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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


September 17, 2013

 

March 1, 2013

Marissa Mayer Got It Right

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!

When Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer sent out her controversial memo on February 22nd telling remote employees that they had to begin working from the office it was met with strong criticism from a large portion of the tech public. Her employees are reportedly “very upset” and even Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson weighed in on the Virgin blog insinuating that Marissa doesn’t trust her staff and that this move is a step backwards. Even J.J. Colao, CEO of oDesk, voiced in on Forbes making points from the reduced cost of remote employees to the advantages in the war for talent. They’re both wrong.

It’s Nice To Be A Founder

It’s great to be able to give your employees flexibility, and kudos to Richard for doing so, but that requires knowing your employees and them having a clear understanding of who’s in charge. In some organizations it works and one of the key ingredients for that success is right in Sir Branson’s title: Founder. He built his company from a single store. He hired people he trusted who in turn, hired people they trusted and so-forth. Marissa didn’t have this perk.

When she took over the CEO role at Yahoo! in July of 2012 she took charge of a company that had seen five CEO’s in three years, share prices at $15.65, down from the $31 Microsoft had offered in 2008 and declining market share. Something was and still is very wrong at Yahoo! It seem that Ms. Mayer didn’t have the luxury of controlling who was under her employ as Sir Branson did and, as she’s known to do, needed to make quick and decisive changes. This is what she was hired for.

Understanding Bias

Bias is an understandable trait in humans, we all have it. When Mr. Colao wrote of his concerns about the change at Yahoo! I have no doubt he was speaking in earnest, at least from his perspective. What’s important to remember however is that he, like you and I, is biased by self-interest. He’s the CEO of oDesk. oDesk is a company built on connecting people with remote contractors to fill specific roles.

Essentially, Mr. Colao has an entire company built on connecting remote workers with jobs and thus, is inherently biased against the policy enacted by Yahoo! It’s an understandable bias but we must take his opinion on the subject with a grain of salt.

Yahoo! Is Broken

I touched on it above but a point that very much needs to be understood is that Yahoo! is broken. With a variety of properties that don’t generate revenue, search that’s powered by a smaller and newer engine (Bing), a deal with Microsoft that’s reportedly not generating the revenue it needs to, and a litany of other concerns, big changes need to be made. To that end, she’s selling off properties, looking into partnering with Google over Microsoft and yes, changing the corporate culture. Good call.

Let’s put ourselves in her shoes for a moment, from just the perspective we’re focused on here and that’s corporate culture and the ability to work from home. Let’s imagine that we just took over a company and in that company were a range of skills and talent but you knew none of them. Let’s imagine that said company is far too large to know each person individually and let’s go even further and imagine that we are virtually certain that some of our staff members are amazing while others are costing money and producing little in return. What do you do?

Let’s imagine that we’re trying to completely reinvent what our company is, draw it out of the ashes like the overused proverbial phoenix, and to do so we need to know, without question, that everyone under our employ is intelligent, working hard, and dedicated to the massive task at hand. And let’s assume we don’t just want to lay off another 2,000 people. What do you do?

You Go Back To Basics

Massive layoffs aren’t good for business. Running at a loss is even worse. What Ms. Mayer is doing here is, in fact, the epitome of capitalism and that is to go back to its core principle: Darwinism works. The weak will perish.

If you don’t know who’s productive and who isn’t at an organization and you’re the CEO, it’s your duty to find out. The employees who have the most problems with it will be those who don’t want to be watched, who don’t want their work monitored. Essentially, the first to leave will be the weakest. Try to tell me that the employees at Yahoo! don’t need to collaborate and work in teams and I’ll chuckle. And tell me that it doesn’t create a more cohesive unit to collaborate together, in the same space where simply walking down a hall or turning your chair doesn’t get answers faster and I’ll reply by asking why you even bother to go to a pub with friends or gather for a family reunion. If the same interactions, connections and cohesiveness can be formed remotely, why do we even leave the house? Why not grab a few beers, turn on Skype and save yourself having to leave a tip? Because team units and communications aren’t as successful remotely, that’s why. And Marissa knows this.

