• Google Glimpses The Future With Image Search
    Can Google analyze and rank photos as it does with text? Two of the company's scientists presented a paper at the International WWW Conference in Beijing last week that will allegedly remove Google's dependence on the alt text accompanying a picture, allowing the engine to rank images based solely on their content. The process, called VisualRank, uses an algorithm that combines image-recognition software with techniques for determining which images look most similar to one another, resulting in a ranking that doesn't require text. If the process works, this could mean humans would no longer be required to provide metadata in ...
  • March's Top 10 Online Retailers By Conversion Rate
    FutureNow has a list of the online retailers with the top 10 conversion rates for March 2008, according to Nielsen Online. Topping the list are Office Depot, QVC and Vista Print, with 20.9%, 19% and 18.3%, respectively. What's curious is the disappearance of Snapfish, which had suddenly appeared in the #1 spot for February 2008, but now is off the list entirely. What accounts for the anomaly? Meanwhile, VistaPrint, which had also appeared for the first time ever on the list last month, at #2, has dropped down to #3, while its conversion rate has actually gone up.
  • 'The Secret' Owners Sue Internet Marketer
    Sarah Bird takes a look at the case of TS Merchandising, owners of pop culture phenom The Secret, which is suing its former Internet marketer, Dan Hollings, for trademark infringement. TS claims that Hollings "infringed and exploited" The Secret's trademarks by cutting side deals with vendors of authentic merchandise and selling his own pirated material. TS claims Hollings used his knowledge of search engine marketing and The Secret to commit his deeds. Bird calls the whole thing a sordid "made-for-TV" movie, but recommends checking out the November 2007 lawsuit, filed in the UK, as a good example ...
  • Blyke Off To Fast Start In U.K.
    After launching last fall, the UK-based MVNO Blyke, which offers free mobile service in exchange for viewing ads, is off to a fast start. But can it sustain that early success? Blyke offers 217 free SMS messages and 43 free minutes to young consumers, mostly 16-24, who are willing to watch up to six ads a day. Within six months of its launch, the service has reportedly reached the 100,000-member mark, and the company has talked about launching in the U.S. But Virgin tried an ad-supported mobile play in the States before, and it hasn't performed well. Does Blyke ...
  • The Reason Behind Google's Crazy Rankings Shifts
    If you've ever wondered why Google rankings fluctuate so wildly, check out SiteProNews' discussion of something called Google Previous Query. This is the function by which Google takes into account an individual's previous searches when determining which ads to return. Well get ready, cause Previous Query is now coming to unpaid, or organic, search results as well. The author calls this "a very big deal," as previously vague one-word searches, which are difficult to rank thanks to the billions of hits they return, will now be much more targeted and specific.
  • Yahoo's Search Monkey Runs Wild
    The monkey is about to run wild, as Yahoo has issued a limited release of Search Monkey, a tool that allows site owners to customize the way their organic search listings appear. Users can add details like an infobar (a graphic with drop-down menus for more information), or reviews, a logo and other features to their listing. The goal is to create a search listing that better reflects the company's culture and entices users to click. Interested site owners can sign up to be part of the trial run, or wait until Search Monkey's official launch in mid-May. ...
  • Tips for Writing Great Title Tags
    If you've got the right keywords and know where to put them, Jill Whalen has some tips for using that info to come up with effective, enticing title tags. "You've got to take your few keyword phrases and arrange them in an order that provides you with the most benefit from search engines, while also appealing to your target audience within the search results pages," Whalen says. She suggests choosing three keyword phrases for each Title tag--perhaps one highly competitive term and two that are less so--since there's only so much space available. You can ...
  • More Than 50 Quick SEO Tips For Beginners
    Richard Burckhardt offers up a set of SEO tips that include everything from local search optimization, to on-page design tips, to the fastest way to get a new site in the Google index. With local search, Burckhardt says to focus on whole keyword phrases--not just single words--so that you can put location-tied phrases in your text. For example, an auto repair shop in Palm Springs could include phrases like "our Palm Springs shop" in their copy, as opposed to "our shop." For design, avoid Flash, AJAX and frames like the plague, if possible. The problem is ...
  • How Thorough Is Your Keyword Research Plan?
    New SEO tools, tricks and strategies are constantly emerging, but Doug Asbury says there are some "foundational things about Search Engine Optimization that have not changed much over the last 10 years,"--and keyword research is one of them. Crafting a thorough keyword research strategy involves digging deep to uncover every keyword related to a client's suite of products and their benefits, including variations on product names--a process Asbury equates with exploring a large tree. "Comprehensive keyword research starts at the base of the tree with broad keywords," Asbury says, "Then considers every single major branch of the tree ...
  • Does It Really Matter Whether Your Links Are Followed?
    Some of the hubbub around the pros and cons of "no follow" links--which tell the engines not to follow an outbound link on a Web site and to not include it in a page's overall ranking--versus ordinary "do follow" links has died down. But the Vertical Measures team has found that many clients are still concerned about the ratio of followed links to non-followed links--and have even insisted on link-building efforts that focus on followed links only. And the team says that those worries are unfounded. First, the engines expect to see a balance of "no follow" and ...
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