NORAD & Google Launches Rival Santa Trackers; Still No Comment From Santa’s Camp On Which Site Mrs. Claus Will Use

Google Santa Tracker 2013 Snapshot After NORAD announced last week it would be joining forces once again with Bing to track Santa's whereabouts during the holiday season, NORAD Tracks Santa went live on Dec. 1. Google followed suit today by announcing the return of its own Google Santa Tracker. There's still no comment from Santa's camp on which site Mrs. Claus will be using to track her husband this Christmas. This is the second year that the search engines have released competing Santa Tracker services, although it appears the two companies have acknowledged the momentous responsibility involved with hosting two separat [...]


After Two Years Of Broken Promises, Does Google Need To Explain More To Maintain Trust In Search?

google-g-logo-2012 For two years running, Google's broken major promises about search. It began doing paid inclusion in 2012, which it once called "evil." This year, it's experimenting with banner ads it said would never be allowed. Both represent major philosophical shifts for the company about search, but shifts it has largely avoided explaining. Does that erode user trust? That's the focus of my column at Marketing Land this week, Google’s Broken Promises & Who’s Running The Search Engine? It looks at the history behind both promises plus how search has a "fuzzy management" structure at Google, [...]


Court Finds Google’s Book Scanning Is Fair Use: Highlights From The Ruling

google-books-featured Nearly ten years after it began and eight years after Google was sued over it, Google's program that scans books in order to make them searchable has been found legal. A judge found fair use, especially in that "Google Books does not supersede or supplant books because it is not a tool to be used to read books." The ruling by Judge Denny Chin found that the Authors Guild's claims that Google was massively infringing the copyright of books didn't hold up. Below, some of the key highlights from his ruling. The Background & Permission Needed To Scan? Most of the ruling covers the ba [...]


FAQ: All About The Banner Ad Test In Google’s Search Results

google-display-ads-featured Yesterday, Search Engine Land broke the news that Google is running a test to show banner ads on branded search results. While the search giant has introduced images to its ad formats, including product listing ads and image extensions, the introduction of banner ads is a noticeable change for the company. Here's what we know so far. Do these new ads include the image banner and text listings? Despite appearances, the ad is comprised of the image banner only. In the Virgin America screenshot below (sent to us by @SynrgyHQ), for example, the text listing for www.virginamerica.com and subs [...]


Are Google Searches The Best Way To Highlight Discrimination Against Women?

un-google-autocomplete-ads The United Nations is continuing its admirable and proper work of highlighting discrimination against women around the world; but, is using Google's autocomplete feature the best way to do it? UN Women, a UN entity formed in July 2010 that focuses on gender equality and women's rights, revealed a new ad campaign this week that "uses genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women." The ads, presumably designed for print media, show Google autocomplete searches that begin with phrases like "women shouldn't," "women need to" and "women [...]


Infographic: What Is The Nofollow Tag; When & How To Use It

rel-nofollow-featured The nofollow tag is a way publishers can tell search engines not to count some of their links to other pages as "votes" in favor of that content. Why would publishers need to block such votes? Doing so can help them avoid problems with search engines believing they are selling influence or are somehow involved in schemes deemed as unacceptable SEO practices. Our Search Engine Land infographic below, made with the help of the good folks over at Killer Infographics, explains more about the nofollow tag, including when and how to use it. Also see additional references and background informatio [...]


Infographic: An Anatomy Of Google’s Dynamic Search Results Page

Do you know your SERP? That stands for Search Engine Results Page. In the case of Google, it can be pretty hard to keep up. Google has multiple SERPs, with some elements that may only appear if your search is deemed especially local, or shopping-oriented or perhaps if Google thinks it has a direct answer. The folks at Moz have done a fantastic job creating a "Mega-SERP" for Google, a single results page that includes many different types of elements that might appear. Here's the image, which they've kindly allowed us to share: Did you recognize all these elements? Be sure to visit the or [...]


What The Government Shutdown Means For .gov SEO

government-govt-generic-240px As part of the US government shut down, many .gov sites have also shut down, replaced by messages like this: “Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available. We sincerely regret this inconvenience.” But one day, the government will start up again and government agencies will once again focus on ensuring that the information their sites provide is easily available to US citizens. We know that Americans primarily use search to access government information, so once the shutdown is over, it won’t be enough that the web sites power up. They also need to b [...]


Google Celebrates 15th Birthday With #GoogleBirthday Piñata Logo & Game

balloons-featured The world's most popular search engine turns 15 years old today. Started in 1998 by Stanford PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has grown to be the leader in search, owning more than 70 percent of the worldwide desktop search market share. To celebrate its 15th birthday, today's Google logo is an interactive piñata game. By clicking the arrow on the birthday cake in the middle of the logo, users are instructed to hit their space bar to start the game. With 10 swipes at a star-shaped piñata, players collect points based on the number of candies they can make drop while a music [...]


FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm

google-hummingbird2-featured Google has a new search algorithm, the system it uses to sort through all the information it has when you search and come back with answers. It's called "Hummingbird" and below, what we know about it so far. What's a "search algorithm?" That's a technical term for what you can think of as a recipe that Google uses to sort through the billions of web pages and other information it has, in order to return what it believes are the best answers. What's "Hummingbird?" It's the name of the new search algorithm that Google is using, one that Google says should return better results. [...]


Post-PRISM, Google Confirms Quietly Moving To Make All Searches Secure, Except For Ad Clicks

keywords-not-provided-featured In the past month, Google quietly made a change aimed at encrypting all search activity -- except for clicks on ads. Google says this has been done to provide "extra protection" for searchers, and the company may be aiming to block NSA spying activity. Possibly, it's a move to increase ad sales. Or both. Welcome to the confusing world of Google secure search. Two Years Ago: Secure Searching For Logged-In Users In October 2011, Google began encrypting searches for anyone who was logged into Google. The reason given was privacy. Google said it wanted to block anyone who might potentially be ea [...]