Let’s Call A Spade A Spade

The key argument made against this move seems to be that it stifles creativity. No, it doesn’t.

The spoiled belief in the tech realm that we’re straight out of “A Beautiful Mind” and need our genius to be pampered, on a comfy couch – but not Yahoo!’s comfy couch, only the one we bought will do, is just ludicrous. Let’s be honest, we are not that special. I know, I’m part of the tech community, and I’m CEO of my company; but when I need to get stuff done, I go to the office. Why? Because the people I need to work with are there, when I need to ask a question the answer is just a few steps away and because an office offers fewer distractions than a house. My house is filled with the fun distractions I like, my office is not.

And let’s also remember that Yahoo! is not some fortress of despair. They have massage, food, fitness centers, hair salons and even a games room. Need some R&R? It’s there. They just want to know when you’re on R&R and when you’re working. Is this some crazy new idea in business? Is it really unreasonable for an employer to want to know when the people they pay are working and when they’re playing on company time? Personally, I think not.

You Can’t Argue With Success

But in the end sometimes you just have to trust your leader. Let’s just consider this, since she took over last year Yahoo! share prices have gone from $15.65 to $20.76. Can she be trusted to make solid decisions even if they’re not fully understood? Yes.

Let’s also consider that Marissa Mayer needs to stamp on this company an undisputed “I am the boss” and this initiative does that like few others could. She is changing the lives of her employees and adjusting how and where they work. If there was a debate about her strength and influence as CEO, there is none now. She will do what she feels is the right decision, she will do it unilaterally, and she will do it with authority. The weak will hate it and complain, the strong may not love it but will feel a firm hand at the helm and while they may resent that they have to drive to their office, they will do so with the security of knowing that they have an office to go to.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:44 pm

Categories:Yahoo!

 

 

November 28, 2012

Search Engines: How Did We Get Here?

search engines

It seems strange to say but, for those old enough to remember, there was a time when internet searches were not dominated by Google. Prior to its arrival, the one time alpha and omega of search engines was Alta Vista (founded in 1995). One can still find Alta Vista (resurrected by Yahoo) bravely hanging on in a very lonely and unvisited corner of the internet, quietly giving competent search results via a rather bland and unappealing interface (it has a baby blue background that reminds one of the color of an unwanted sweater at Christmas). Perhaps if one has the time, go and enter a query for old times sake; it is akin to visiting a long forgotten relative in an old age home. The gesture is bound be appreciated and Alta Vista still has the power to tell a good story or two (although, you may feel like you are listening to Yahoo – which now receives primary and paid search results via Bing, which is in turn in owned by Microsoft).

Reading over the names of the now non-existent search engines that began life in the mid 1990s does illicit a certain sense of nostalgia, though without the passage of time usually required to stir these feelings. We are of course talking about “internet” years, which in a way mirror dog years (though dog years have remained fairly static and predictable). Does anyone still remember these one time players from the seminal days of the internet (some of the names could easily be mistaken for hair metal bands): Excite, Magellan, Snap, Direct Hit, Hot Bot. Some have soldiered on, others have been absorbed or have faded away into well deserved obscurity.

Today, as we all know, the dictatorial and tyrannical ruler of the internet, when it comes to searches, is none other than Google. Google started life as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1996. By 1998, Google had been incorporated as a privately held company. Today, Google has an Explicit Core Search share of 66.4% (more than four times that of its nearest competitor – Bing/Microsoft). Google is now a part of the scenery, like wood paneling in the basement. You don’t really like it, its kind of bland and dated, but you are too lazy to take it down and re-decorate as it serves its purpose so you tolerated it.

