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Google docs invitation share scare. A curious security oversight?

Recently we’ve been looking into using google docs to remove some of the headache of read only and lock file issues that are a frequent occurrence on network drive shares. While Google Docs is for the most part quite promising we ran into an interesting and somewhat frightening snag that we’ve since reported to Google. As with any service this large there are bound to be some oversights that turn up only in widespread use. I’ve been unable to find if this issue has already been posted elsewhere. So here’s what we found.
Security scenario:
A user creates a new Google docs document,
then sends an invitation to share this document with several email addresses via the share option,
the email containing a link to the shared document invitation is received via company email,
recipient clicks the link in the email within their mail client,
next typically you’re either prompted to log in to google docs and accept or reject the invitation to view the document, or if you’re already logged into your Gmail account it takes you straight to the accept or reject invitation screen.
You press accept and view the document.
Stop and think about that… the invitation was sent to a company email address, not a Gmail address. Shouldn’t that invitation be only for that email address? Or at least limited to the set of emails that were invited when the bulk invite was sent out?
Yet if I can get a hold of that link and put it in a browser you can log into say your personal Gmail account and get access to the same document. What we found in testing was that anyone who got a hold of the link could log into their Gmail account and still view the document.
With the amount of schools and businesses already migrated over to Google docs I’m surprised this hasn’t been resolved yet.
How big a deal is this? It really depends what’s in the document you’re sharing however anyone who can sniff out that link and sign up for a Gmail account can gain access to the document.
Whether by sniffing your network traffic packets , sniffing your mail server or mail relays, snooping via compromised machine or email account, email being forwarded to an insecure or unintended address, or a shady client even being able to take a quick photo of your screen while the URL is in view – so long as they can get that doc share invitation link and type it in their browser they can now access it via any Google docs or Gmail account they have access to even though the invite may have only been intended for joe@joesplace.com
Current workarounds:
Only send share invitations to other Gmail accounts. Google docs to Gmail communication should stay on internal Googles internal network and never go out on the web. Post the link only in secured locations.
Or instead of sending out share invitations send an email with a URL straight to the Google docs URL for the document. The user clicking the link will first have to log in to their Gmail/Google docs then will have to request access to that document before they can view it. This can be approved or denied at your discretion.
Possible Solutions?
If Google were to allow users to encrypt their email via PGP or some other means before sending the link could not be sniffed in plain text.
However the above does not really address the simpler underlying security issue that an invitation to share a document should (unless otherwise stated in bold red) only be usable by the address the invitation was sent to.
It may seem convenient that if someone sends a Google docs invite to your @business.com account you can click on the link and sign in with your personal Gmail since you don’t have Google docs tied to your @business address however that means that it’s convenient for anyone else to do so too if they can find a way to capture that link.

Yes – often these invitations are read only however imagine the bounty of company and school documents that could be quite harmful in the wrong hands – read only or not. Personal and proprietary data, exam questions, you name it. If a business has migrated to Google docs it’s all there if you can sleuth out the link.
Note: Another solution has been brought to our attention from the Google help forums:
Use Share->See who has access… Go to the Advanced permissions tab and untick both Allow editors to invite others to edit or view and Allow invitations to be forwarded , then click Save&Close.;
se Share->See who has access… and on the People with access tab make sure the general setting is Sign-in is required to view this item. Again click Save&Close.;

A quick test of these settings seems to plug the hole. However the scare remains that the default settings are quite insecure and few Google docs users are likely to be aware of the security implications of those settings.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:42 pm on March 5, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Just A Day For Awards !

For those of you who don’t know – we’re a Canadian company and as such, well – let’s just say that yesterday was a good day. :) For anyone out there who’s had a big brother who just seems to be better at almost everything and looks be be about to take the one thing you’re best at and even invented – well, you’ll know what I mean. :)

As the Olympics closed and I personally beamed at all the Gold Canada took home (or I guess “kept home” would be the correct way of saying it) I was surprised with some additional awards.

