WWW2008: Search Research Paper Roundup

A variety of interesting research papers on search have come out of WWW2008, the 17th International World Wide Web Conference. Some I've blogged already. Below is a rundown on those and some other papers that may be of interest. For the attention-challenged, I've also included my now patented "Twitter" summary for some of the interesting or more accessible papers, to tell you the highlights. PageRank for Image Search Google Abstract: In this paper, we cast the image-ranking problem into the task of identifying "authority" nodes on an inferred visual similarity gr [...]

US Court Orders Advertiser To Use Negative Keywords In Trademark Case

Eric Goldman reports that a US District Judge in Florida ordered an advertiser using a trademark term to use the negative keyword option, to ensure that they would no longer bid on that term in the future. The judge ordered the defendant to stop using the word "ORION" in their search ad campaigns by adding that keyword to the negative keyword filter in AdWords. Here are the exact words of the court order, found in section D of Orion Bancorp Inc. v. Orion Residential Finance LLC: ...from purchasing or using any form of advertising including keywords or "adwords" in internet advertising cont [...]

Google AdSense Ads May Become More Behaviorally Targeted

Bill Slawski analyzed a newly published patent application by Google named Rendering Advertisements with Documents Having One or More Topics Using User Topic Interest Information. In short, the patent application documents methods Google can use to make Google's contextual ads, AdSense, more behaviorally relevant to the user based on Google Toolbar data. Of course, this is just a patent application. It does not mean Google is using any of the methods listed in the application, but it does mean Google has deeply looked at using such methods. Based on a user's behavior, Google may adapt the [...]

Sitelinks On A Google Minus 60 Result: What Does It Mean?

Last week, I covered an interesting observation at a Google Groups thread, where some individuals noticed Google Sitelinks showing up for a site in the 60th position. At the end of the thread, I noted that Googler JohnMu told the webmaster that he may want to join the -60 penalty thread for more help. Yesterday, the Smackdown blog picked it up and called this a warning shot from Google. He used this message from JohnMu to explain that the -60 penalty is indeed a manual Google penalty. Michael continues his explanation: What this strongly indicates is that the -60 penalty is indeed more o [...]

Google Product Search Gets More Useful

I've personally never found Google Product search all that useful, but hopefully that will change now. Google Operating System reports that Google Product Search has undergone a redesign of some sort. In the past, Google Product Search just showed you results but did not group stores offering to sell the same product with reviews and technical specifications. Now, for some searches, Google groups store results, shows reviews on Google, and also shows product specifications. For example, a search on iphone shows many results, but now there is a button to "Compare Prices." When you click [...]

Microsoft Paper: Improving Search Results By Mining Web Surfing Activity

A new research paper from Microsoft looks at how surfing behavior -- as logged by a search toolbar -- can be used to improve search results. The study used data from the Windows Live Toolbar: For each user, interaction logs were grouped based on browser identifier information. Within each browser instance, user navigation was summarized as a path known as a browser trail, from the first to the last Web page visited in that browser. Located within some of these trails are search trails that originated with a query submission to a commercial search engine; it is these search trails [...]

Yahoo Paper: Finding The Local “Center” Of Search Queries

A new research paper from Yahoo and Cornell University -- with search legend Jon Kleinberg as one of the coauthors -- provides a fascinating look at how a search query such as "red sox" or "hurricane deal" can be centered around a physical location -- including one that changes over time. The paper -- Spatial Variation in Search Engine Queries -- made use of Yahoo query logs to see if queries could be tracked back to particular areas. Each person doing a query has an internet IP address. Those IP addresses (with some filtering done to deal with people using the same [...]

Google Paper: Better Image Search Though VisualRank / Image Rank

A Google Prototype for a Precision Image Search from the New York Times covers a new research paper (PDF format) from Google that talks about a way of ranking images based on analyzing "visual links" between them. Image search at the major search engines today largely relies on looking at words that are used around images -- on the pages that host them, in image file names, and in ALT text associated with them. No real image recognition is done by any of the majors. Search for "apples," and they haven't actually somehow scanned the images itself to "see" i [...]

SMX Social: Just What Did Calacanis Say About SEO & More Recaps

At our SMX Social Media Marketing conference this week, we had a great panel on the future of human powered search. Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, Jimmy Wales of Wikia Search, and Steven Marder of Eurekster all took part. Jason had some remarks on SEO that set off the usual wave of upset. But as I commented to those who weren't at the panel, by the end of Q&A, Jason -- along with Jimmy Wales and Seven Marder -- were agreeing about the usefulness of SEO. It's all down to the definitions. Below you can hear Jason's presentation yourself, then you can hear the Q&A portion that covered search [...]

Stay Tuned: Will Microsoft Sweeten The Deal?

The NY Post is reporting that despite public statements from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and CFO Chris Liddell, the offer on the table is final and that though Microsoft might "walk away" from Yahoo, there may in fact be a new and improved offer to Jerry Yang and his fellow Yahoo board members through "back channels." The Post article says: Sources said that Ballmer is more likely to reach out to Yahoo! through back channels with a slightly sweetened offer provided Yang and the board agree to begin formal deal discussions. Barring that, and absent a deal by Microsoft's self-imposed Saturday [...]