The other distant, but managing to get by, search engine that is nipping at Google’s heels is Bing. This Microsoft owned search engine is slowly gaining in stature, but still has a long way to go before it is truly relevant. Many prefer it to Google (perhaps more so out of spite), as it gives a wider range of results and is not as inclined to burden the user with advertisements or cookies. That said, Bing has failed to catch on. All one needs to do is look at their own analytics to see which search engine is driving traffic to their site. Bing is responsible, across the board, for a very small percentage of that traffic. Why? Google, for all its problems, still gives users the results they want and provides a feeling of familiarity (see wood paneling). It begs the question then, “what does Bing offer that Google doesn’t?” The answer, unfortunately for Bing, is not enough to cause one to switch. Google has a form of brand loyalty that cannot be trumped at the moment.

Bing, or better yet, Microsoft, in a desperate attempt at relevancy, tried a side-by-side comparison (Coke-Pepsi taste test, anyone?) and for all intents and purposes it failed. It wasn’t that Google provided by far the better results, it is just that Bing didn’t bring anything else to the table other than a vague sense of, occasional, equality. Even though Coke changed its recipe, but then wisely reverted back to what made it great, it still won the Pepsi challenge – hands down (such was its hold on public consciousness; and the fact that it was simply a better product). It is probably safe to say that Bing and Google will have Coke-Pepsi relationship for the foreseeable future, despite Google’s best attempts to annoy those most reliant on its search results by changing its “secret” recipe via the never-ending Panda and Penguin updates.

So what of Yahoo? Yes, it is still around and has refused to leave like the ubiquitous reveler who doesn’t know the party has ended. Oddly, we still begrudgingly acknowledge its existence as is evidenced by its Explicit Core Search share of 12.8%. Honestly, though, most Yahoo searches are probably done by accident. Yahoo’s behavior is even more bizarre in that they have kept the aforementioned Alta Vista afloat. Perhaps it is a write off for tax purposes or the beginning of a retirement home for irrelevant search engines.

So who are the other players left in the North American search engine wars? There has to be some RC Colas out there, right? In third place, with an Explicit Core Search share of only 3.2% is the Ask Network (originally know as Ask Jeeves – founded in 1996). Ask Jeeves, for the multitudes who will not recall, was the first search engine to employ what is known as “natural language” queries as opposed to the more terse syntax required by other search engines. Ask.com still uses this method and has also expanded it to include conversion, math and dictionary questions, which are really its forte. With the Ask Network’s recent purchase of About.com, it may see an increase in its search volume, but nothing to bother Google and Microsoft. It should also be noted that Ask.com receives paid results from Google.

Languishing in fourth, and talk about staying in the fridge past your best before date, is AOL, inc. Surely this can only be due to all those computers that came preloaded with it being turned on from time to time to see if they still work and if there are any harvest-able parts in them. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The real problem with AOL was how restrictive it was. They were intent on keeping its users within its sphere of influence by directing them to approved sites and services. It was an early attempt at a “dumbing down” of the web for the masses, which thankfully failed. PCWorld magazine even awarded AOL the number one position in its top ten list of most annoying tech products on April 16th, 2007, for its practice of direct marketing. PCWorld claims that between 1993 to 2006 that AOL sent out over 1 billion AOL discs (most of which, according to PCWorld, ended up at their office).

Around the world, the search engine equation really isn’t much different. Google still holds the top spot by about a 7:1 ratio over its nearest competitor, Baidu.com. For those unfamiliar with Baidu, it is a search engine designed for websites, images and audio files that contain Chinese language content. Baidu has also created a Japanese language search engine, which only makes programmatic sense considering the written languages of China and Japan are ideographic and have a shared history. Out of all the other search engines mentioned, Baidu, based on the pervasiveness of Chinese languages (Mandarin and Cantonese) and culture, is the most likely to enjoy the biggest gains against Google globally.