This morning when I walked into work and checked my emails I discovered that Beanstalk has been awards top 10 in the following categories by Top SEO’s:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Link Building
  • Content Creation
  • SEO Training

Thanks to everyone for making the past 2 days so very awards filled. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:58 pm on March 1, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Get Great Publicity !!!

As many of you may know – I’m doing a Webinar tomorrow at 12 EST on Longtail SEO for Ecommerce sites. To keep people interested I’m giving away great prizes, may of which have been donated. The prizes include but are not limited to an Aser netbook and 2 pro memberships from SEOmoz.

If you have some great prizes to add please feel free to contact me at dave@beanstalkseo.com before 10am PST tomorrow (Saturday) and I’ll add you to the list of prizes going out. You’ll get mentioned in the webinar and get some mentions from our blog here on Monday as well as from the Webinar website.

For more information about the Webinar or to register just head to http://www.newlifeevent.com/. Prizes should appeal to geeks, business people and/or SEO’s. Free hosting for a year, electronics, etc. are great examples.

Thanks !!!

Dave

SEO news blog post by @ 1:46 pm on February 26, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Webinar, Privacy & Google

Well, it’s been a long time since my last blog post. I apologize for this and will be working hard to try to be more active in the social world of the web. As you know – in this industry things move pretty fast and while I definitely can’t recap the last couple weeks, I can start anew with the recent going’s on – some interesting news going forward and an update on Google. First – let’s talk about what’s going on right now:

Today on Webcology (my radio show) Jim Hedger and I discussed privacy including an Italian’s court’s assertion that Google executive are responsible for the material uploaded to YouTube (yikes), an interview with the Ontario privacy commissioner, and a lengthy discussion on what should and shouldn’t be private (and who’s responsibility is it anyways – is Facebook REALLY responsible for your privacy or should YOU take a second to think about what you’re adding to a social network (key word – social) and understand that once you add it – it’s no longer private information). It was a great show and is the first in a series of interviews and information on privacy issues and concerns.

Yahoo! & Bing are finally sitting in a tree. :) The deal has been approved and Bing will soon (hopefully by the end of 2010) be feeding Yahoo! organic results and Yahoo! paid search will power Bing paid results (they hope by Q4 of 2010 but in my humble opinion it’s more likely in Q1 of 2011). Can I hear a – FINALLY !

Acer Aspire One AO532H-2676 Intel Atom N450 1GB 160GB 10.1IN WSVGA Windows 7 Starter Netbook RedAnd for those of you who are as geeky as I am – there’s a great webinar series this weekend. 30 webinars in one weekend on a wide array of topics. it’s going to be a wild ride with tons of great info and PRIZES. With reps from the major engines and great presenters such as Shawna Fennell, Stoney deGeyter, Jennifer Laycock and many many more (including your truly on Saturday at 12PM) you just know it’s going to be great. Hope to see you there and good luck winning one of the many great prized from netbooks to $5000 design packages. So get your Twitter account loaded, step in front of your favorite browser and buckle up. To register go to http://www.newlifeevent.com/.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:42 pm on February 25, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Webinar, Privacy & Google

Well, it’s been a long time since my last blog post. I apologize for this and will be working hard to try to be more active in the social world of the web. As you know – in this industry things move pretty fast and while I definitely can’t recap the last couple weeks, I can start anew with the recent going’s on – some interesting news going forward and an update on Google. First – let’s talk about what’s going on right now:

Today on Webcology (my radio show) Jim Hedger and I discussed privacy including an Italian’s court’s assertion that Google executive are responsible for the material uploaded to YouTube (yikes), an interview with the Ontario privacy commissioner, and a lengthy discussion on what should and shouldn’t be private (and who’s responsibility is it anyways – is Facebook REALLY responsible for your privacy or should YOU take a second to think about what you’re adding to a social network (key word – social) and understand that once you add it – it’s no longer private information). It was a great show and is the first in a series of interviews and information on privacy issues and concerns.

