Below are Search Engine Land’s 10 most popular stories from December 2008:
Top 10 Most Popular Stories: December 2008
1) Santa Tracker 2008: Google & NORAD Team Up Again – My favorite Christmas activity is tracking Santa’s route around the world. Once again, NORAD and Google are making it easy. The NORAD Tracks Santa 2008 site is now up, and a countdown for your iGoogle home page can now be downloaded. Google just blogged the news today. Below, what to expect.
2) 8 Santa Trackers For Christmas Eve 2008, From NORAD Santa To Twitter – It’s Christmas Eve, and that means Santa Claus is out doing his run. But where is Santa right now? Thanks to the internet, there’s a huge number of ways to get Santa sightings. Below, a summary that covers online video sightings, Santa’s phone number (apparently he can talk while driving), email updates, tracking him via your mobile phone and yes, even getting Twitter updates.
3) Tough Love For Microsoft Search – Back in June, I spoke at Microsoft as part of a regular series for those involved with its webmaster tools group and anyone generally interested in search. My talk was called “Tough Love For Microsoft Search,” and I covered various reasons why I felt the company has generally failed to make headway in the space. The core premise is that Microsoft as a company isn’t succeeding at search because it views search as a task it has to do, rather than one it really wants to do. The article below is an adaptation of that presentation. There’s even a movie.
4) Google Search Suggest Get Ads, Links & Answers – Earlier this year, Google Suggest finally made it to the Google home page. The feature suggests queries as you begin typing in the search box. Now Google is testing providing links to web sites, direct answers and even ads that appear within the Google Suggest list.
5) Google Book Search Puts Magazines Online – First Google digitized books, then newspapers, then historic Time-Life photos and now — magazines. Today through Google Book Search, people can search the full-text of millions of articles from more than 10 magazine with hundreds more to come, the company has announced. Eventually, content from the magazines will be available to those doing Google News Archive searches or show up in “regular” Google searches via Universal Search. For now, however, the content lives only within Google Book Search. How do you access the magazines? Ideally, Google wants you to find them in response to a search for anything at Google Book Search. For example, a search for hank aaron catching babe ruth should bring up a listing tagged as “Magazine” that leads to a 1973 Ebony magazine article about Aaron nearing Ruth’s home run record (note, search functionality doesn’t seem to be live yet but should be enabled shortly).
6) Google Testing Enhanced Listings, “Pagelinks” & Auto-Spelling Correction – Google is testing a number of changes to its search results, including a way for select publishers to enhance their page descriptions, a way for searchers to jump to sub-sections of a web page and automatically correcting misspelled queries, to some degree.
7) Do Search Engines Use Bounce Rate As A Ranking Factor? – Your web site’s bounce rate may be a significant factor in your search engine rankings. If the bounce rate on your site is high, you could end up with lower rankings in the search engines. Correspondingly, lower bounce rates may actually offer meaningful ranking boosts. (Don’t know what a bounce rate is? Hang on—definitions below.) Don’t believe that bounce rate is a serious ranking factor? You should.
8) “You Could Go To Google,” Says Yahoo — But Why Not Stay Here? – Yahoo has changed the way they handle a query for a competing search engine. Now, if you search at Yahoo for google, live or ask.com, Yahoo will tell you, “You could go to [Search Engine Name Goes Here]. Or you could stay here and get straight to your answers.”
9) Ask.com Plays The Google AdWords Arbitrage Game – Ah, Ask.com. Since I wrote their obituary in March, not much has got me thinking they’ll make a comeback. Sure, there was the gimmick of kind of bringing back Jeeves himself. But the spate of “hotels.ask.com” ads I see them running on Google makes me think they’re dropping further from being a search engine and more into a search arbitrage play.
10) Yahoo Layoffs Happening Live Online – The Yahoo layoffs are underway, and are happening live online. Blogs, news sites, and social sites like Twitter are filled today with live reports about what’s going on inside Yahoo’s offices. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve found. Silicon Alley Insider is posting updated comments from the now ex-Yahooers, who are describing the scene at various Yahoo offices around the country.
To see all of our most popular stories over time, visit our Most Popular Stories page.