Yahoo comes in at about an 11:1 ratio when compared to Google internationally; Microsoft sites come in at a 25:1 ratio. Rounding out the top five is the little known search engine known as Yandex. Yandex is a Russian owned internet company, which also owns the largest search engine in Russia. In addition, the Yandex site was voted the most popular website in Russia, too (which may or may not mean anything considering all the controversy around election fraud there and the fact that Yandex’s 40% market share in Russia is still second to Google). Yandex does have a presence in the USA as Yandex Labs, which is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before Yandex can really make a global impact it is going to have to become the dominant search engine choice in Russian speaking countries first; if not, expect continued marginality.

So, what does the future of the internet searches hold, well, for many it will be one lidless eye watching over all one does. But, If history has shown us anything, it is that no company, institution or government has been able to maintain a monopoly, and one day, without warning, the next young upstart(s) will come along and displace the wise old man of the web (currently Google). Hopefully Google will depart with more grace than some of its predecessors. Case in point, as of the writing of this article, US regulators are about to sue Google for using its search prowess to stifle competition and push up online advertising costs. Is this the first chink in Google’s armor that will open the door to the competition?

Credit: a big thanks to comScore for their invaluable help and information.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:47 am


 

 

July 26, 2012

SOPA Friends: Internet League of America

The recording industry, agents, and vendors of music aren’t the only ones spending way too much of their profits on lobbying the government. Major internet companies that see the harm of bills like SOPA/PIPA are spending the time and money to fight back against this lobbying.

Not to be confused with SuperFriends..

This organization is less about crime and more about reasonable expenses for making sure government is making informed decisions.

Google alone spent $3.9million in the second quarter of 2012, and $5.4million in 2012 total so far trying to help government see the internet as more than just a ‘series of tubes’.

Google isn’t alone in fighting for your rights, Amazon’s spending between Jan 2012 and June 2012 was pegged at $1.34million, EBay spent nearly as much at $827k, and Facebook also jumped into the fight for $650k of lobbying.

It stands to reason then that if they all had the same message a lot of time and money could be saved by joining forces, and this is how the Internet Association has come to be.

With Google, Amazon, EBay and Facebook already signed into the Internet Association it’s already huge and it’s still in the ‘coming soon’ phase of setting up.

This new group should not be confused with existing organizations like The Internet Defense League which are seeking other solutions to keeping people informed as to threats to online access/freedom.

A few sites (RIAA partners?) are panning this as ‘evil‘ and un-Google for companies to work together to support a shared message to the government, but I think anyone who knows the extent of SOPA/PIPA and other bills will see that spin for what it really is, fear and loathing of anything that stands in the way of an easy profit.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber Appliances
Remember us writing about Kansas City dark fiber, Google’s plans to light it up, and the various media/recording industry fears/objections?

While I was composing this article on the new Internet Association I managed to eavesdrop on the details coming from the live broadcast at the launch of Google Fiber in Kansas this morning.

Google Fiber Announcement Center

Here’s what I caught (again this was just details I overheard and not officially published):

  • Google Fiber is run right to your house
  • A fiber-conversion firewall appliance converts the optical signal
  • The Google fiber-wall has built in WiFi and 4 gigabit RJ45 ports
  • The WiFi radio is very fast (no specs given) and features a guest portal system
  • Google Fiber offers TV boxes that act as WiFi boosters
  • The TV boxes stream Netflix/Youtube in HD quality with more options to follow
  • Google’s TV boxes work with Bluetooth headphones and can be controlled by Bluetooth devices
  • Currently purchasing a TV box will including a free Nexus 7 Tablet that acts as a remote control for the TV box.
  • $300 is mentioned as the ‘construction fee’ to send a Google rep to your home to install the fiber cable.
  • $120/mth for the TV and Gigabit Internet package (on 2 year contracts the $300 fee is waived)
  • $70/mth for just Gigabit fibre internet (no install fee for 1yr contracts)
  • $Free/mth 5mbps down, 1mbps up, of capped fiber access to anyone who wants to pay the $300 install fee
  • The free service option is guaranteed for anyone in the service area for 7 years
  • You can pay the $300 fee off over time if you wish as an incentive to connect everyone regardless of income levels
  • 1TB of Google Drive storage (directly linked to the Fibre) comes with the $70/mth and up packages
  • No mention of monthly data use caps, but they would need to be fairly generous