Yahoo! & Bing are finally sitting in a tree. :) The deal has been approved and Bing will soon (hopefully by the end of 2010) be feeding Yahoo! organic results and Yahoo! paid search will power Bing paid results (they hope by Q4 of 2010 but in my humble opinion it’s more likely in Q1 of 2011). Can I hear a – FINALLY !

And for those of you who are as geeky as I am – there’s a great webinar series this weekend. 30 webinars in one weekend on a wide array of topics. It’s going to be a wild ride with tons of great info and PRIZES. With reps from the major engines and great presenters such as Shawna Fennell, Stoney deGeyter, Jennifer Laycock and many many more (including your truly on Saturday at 12PM) you just know it’s going to be great. Hope to see you there and good luck winning one of the many great prized from netbooks to $5000 design packages. So get your Twitter account loaded, step in front of your favorite browser and buckle up. To register go to http://www.newlifeevent.com/.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:42 pm on

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Longtail SEO For Ecommerce

The significance of longtail keywords can be exemplified by thinking about the following two people:

Bill is a cafeteria worker who spends his spare time fishing and has heard that his favorite TV shows will look even better on on this new-fangled technology called “HDTV”. He might as well upgrade from his 20” to something a little larger while he’s at it his friends tell him (though they don’t know much more about it than he does). He sits at his computer and enters “hdtv” into the Google search box.

Steve also works in a cafeteria but is a bit more tech-savy. He has and uses a Facebook account, watches videos on YouTube and looks up information on Google when he’s looking for an answer to one of his questions. He too is interested in HDTV but decides to check out a few review sites first before making the leap. He reads a great review on CNET and likes the specs of the “Panasonic Viera TC-P50G10” and decides to look around for pricing. He heads back to Google and searches for “panasonic viera tc-p50g10” or perhaps even “buy panasonic viera tc-p50g10 online”.

The difference between these two? Other than the fact that one has a dismal likelihood of conversion and the other a high likelihood – the difficulty in attaining top rankings for the two phrases is very different as well. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for going after the generic, high-traffic phrases but ignoring the higher converting, less-work-per-conversion phrases that are easier to attain rankings for – well – that just doesn’t make good business sense does it?

So – how do you rank for the longtail?

We all understand that the factors of SEO are the factors of SEO. Just like any other phrases – your ability to rank is quite simply based on a combination of page strength and relevancy (yes there are tons of signals Google uses but they essentially break down to these two points). To affect these areas we use a combination of onsite optimization and link building. Sounds easy so far? Perfect. So let’s take a look first at onsite optimization.

Optimizing your site for the longtail

I can’t possibly cover the different technologies and how to make sure your site is crawlable. Let’s just say – the first step is to make sure that the crawlers can get to your internal pages and that strength passes down. If the crawlers can’t get through to the internal pages then you’ve got bigger problems than tweaking your content and building some links. Contact a developer immediately and get that sorted out first – then continue reading.

Once you know that the crawlers are getting through and strength is passing we move on to the actual optimization. The first thing one wants to look at it how to push the items with the highest ROI potential up in the hierarchy of your site. Let’s use Amazon as an example of how that should be done (they know a thing or two about ranking for products).

Amazon uses one of my personal favorite tactics in that they automate the process but it’s not necessary. You probably don’t have the same number of products so you can likely do manually what they have to automate but let’s look at what they’re doing and you can apply the strategy as you see fit.

If I was Amazon and I wanted to rank my site for longtail phrases I’d want to rank for the phrases that had the highest search volume and highest chances of conversions. I’d have to apply global rules to a massive site (you don’t have to – you can likely do things on a case-by-case basis but I’m sure we can all agree – Amazon cannot). So to keep the most profitable phrases high in the hierarchy but still not ignore the other longtail phrases they have created a hierarchy that puts the top product categories one hop from the homepage (Laptops & Netbooks For Example) and on that page they have links to all the major brands and uses but my favorite tactic is that they have the bestsellers. This information is easily created from their database and insures that the more popular products are two hops from the homepage and linked to with the brand and model number. At the time of this writing they have a link to the “ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005PE-MU17-BK 10.1-Inch…”. If I search “asus eee pc 1005pe-m” who do you think shows up first? Amazon.

