homeruns in 1947, but it can solve a variety of mathematic equations. Likewise it won’t be able to tell you how to cook chicken soup, but it will tell you the average nutritional information of it. Wolfram is pretty cool for fooling around, but in its current state it remains nothing more than an idle curiosity.

To have a stab at it yourself go here http://www.wolframalpha.com.

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Apr
08

10 Practices for Achieving SEO Success

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Search Engine Optimization covers a broad range of topics and is one of the essential parts of getting traffic to your web site. For business and e-commerce sites this can be the crucial step between making a profit and having to close down your doors.

Although there are a variety practices, far more than what I list here, these are the ten that have helped me and, though mileage may vary, I’m fairly confident they will help you.

  1. Be Mentally Prepared
  2. There are NO Magic Wands
  3. Never Stop Searching for Keywords
  4. Never Stop Searching for Negative Keywords
  5. Never be Satisfied
  6. Always Group Like Terms Together
  7. Take the Time to Learn the Material
  8. Search Your Log Files and Stat Data to Find Keywords
  9. Learn the Keywords of your Competitors
  10. Prioritize Key Terms by How Well They Help YOUR Site

Normally I explain each of these step by step but I think today I am just going to lump it all together.

SEO is not so difficult an activity that only a few people can manage. The concepts are fairly straight forward. However, you must be mentally prepared, just because they are not difficult does not mean it is not challenging. For instance we all know we need to find key terms that suit our sites, that concept is easy and fairly common sense. But how do you do that? I start with the focus of my site. I then take some time developing how I would want to get my site from a search engine. After that I go through my log files and see how others got to my site. Lastly, I go through my marketing information and look at my competitors and see what search terms they are doing well in. That is a start.

SEO tools are not magic wands. They are all there to pick up a basic function of SEO work and reduce the amount of time you spend on them. For instance, some tedious things are expanding your keywords. Some tools allow you to type in (or import) your keywords and then it will make suggestions. Some are pretty good, others are really horrid. It will take time to train the tools to your site such that they will constantly give you decent suggestions.

If you are running any sort of PPC campaign then you will need negative keywords, you will need to group like terms together, and you will need to learn which key terms work best for your site. Negative key terms allow you to remove those searches that are not relevant to your site and normally only come into play when doing PPC ad campaigns. Their use gives you highly targeted traffic and therefore spending time to come up with two thousand, five thousand, etc, is a good idea. By grouping like key terms together we can use similar PPC ads to target multiple areas.

Always remember that you can never be satisfied in this and your job is never done when it comes to SEO. You might be number one on various search terms today but other sites are also improving their own rankings. Therefore you must continue finding ways to optimize your site.

Lastly, to be a success at SEO you have to be mentally prepared. It takes a lot of time and effort and since you work is never done you will have to be willing to work at it over and over again. Even on those days where it makes you sick to your stomach you still need to plug away at it. Also if a term is doing poorly or you find you are spending a huge amount of time for very small gains, knowing when to quit is another part of mental preparedness.

Good luck in your own SEO endeavors.

Categories : Marketing
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Nov
06

Yahoo Pleads for MSN Buyout

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Regulators said no to the Google/Yahoo advertising deal. Yahoo now finds itself in a difficult position. If the ad merger had gone through, Yahoo would have plenty of extra money to be able to move forward with their business plans, however with the loss of that cash and the decline in the economy Yahoo finds itself in a bad position.

So much so that they are now trying to get MSN to put their buyout offer back on the table. Well as the saying goes there has never been a better time to buy. Yahoo’s shares are just under the $14 mark and Yahoo is in a vulnerable position.

According to the Nielsen NetRatings in August, Google owns 60.0% of the search engine traffic, Yahoo 18.1%, and MSN 10.7%. Last time I said this wouldn’t go through because of government involvement but now that I look at the numbers with fresh eyes, I am more inclined to believe this will go through just fine. 28.8%, though not too pretty for the handful of search engine portals that share 11.2% between them, it is viable enough to not be considered harmful for the market.

Although personally, I would not like to see Yahoo under Microsoft, I think it would be a pretty good deal for both. History in the search engine marketplace has shown that neither company has what it takes to take down Google or even hold a candle to them.

So What’s next?

Microsoft has the luxury of waiting. They can sit on this for a bit and see how far Yahoo’s value drops, the more it drops the more desperate Yahoo gets. I think that if Microsoft doesn’t make a move by the end of the month they will probably wait for next year late January/February.

So keep your eyes posted on this. My curiosity actually hopes they do buy them out just to see what will happen in the search engine arena. Will Microhoo find ways to increase their market share? Will Google find a means to beat down the two headed beast? Will coffee prices plunge? Stay tuned! Until next time, happy hosting.

Categories : In the News
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If you use the Internet on a regular basis you are already aware that the majority of Internet traffic is generated by search engines and directories. You’ve probably surfed the web and spent hours looking for instructions on optimizing your web site and submitting to search engines and directories. Much of this information is confusing and overwhelming and I can hear you screaming for help.

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Categories : Marketing
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