Google Fiber Building in Kansas
Apparently they are deciding which homes get fiber first by running a lobbying contest where they reward the communities that lobby other communities the most. The speaker tried to sell this as ‘doing it for Kansas’ and ‘spreading the word about what fiber really means’, but of all the announcements, there was no applause for
this.

Clearly most of Kansas is tired of waiting for Google Fiber and would like to start actually using it vs. running around ‘competing’ with other communities for the first chance to get hooked up.

It’s an odd move for Google but you have to respect that they had to find a fair way to select the first communities to get connected.

UPDATE: They have published the official Google Fiber data plans and yes, there’s NO DATA CAPS. Wow.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:25 am


 

 

July 17, 2012

Google’s Mayer tries to save Yahoo

Poor Marissa Mayer, she’s the 5th person, this year alone, to try and helm the sinking ship that is Yahoo, I hope she’s ready for the challenge!


Massive layoffs and constant stream of competition await Yahoo’s new CEO.

 
Marissa did an excellent job managing the public image of Google’s search innovations, and in the 13 years at Google she made a name for herself as both an innovator and leader.

In terms of awards, and accolades, Marissa is a very successful woman in business, making Fortune magazine’s yearly list of America’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for 4 years in a row from 2008-2011.

That level of success wasn’t entirely recognized within Google, and after recently getting passed up for the role of senior VP of Google Local and Commerce, Marissa started taking on roles outside the company, notably landing a seat on the Wal-Mart board of directors in April of this year.

Even with all that behind her, taking on the role of CEO for Yahoo is a huge undertaking, not just because they are in the midst of laying off thousands of employees, but also because the company seems to be failing to match the offerings of it’s countless and ever growing list of competitors.

To top things off, last night Mrs.Mayer announced on her twitter feed that she is expecting a baby boy with her husband of 3 years, Zach Bogue. According to Marissa’s Wikipedia profile, the baby is due in October which indicates she took the Yahoo deal knowing she was pregnant.

Early word from interviews with Mayer indicate she’s going to focus on the core strengths of Yahoo services like Yahoo Mail, Sports, and Finance, which all have a loyal following due to the company’s long history.

If this translates out to a focus on the users, then it’s a solid strategy since Yahoo’s strength is in the users who have stuck with them through all the offerings of competition. If Yahoo can reward that loyalty and gain some fresh users in it’s strongest products, they stand a chance at regaining some of their lost user base, which is a critical first step to saving the company.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:34 am


 

 

May 24, 2012

Yahoo Axis – What the Flock?

I had a friend working on the Flock browser team right until it lost momentum and became clear that it was too much, too soon…

Amy's Winehouse - Too soon?

Here we go again with a new ‘all-in-one’ web browser concept, this time from a very big name?

**Update: Turns out that the leaks were really just rumors. This hype mill is a ‘googol‘ times more intense than it should be considering this is ‘just a plugin’ (unless you count Apple devices).

 

Paul Rudd doing the Double Take
Yahoo..? New?!?

Microsoft owns Yahoo right? So if Yahoo is releasing a new browser + a suite of browser plugins for people who refuse to switch browsers, what’s going on?

Well apparently giving people the option to ‘choose’ MSN/Bing/Yahoo wasn’t working out so well. Now you can run a browser or a plugin that removes that annoying hassle of choosing who’s search services you are using.

Y’know how Firefox and Chrome allow you to sign-in to your browser letting you seamlessly move from one location to the next? Yeah Axis is going to break ground and re-invent the web by also doing that same thing.

Y’know how Google is showing you previews of the sites you’re considering visiting within the search results? Yep Axis will finally let you do that, again.