So step one – make sure you’re linking to the product pages with the brand and model number of the item and also put the more important items higher in the hierarchy of your site. Now this doesn’t mean cram all your products on the page. You have to apply the same principles to links with onsite as you do with offsite optimization. A page has a vote. It you have a page with 10 products listed on it – each product gets 1/10 of the weight passed to it. If the page has 500 products listed on it – well, you get my point. Figure out what matters and focus there.

Of course – you don’t want to ignore the other potential phrases. You’ll notice that as well as linking to the top products in each category they link to sub pages with brands, specs, etc. This is why they rank so well for so many phrases. Well – that’s part one.

Once you’ve got the internal linking sorted out you need to follow that up with some onsite relevancy. Here we’re referring to optimized titles, descriptions, H1 tags, content, etc. I’m going to have to leave a full breakdown of onsite optimization for another article but I can discuss some of the differences you’ll encounter with longtail optimization with ecommerce sites.

With “traditional” optimization we visit a page and adjust the relevant aspects (titles, content, etc.) manually. With large ecommerce sites we need to come up with rules that apply site wide. Developing titles, descriptions and content for each and every page one-by-one is likely not an option. If you look at Amazon again you’ll see that they automate the process by using the brand, model and categories in the title, description, keywords and H1 tag. Easily automated. Through their use of automated elements (“Customers bought with …”, specs, descriptions, reviews, etc.) they are also able to insure that that the brand and model number appear on the page.

Now that works well for Amazon. They have millions of links and huge site strength. But what if you don’t have that behind you. They can build a page, put it on their site and rank. You may need to invest some of your time in link building.

Link building for longtail optimization

There are two primary aspects of link building that one needs to address when we’re looking at longtail optimization. The first is to the homepage for site strength and the other is to specific internal pages. The reason that we’ll want to link to specific internal pages is that like it or not, you’re not as strong as Amazon and so you need to build links to compete where they do not.

I’ll leave the discussion of how to build links to other articles (you know – one of the 800,000 written on the subject) however we will discuss the purpose of the links and thus you’ll understand the pattern of the link building.

The homepage links are in place to simply build overall site strength and should be geared to your generic, homepage phrases – it’s the internal links that are specifically geared to brands and models. So we’ll focus on those links in this article.

How to build links to internal pages

Building links to internal pages is virtually identical to homepage. True you can’t use directories but that’s about the only link building tactic that doesn’t apply. There are two points that you’re going to want to direct links to:

1 – the category/brand main page.

The first point you’re going to want to direct links at is the main category page and the main sub-category points of the ecommerce site. You’ll want to direct these links in with anchor text that suits the brand and/or category subject. Let’s use Amazon as an example again.

For the purpose of longtail optimization – the links we’d direct to http://www.amazon.com/Netbooks-Computers/b?ie=UTF8&node=679517011 would primarily be geared to strengthening the page. Oh I’d use anchor text geared at “netbooks” and the link but the main point is to make that page stronger and in turn – the pages it links to. These links will also get the page spidered more.

What this will do is make the links to the brands stronger but most important – the links to the top sellers stronger and more quickly picked up. This is why they rank for new products in a matter of hours.

The individual brand and usage pages are the same from this perspective./ You’ll want to optimize the pages and you’ll want to focus the links for long term gain but the short term purpose is to pass strength to the product pages.

2 – the product pages.