SearchCap: The Day In Search, April 25, 2008

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web From Search Engine Land: Google AdWords Tests Display URL Above Ad DescriptionThe Get Elastic Blog noticed Google testing displaying the AdWords URLs above the ad description. Typically, the AdWords URLs are displayed below the ad description. Here is a compare and contrast picture:... Click Fraud Rate Declines Slightly, Says Click ForensicsClick Forensics released their statistics on the click fraud rate for the first quarter of 2008, showing a click fraud rate of 16.3 percent [...]

Google AdWords Tests Display URL Above Ad Description

The Get Elastic Blog noticed Google testing displaying the AdWords URLs above the ad description. Typically, the AdWords URLs are displayed below the ad description. Here is a compare and contrast picture: I personally cannot replicate this new AdWords user interface, but it would not surprise me if Google is testing this as a potentially new ad layout. [...]

Click Fraud Rate Declines Slightly, Says Click Forensics

Click Forensics released their statistics on the click fraud rate for the first quarter of 2008, showing a click fraud rate of 16.3 percent. That number is down from the previous quarter, which was 16.6 percent. Compared to a year ago, when the click fraud rate was 14.8 percent, we are up. Click fraud on the content network was at 27.8 percent, down from the 28.3 percent rate a quarter earlier but up from a year before at 21.9 percent. As Chris said last year, and I will repeat here: At first glance, these numbers may seem alarming, but they may not take into account the discounting of q [...]

Search In Pictures: Yahoo’s Real Monkey, Yahoo Kids Day & More Yahoo

In this week's Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. Yahoo announced the Search Monkey this week, but is this the real Yahoo Search Monkey? This week at Yahoo, it was bring your kids to work day at Yahoo Kids Day: What do Yahoo Project Managers do to relax? Go to a ball game: Smile! Yes, I know, I am lacking Google and other search engine pictures - but seriously, they were all camera shy this week. [...]

SMX Local & Mobile In SF; Best Rate If You Act Now

Believe it or not, July is just around the corner. And so is SMX Local & Mobile, the event that prepares internet marketers for the emerging opportunities of local and mobile search. Register today at the pre-agenda rate of just $995. That’s $400 off the rate procrastinators will get by registering at the show, which will be held in San Francisco July 24-25. Keep reading to learn more... Why SMX Local & Mobile? Although today they are considered separate categories, "local" and "mobile" internet marketing are converging rapidly. Marketers who recognize this trend and adopt strategies and [...]

YOS: Rewiring Yahoo From The Inside Out

Yahoo's relatively new CTO Ari Balogh expanded upon Yahoo's "open" initiatives in a keynote speech to the Web2.0 conference yesterday. There's a very extensive discussion, including a video of the keynote, on the TechCrunch site (additional coverage in Search Engine Journal). The SearchMonkey beta is the first step in executing on the strategy, which will roll out in increments over the next several months. The "OS" part is not "operating system" but "open strategy." Beyond openness, the themes of Balogh's talk were making Yahoo more social, more consistent and unified, more personal, and eve [...]

YouTube Adds Search Suggestions To International Sites

Google Operating System spotted that YouTube is now offering search suggestions on their international sites. For example, if you go to YouTube UK and starting typing in a search phrase into the search box, YouTube will begin to offer you suggested results, much like Google does at Google Suggest. Here is an example of beginning to type in my name: As you can see, it doesn't show the most results at the top but rather sorts it some other way, maybe by search volume? Does Google Operating System use a Google function to return the suggestions, e.g., http://suggestqueries.google.com/compl [...]

Microsoft Adds RSS To Live Search News

The Live Search Blog announced the much requested addition of RSS to Live Search News. A little over a week ago Microsoft launched Live Search News, and one of the biggest feature requests off the bat was an RSS option. 9 days later, Microsoft has added the RSS icon to all the pages, including the home page, category pages, and news search result pages. It is important to note that the pages are not auto-discovering RSS, so you will need to copy the RSS URL for each of your subscription requests. Danny has additional information on Live Search News from last week. [...]

US Court Learns SEO, Decides META Keywords Don’t Matter

Court Says Keyword Metatags Don't Matter--Standard Process v. Banks by Eric Goldman uncovers a recent case between Standard Process, Inc. v. Banks that shows that the court has ruled that the META keywords tag is "immaterial." Goldman said this is the first time the courts ruled based on knowledge of how the META keywords impact search rank, as opposed to past cases such as National American Medical vs Axiom, where a court ruled Meta Tags Can Constitute Infringement. Goldman puts it best, explaining his distaste for past judgments in the area of trademark law with the META tags: Lawyers, o [...]

In The Trenches, April 25, 2008

In The Trenches is a weekly spotlight of tips, tricks and news about the tools search engine marketing professionals use to give them a leg up on the competition. Today: News from the search engines, today's in-depth look, "Geo-Targeting On The Engines," and this week's free tips and tools. News from the search engines Google AdWords: From the Inside AdWords blog: "If you're an AdWords Editor user, you'll be happy to know that we're introducing a new announcement-only Google Group devoted solely to information about AdWords Editor. When you subscribe to this group, you'll receive product [...]

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