Is this even a new browser or just IE9 with some ‘fluff’ and Yahoo branding? Tonight we will get a chance to try it hands-on and find out, but for now we have a few videos we can watch over on Yahoo Video.

One of the points my Economics teacher used to hammer home is to view each promotion as the promoter relating to their target audience.

If you have a good product with a smart client base, you can sell your product by focusing on real traits and strengths. Just demonstrate the product and avoid all pointless elements that distract the consumer from your product information.

Enjoy those videos and the clever/unique symbolism that hasn’t been copied too many times since Apple used it in 1984. :)

Does this mean Bing/Yahoo rankings will be important?

Who ever said they weren’t important? Okay, well expert opinions aside, you should never burn the Bing bridge, especially not with cell phones that default to Bing and new versions of Windows that also default to Bing.

It’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket, and this is true of search engine placement/rankings as well as eggs.

Even if Yahoo Axis only manages a week of public attention, that’s one week of people around the planet searching Bing for a change.

If you rank really well on Google, we’re not going to suggest you intentionally tank your rankings for a short-term gain on Bing. The cost of recovering from such a move would probably be far more than simply paying for some pay-per-click coverage via Microsoft’s AdCenter.

There’s already folks worried about ‘Yahoo’ impressions vs. Bing impressions and the following advice has been posted in the AdCenter help forum:

1) You are currently bidding on broad match only, add phrase and exact match to your bidding structure.
2) Look at keywords with low quality score and optimize for those specifically.
3) Install the MAI tool and check on expected traffic for adCenter, you can also see what average bids are for specific positions.

Only 7 Days Left!

7 DAYS LEFT!

 

Talk about old news? I mentioned this just 2 days ago?!

We still have 7 days left in our Beanstalk Minecraft Map Competition! Check it out and even if you’re not entering, please let others know it’s coming to a close and we need all submissions by the 31st!

SEO news blog post by @ 10:03 am


 

 

January 31, 2012

Stacking up Google optimization efforts

We keep optimizing our meta tags, keywords, link structure, content densities, markup, etc.. etc.. But how does Google optimize itself for us? If this is any sort of ‘relationship’ what’s Google been doing for us lately?

Comparing work done

Anti-Spam DMARC Efforts

One of the big problems with promoting on-line is the folks who don’t care about courtesy or the rules and they just spam everyone/anyone. The best way to cope with this is to never buy products we have seen ‘spammed’; Yet this has been a nerd mantra for so long, and clearly the consumers never got the message because spammers still get paid.

Because of all the abuse, legit advertisers have a bad reputation even before they get started. This is why we have captchas, whitelists, RBLs, and many many other annoying services that some people actually pay to use.

This is why we can't have nice things

Major email providers like Google and Microsoft (including Yahoo!/Hotmail), are working to ally with major online sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, PayPal, and more to work on the DMARC system to cope with not only spam, but phishing, fraud, password scams, ID theft, etc..

In a nutshell DMARC is:

..a technical specification created by a group of organizations that want to help reduce the potential for email-based abuse by solving a couple of long-standing operational, deployment, and reporting issues related to email authentication protocols.

Essentially it’s going to make ‘authenticated’ mail much more commonplace in hopes of raising the global bar on email authentication to help eliminate the spam problem. Still too long winded with the explanation?
Here’s an illustration of DMARC:

This is why we can't have nice things

New Privacy Policy

I’ve witnessed a lot of complaining about this move, and yet I haven’t seen one logical complaint I could ally myself with. Personally, I’m a GMail user who has already invested the deepest amount of privacy I can into Google just by using GMail. Each time Google releases a new product, if I use the same Google account as I do with other Google services, I ‘expect‘ it to be smart and use what Google knows about me to the fullest.