On top of building links to pages one level up (as we’ve just discussed) you’ll also want to build links to the individual product pages. Amazon can build a page, link to it and have it rank – you probably cannot. For products and models you know will stand the test of time – building links can be a long term strategy but not my favorite (due mainly to the fact that it’s not exciting). Personally I like building links to “Coming soon” product pages and getting them spidered before there’s any competition and then adding in the product the day it launches giving you a one-up over your competitors in both timing and strength. Heck, you might even win out over Amazon for a while. :)

Don’t overdo it in the link building. You’ve got a lot of products. Unless you know a specific product is going to be HUGE you’ll want to just build a few links and move on. You’ve got a lot of products to cover.

Moving forward

Obviously I can’t cover all the various aspects of ranking for the longtail in a single1800 word article and in fact, if I turned this into a 180 page book I’d still not be able to cover all the variables but my hope is that I’ve given you food for thought in the tactics and timing you’ll find helpful in moving forward and ranking your website for the longtail phrases that convert so well and for which you can rank so quickly if you do it right.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:40 am on

Categories:Articles,SEO Articles

 

A Sad Day For Blogger Users But Good For Beanstalk

I love Google. Before I head into my latest rant I wanted to get that out of the way as this is two posts in a row that involve me complaining about something Google is doing. Perhaps the flaw is in the way I viewed Google – as more than just a marketing company. I suppose that this means I wasn’t really paying attention when the quarterly reports came out. :)

First, let’s setup the situation …

The year is 2004 and I’ve just registered the domain beanstalk-inc.com. I like sharing information and I like adding content to our site and so as soon as the site was fully operational and our core 100-or-so pages of content ere built I worked to get a blog started with the first post appearing on March 24 of 2005 (about the AskJeeves purchase). :) When I was choosing the blog system to use the choice was pretty obvious to me. The logic went something like,

  • I want Google to crawl my blog
  • Google owns Blogger
  • Google creates the Blogger code
  • Google will thus always be able to crawl Blogger blogs
  • I think I’ll go with Blogger

I wanted to content on our site so I chose Blogger and went with their FTP option. I chose Blogger because of the FTP option. I have setup clients in Blogger because it’s run by Google and has an FTP options. Google has just announced that they will be discontinuing their FTP option. Insert expletive here.

Now, I can see their reasoning. By their count, only 0.5% of the Blogger blogs are uploaded via FTP and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of support resources HOWEVER I would counter with two point.

About 75% of all the blogs are spam and I’d bet that the ones hosted on actual domains are more likely to be legit. I may be wrong but I’d bet not. But still – if we assume that we are still left with only 2% of legit Blogger sites being uploaded via FTP. So what does that mean in numbers? I don’t have access to the most current data but let’s say – thousand upon thousands of users will feel the inconvenience and now I have to go back and appolgoize for recommending to my clients that they use Blogger and further – find a solution.

Now – I do like their sub-domain solution (they’ll host blog.beanstalk-inc.com but let’s be honest – it’s still going to cost me to go this route via lost links to existing posts and the lost weight that seems to affect 301′d links (though I’m not sure why but it does appear to happen).

At any rate – that’s my rant and stay tuned, once I figure out what we’re going to do and test it – I’ll blog about the results so if you too are caught in this mess – hopefully we’ll be able to give you a solid solution. :)

And good luck. :)

And now on to the good news …

Beanstalk has once again made the grade to be included in TopSEO’s best of the best winning awards in the following areas:

  • Optimization
  • Content Creation
  • Link Building
  • Training
  • PPC Management

A big thanks for TopSEOs and to our clients. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 4:09 pm on February 3, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Google’s Keywords Tool & Personalization

I’ve got two topics to cover today – Google’s keyword tool and Google’s personalized results. Let’s start with their keyword tool …

Google’s Keyword Tool (and my problems with it)

Today I’m not going to focus on the common question, “Is the data accurate?” It’s a good question but one which is likely, “Yes if you know how to read it.” It includes the search network so i you read it as “number of searches on Google.com” you’re wrong but if you read it as “accessing Google’s search results” you’re right. Nonetheless, that isn’t what I’m going to cover today – my issue today is what they’re displaying and what they’re not.