When It Comes To Google, Microsoft’s Ballmer Is Still Fighting Old Battles With Old Tactics

microsoft-google-fight-featured I've watched Microsoft fight Google in search for a very long time. Bing has come a long way, and I've been pleased to see a strong competitor emerge. But Microsoft hasn't actually hurt Google's share. It's only robbed from its partner, Yahoo. So how's Microsoft going to beat Google? Comments from departing CEO Steve Ballmer suggest there are no new tactics in the playbook. Ballmer spoke yesterday at Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting 2013, saying that, among other things that Google was a monopoly. That might sound scary if even Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt hasn't admitted tha [...]


Yahoo Updates Answers For Social And SEO Value

yahoo-answers-questions-featured It's amazing to me that it took Yahoo so long to update its Answers property. Once a thriving Q&A network and social search site, Yahoo really let Answers go to seed. However the company announced yesterday that it was rolling out a new user-experience including mobile optimization. Even in its dilapidated state, Yahoo Answers is the most successful "help engine" or Q&A site on the web (don't tell me it's Quora). Answers was the site that long ago vanquished Google's paid answers property. But the years of product and management turmoil at Yahoo caused tremendous neglect of Answe [...]


Google’s Plan To Withhold Search Data & Create New Advertisers

Not Provided How do you convince a bunch of publishers to buy ads on your service? If you're Google, how about withholding data from those publishers about how people are finding their sites, as a way to drive them into your ad system? I don't think Google planned for this to happen. But that's the end result, in what could be called the "Not Provided" scheme. "Dark Google" Nearly Two Years Old In October 2011 -- nearly two years ago now -- "Dark Google" was born. Google began holding back information it previously gave to publishers for free, "referrer data" that let publishers understand the exact term [...]


Apple Siri On Google Glass: “That Glass Is Half Empty”

ok-glass-on-apple-siri2 The Verge noticed that if you ask Apple Siri about Google Glass, Siri will respond with some humorous responses. In short, if you activate Siri on your iOS device and say, "okay glass," Apple Siri will respond in a witty way. Above are some of the responses in an animated GIF, but here they are in text format. "Stop trying to strap me to your forehead. It won't work." "I think that Glass is half empty." "I'm not Glass. And I'm just fine with that." "Glass? I think you've got the wrong assistant." "Very funny, (name). I mean, not funny 'ha-ha,' but funny." "Just so you k [...]


Bing Says Goodbye To Bing Shopping, Hello Product Search With Rich Captions & Product Ads

bing-shopping-featured Today, Bing announced that Bing Shopping is being replaced by Product Search, which simply integrates product results within Bing search results rather than in a separate destination. Unlike Google, Bing also continues to offer both paid and free ways for merchants to have product listings. Shopping Results Integrated Here's an example of how the new integrated experience will look, where shopping results appear above and to the side of the regular listings: Product Ads: Paying To Be Included Product Ads, which are in closed beta through the holidays, will be incorporated into Bing's [...]


Shatner’s Tweet Hints That He May Like Bing Just As Much As Bing Likes Captain Kirk

bing-startrek In a brief exchange on Twitter yesterday evening, the original Captain Kirk gave Bing a shout-out, recommending the Microsoft search engine could possibly enlighten a fellow Twitter user. William Shatner responded "I hear Google pr Bing helps with that problem" after @Andypops1 tweeted on Shatner's feed, "I still have no idea what spumoni is." Assuming the "pr" in Shatner's tweet was a typo, it appears Shatner is recommending Google or Bing to find answers online. While it would have been a stronger recommendation without the Google reference, it's worth noting that the man who overcame [...]


Google Now Gains Car Rental, Concert Tickets, Reminders While You Search & More

google-now-featured More cards have come to Google's predictive search service, Google Now, including information to alert you to your car rentals, concert tickets and a way to set reminders related to TV shows, book releases and more, when you are searching. Car Rentals Google posted the news to its Android page on Google+, since these are only updates for the Android version of Google Now. Google explained that car rental reservations will now show up, similar to this example: Concert Tickets If you have a concert ticket in your Gmail, Google Now will detect that and display it if you are near the venue [...]


Google Launches AdWords Paid & Organic Report: See Organic And Paid Query Data Side-By-Side

google-adwords-featured1 Today, Google is rolling out a brand new Paid & Organic report in AdWords that gives advertisers at-a-glance insights into query performance across the Google landscape. This is pretty big news from a reporting viewpoint. In the screenshot below, you'll see query performance when an ad was shown, when an organic listing displayed and when both ad and organic results were shown. You can see the click and impression data side-by-side, making it significantly easier to analyze how organic and paid impact one another. You'll need an AdWords account, of course, to use the report, but [...]


Spotted: Stunning AdWords Policy Violations That Facebook & Google Shouldn’t Be Happy About

rejection-sign-featured Behold a brilliant display of Google AdWords advertising policy violations: This ad was spotted by Luke Alley from Avalaunch Media. As it turns out, Alley unearthed a deep pit teeming with ad violations. Search for "facebook support" on Google, and you'll quickly see the ads are crawling with AdWords policy violations. The ad above features "Symbols, numbers, and letters that don't adhere to their true meaning or purpose" with the @ symbol in the headline and ad copy; a phone number gets into the ad copy (against policy since call extensions rolled out) apparently by using that @ sym [...]


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