If I wanted a privacy division between Google Maps and GMail, I’d make a separate account and use multiple logins so that if I am hunting for the closest guitar shop I won’t have to deal with Guitar adverts getting special preference when I am logged into GMail. In fact, if I was looking for a gift for someone and I really loved the focus Google has on ‘me’, I might just use a fresh browser instance to keep Google from getting confused.

Fresh browser instance?! I know, that’s jargon and we promised to explain ourselves, so a quick demo of this is to load Chrome (sorry Moz lovers) and then right click on a normal link. In the right click menu you should see this:Chrome Incognito Option

This will open a Chrome Incognito window :
Sites in this tab will not see browser history!
Try visiting your popular sites to test!

If all goes well, as long as you use the incognito window, you will be able to use Google services, and others, without them easily tying the info to a particular account.

Keep in mind that the alternative to a unified privacy policy is a system where the users have to read each privacy policy for every Google service to make sure they understand each service. Then, if you wanted your data to be shared between services you’d have to not only go and manually ‘share’ the information, but you’d also better be praying or something to find a way to motivate Google spend the time to enable the link between services because as we know already, Google doesn’t waste much resources on things that aren’t going to be popular. When you make something like this automatic it changes the entire functionality of that idea and what would otherwise be a ‘wasted effort’ suddenly becomes a ‘big win’.

Kicking Keister in Kenya


If you haven’t read about the Mocality debacle (link removed ), you really aren’t missing that much, it’s more of a ‘How the heck?’ than anything.

In a nutshell:

There was a Google contractor in Kenya using Google IPs and identifying themselves as a Google entity that had been ‘scraping’ the sign ups from Mocality and stealing them away with lies.

When Google first heard of the situation there was a “No freaking way, let us investigate and get back to you.” response from the powers within Google looking into the issue. As things unfolded it became clear that Mocality was indeed providing honest information and that something very bad was happening over in Kenya under Google’s name. Google’s own team leads were ‘mortified’ over the details of how the situation unfolded.

At this point the head of the Kenyan offices for Google, Ms. Olga Arara-Kimani, has resigned stating she felt personally that ‘the buck‘ stopped with her and she wanted to take full responsibility.

While no official statement has come from Google there are signs that the investigation is over and that Google is already implementing measures to prevent something like this from happening again. I expect we’ll hear a few more details as things unfold.

How’s Chia Bart? Well he’s in limbo, and I haven’t started the re-plant. Time for a vacation I think? :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:23 pm


 

 

December 15, 2011

We’d feel dirty not posting about SOPA today..

This is the day folks, the bill is in Congress as I type and here’s some good spots to follow the proceedings closely:
Dirty Bar of Soap
EFF Twitter Feed
Video Webcast
Justin.tv re-broadcast of the live feed

Wondering what all the fuss is about?
Here’s a great read:
Wikipedia -> Stop Online Piracy Act

Who supports SOPA?
Domino Project’s SOPA Supporter List

What sort of organizations are opposed to SOPA?. It was such a bad move that Wikipedia was publicly contemplating a blackout of the service just to make it clear how bad the bill is!

There’s also a few very active/current discussions over on Reddit in the r/technology section that give a good ‘nerds eye view’ of the bill reading.

Wonder why Google was opposed to the bill? Here’s a humorous take on the essence of their fears:
Mockery of SOPAs effect on Google in 2012

If I had to personally sum everything up into a TL;DR I would have to go with:

“Artist and labour groups who don’t have a nerdy understanding of how the internet works and how to approach piracy are joining with other anti-piracy groups to fast-track an ill-considered and potentially dangerous bill.

While most folks don’t understand the internet enough to argue the bill as experts the general reaction today has been “we are rushing something we don’t understand and we can’t proceed”.