When one uses Google’s keyword tool one expects that the resulting data shouldn’t be tainted by Google’s personal bias towards products and/or services. But alas – it appears that either the results are biased or people’s search patterns are very different than what I would expect them to be and given that I’ve been working as an SEO for ten years – it’s doubtful that the search patterns are THAT different. Here’s an example of what I’m referring to so you can run your searches on this tool understanding that you might not see an accurate view of the world around you.

Top 20 results reported for “iphone developer” (I’ve trimmed some of the columns to make it fit this page):

Keywords related to term(s) entered
Keywords – Monthly
iphone developer – 74,000

Additional keywords to consider
Keywords – Monthly
developer – 3,350,000
resume developer – 40,500
programmer developer – 33,100
j2ee developer – 14,800
cv developer – 14,800
resumes developer – 4,400
technical developer – 4,400
developer engineer – 3,600
consultant developer – 2,900
unix developer – 2,400
developer experience – 1,600
ipone developer – 73
aple developer – 46
aplle developer – 36

Really? One of their top phrases is ipone developer and the are no additional searches at all that include the keywords iphone and developer? Oh wait – if I search “iphone app developer” it shows 3,600 estimated monthly searches so why didn’t it appear in the above search?

Now let’s look at the results for “android developer”. In this case we don’t even have to look at the “Additional keywords to consider” – there are plenty of results. They are:

android developer – 12,100
android development – 12,100
android developers – 3,600
android application development – 2,400
android developer challenge – 2,400
guide to android development – 1,900
android developer phone – 1,600
the busy coder’s guide to android development – 1,600
professional android application development – 1,300
google android development – 480
android developer g1 – 390
android development phone – 390
android software development – 390
android game development – 320
android development download – 260
development for android – 260
android developer challenge ii – 210
android developer forum – 210
android developer forum – 210
android mobile development – 210

And the list goes on from there. Wow – the android sure is popular compared to the iPhone. ;)

Another “curiosity” here is that the numbers noted above are broad match. If we go to Exact for “iphone developer” the number drops from 74,000 to 14,800. So there definitely are other searches in there – they’re just not being displayed. Hmmmmmmm.

I’ll leave the reasoning there for others to work out.

Now onto Personalization …

As many of you have noticed, Google is tracking you with cookies and providing personalized results – even when you’re not logged in. I’ve got to commend Google on this one. From a user standpoint it’s another slam dunk in that they’re providing a better search experience however from and SEO’s standpoint – it’s a nightmare as we’re always searching and augmenting our results and so we often don’t see what other do. To avoid this you can block cookies from Google but you’ll have issues with Google services such as Blogger and every their keywords tool.

I got an interesting email from the developers of a Firefox extension called Google Camo that stops personalized results but seems to allow other cookies so Google’s various services work. I’m using it right now and the machine is working great so thanks to the developers. You can read more about it and download the add on at http://www.iexposure.com/googlecamo.

Happy searching. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:07 pm on January 29, 2010

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Google’s Keywords Tool & Personalization

I’ve got two topics to cover today – Google’s keyword tool and Google’s personalized results. Let’s start with their keyword tool …

Google’s Keyword Tool (and my problems with it)

Today I’m not going to focus on the common question, “Is the data accurate?” It’s a good question but one which is likely, “Yes if you know how to read it.” It includes the search network so i you read it as “number of searches on Google.com” you’re wrong but if you read it as “accessing Google’s search results” you’re right. Nonetheless, that isn’t what I’m going to cover today – my issue today is what they’re displaying and what they’re not.

When one uses Google’s keyword tool one expects that the resulting data shouldn’t be tainted by Google’s personal bias towards products and/or services. But alas – it appears that either the results are biased or people’s search patterns are very different than what I would expect them to be and given that I’ve been working as an SEO for ten years – it’s doubtful that the search patterns are THAT different. Here’s an example of what I’m referring to so you can run your searches on this tool understanding that you might not see an accurate view of the world around you.

Top 20 results reported for “iphone developer” (I’ve trimmed some of the columns to make it fit this page):

Keywords related to term(s) entered
Keywords – Monthly
iphone developer – 74,000

Additional keywords to consider
Keywords – Monthly
developer – 3,350,000
resume developer – 40,500
programmer developer – 33,100
j2ee developer – 14,800
cv developer – 14,800
resumes developer – 4,400
technical developer – 4,400
developer engineer – 3,600
consultant developer – 2,900
unix developer – 2,400
developer experience – 1,600
ipone developer – 73
aple developer – 46
aplle developer – 36

Really? One of their top phrases is ipone developer and the are no additional searches at all that include the keywords iphone and developer? Oh wait – if I search “iphone app developer” it shows 3,600 estimated monthly searches so why didn’t it appear in the above search?

Now let’s look at the results for “android developer”. In this case we don’t even have to look at the “Additional keywords to consider” – there are plenty of results. They are:

android developer – 12,100
android development – 12,100
android developers – 3,600
android application development – 2,400
android developer challenge – 2,400
guide to android development – 1,900
android developer phone – 1,600
the busy coder’s guide to android development – 1,600
professional android application development – 1,300
google android development – 480
android developer g1 – 390
android development phone – 390
android software development – 390
android game development – 320
android development download – 260
development for android – 260
android developer challenge ii – 210
android developer forum – 210
android developer forum – 210
android mobile development – 210

And the list goes on from there. Wow – the android sure is popular compared to the iPhone. ;)

Another “curiosity” here is that the numbers noted above are broad match. If we go to Exact for “iphone developer” the number drops from 74,000 to 14,800. So there definitely are other searches in there – they’re just not being displayed. Hmmmmmmm.

I’ll leave the reasoning there for others to work out.

Now onto Personalization …

As many of you have noticed, Google is tracking you with cookies and providing personalized results – even when you’re not logged in. I’ve got to commend Google on this one. From a user standpoint it’s another slam dunk in that they’re providing a better search experience however from and SEO’s standpoint – it’s a nightmare as we’re always searching and augmenting our results and so we often don’t see what other do. To avoid this you can block cookies from Google but you’ll have issues with Google services such as Blogger and every their keywords tool.

I got an interesting email from the developers of a Firefox extension called Google Camo that stops personalized results but seems to allow other cookies so Google’s various services work. I’m using it right now and the machine is working great so thanks to the developers. You can read more about it and download the add on at http://www.iexposure.com/googlecamo.

Happy searching. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:07 pm on

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The “Truth” About Twitter

Back in my younger years (we’ll call them … about 365 days ago) I spoke out against Twitter. On my weekly radio show, in this blog, really anywhere there were Twits, I would go off on the same rant: I have enough things sucking my time away … why would I possibly use Twitter?

And then age set in and I succumbed to the pressures of the online marketing world, created a Twitter account, installed the app on my iPhone (watch for another interesting blog coming soon related to the iPhone) and was happy when more people followed me. Alas, I too was flushing more time down the proverbial toilet that could likely have been better spent on forums or (wait for this great revelation) … working or spending time with my family. Here’s where it gets truly sad – I know this and I still do it. I read stats that only 27% of tweets are useful and find that to be generous and yet still I tweet and read the tweets of other twits. You can read them at @beanstalkseo and even as I type this, I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter. That’s right – I have a problem.

It was one of my co-workers that brought to my attention a video that gives me hope. There are others like me out there and perhaps, just perhaps, we can all join a 12-step program and find help. If you hear of one – be sure to tweet it to me. Here’s the video (enjoy – it’s very funny):

http://current.com/e/89891774/en_US

SEO news blog post by @ 4:22 pm on January 26, 2010

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