With any luck that’ exactly how bill H.R.3261 will end, some potential, but not ready. *fingers crossed*

SEO news blog post by @ 10:42 am


 

 

November 21, 2011

Boxing Yahoo Site Explorer

Today is a sad day for those of us in the SEO industry. Yahoo Site Explorer is being boxed for good and as of today will be the last day you will be able to use it. Yahoo announced on Friday 18th that they would be that they would be shutting down the service. Many in the SEO industry are regarding this as the final demise of Yahoo Search.

yahoo storage box

“With the completion of algorithmic transition to Bing, Yahoo! Search has merged Site Explorer into Bing Webmaster Tools. Webmasters should now be using the Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure that their websites continue to get high quality organic search traffic from Bing and Yahoo!. Site Explorer services will not be available from November 21, 2011.”

This follows through on a previous announcement from July 11, 2010 that they service would soon be suspended due to falling use of Yahoo and the transition of Yahoo to Bing.

“In an August 2010 blog post, we said we would continue Site Explorer with a focus on new features for webmaster community, even after the transition to Microsoft platforms is complete. We listened to your feedback, and along with the team from Bing Webmaster Center looked jointly at the roadmap for the webmaster tools. Having two webmaster portals for a single source for organic results does not add enough value. Once organic results are transitioned to Bing in all the markets, we plan to shut down Yahoo! Site Explorer and Microsoft’s Webmaster Tools will be the source for Bing and Yahoo! webmaster site and analytics data.”

Yahoo Site Explorer went live in September of 2005 and was the progeny of Tim Mayer from Yahoo. It has been a powerful mainstay of the SEO industry ever since it’s initial launch. While most of us in the industry knew this day was coming, it is still tragic news for many SEOs who have come to rely on Yahoo Site Explorer as a free, comprehensive and search engine backed competitive analysis link tool.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:00 am

Categories:Bing,Yahoo!

 

 

July 4, 2011

Google’s Evolution Innovations

After being away for a few days on a mini vacation, I thought I would touch base on what has been making news since my last post. It seems Google is still dominating the news in several instances.

The rise of Chrome in 2010

It was announced this week by StatsCounter that for the first time Google’s internet browser Chrome has risen to a 20.7% share of all browser usage in the market. Since 2009, Chrome has gone from only 2.8% share to become a major contender in the internet browser market.

In the same time, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dropped from an 59% down to 44%, while Firefox only dropped marginally from 30% to 28%. It should be noted however that StatsCounter tracks totally surfing and not the total number of users in their stats. What this means is that it is the internet "power" elite that seem to be driving Chrome to its increasing success.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Market Share

Starting at the end of last month you may have noticed a few changes to the look and feel of various Google products. Google has embarked on an aggressive new design (or redesign) strategy and part of their Multi-Month User Experience Update. In a blog post titled: "Evolving the Google Design and Experience"

The way people use and experience the web is evolving, and our goal is to give you a more seamless and consistent online experience—one that works no matter which Google product you’re using or what device you’re using it on. The new Google experience that we’ve begun working toward is founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness.

Here are some of the implementations they will be rolling out:

The Google hompage circa 1997

  • Focus: A large part of Google’s new focus is an attempt to reduce the amount of on screen clutter that has been becoming problematic for some time. By making a more user intuitive approach by making changes such as using bolder colors for actionable buttons, or hiding navigation buttons until they’re actually needed, which Google feels can help you better focus on only what you need at the moment.
  • Elasticity: Due to the multiple, various types of mobile devices, tablets and high-resoultion monitors, Google, states that the new design(s) will soon allow you to seamlessly transition from one device to another and have a consistent visual experience. Google says they aim to bring you this flexibility without sacrificing style or usefulness.
  • Effortlessness: Google goes on to show that their design phiolosohy is to combine power with simplicity by using clean, simple design architecture while embracing latest technologies such as HTML5, WebGL and the faster browsers available (like Google Chrome for instance).

Google has certainly come a long way over the last several years in the way they continue to change and evolve the look and usablility of their products. By studying how users use and navigate through the Google and related technologies, Google continues to keep itself on top of a very competitive market.

SEO news blog post by @ 7:09 pm


 

 

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