Ray Kurzweil’s Job At Google: Beat IBM’s Watson At Natural Language Search

ray-kurzweil-600 If Ray Kurzweil is right, computers will be smarter than humans 15 years from now. It's called "technological singularity" and a big part of his job at Google is making sure that vision becomes reality. Kurzweil, an inventor and futurist that became Google's Director of Engineering in late 2012, recently told the Guardian that his sole job at Google is to make the company's computers as smart as humans -- smarter, actually -- when it comes to natural language understanding. Anyone in the search industry should have no trouble seeing the implications of what Kurzweil and his team are doin [...]


Everything’s Not Awesome: Google News Spammed With Pitch To Watch “The Lego Movie” For Free

lego-movie-featured It's definitely not what you expect to make the top of a Google News section, a crappy article promising that you can watch The Lego Movie online for free, not when the film is still in theaters. But that's what Google is delivering up. The screenshot above shows the situation, which reader Vishvesh Agrawal of DhanInfo tipped us to, after coming across it when reading Google News. The "story" appearing at the top of the Google News entertainment section is all types of bad. Supposed News From The Call & Post Let's look at a close-up: Supposedly, this is a story from the Call & [...]


Google Says (Some) Missing Features Will Be Added To New Google Maps

google-maps-600 Google took its new Maps site out of beta this week, but many users noticed that some of their favorite features from Classic Maps were missing. Not to worry, Google says. It's aware of that and plans to bring at least some of those missing over to the new Maps site in the near future. The team will continue to work to improve the new Google Maps, so look out for better performance and additional features, like send to car, in the coming weeks. That mention of the Send To Car feature is as specific as Google would get in its replies to our questions about the missing features we've n [...]


Googling The Weather: From 20% Project To Sophisticated Query Analysis

google-weather-600 Millions of us have asked Google to play weatherperson. In order to get an answer to one of our oldest and most basic questions, we type a variety of words and numbers -- city names, neighborhoods and ZIP codes, plus words like "weather," "forecast" or maybe "temperature" -- into the Google search box, and Google typically has an answer back to us in less than a second. But have you noticed that our weather-related searches can be more complex now than ever? It's true. In recent years, Google has gone from focusing on the keywords we use to figuring out the meaning of our search que [...]


Open Letter: Why Search Engine Land Will & Won’t Cover Someone Being Penalized By Google

google-flyswatter-penalty-600 It's been big news recently about major brands and Google penalties, and the floodgates feel open on people spotting even more brands possibly hit out there. Some new crackdown by Google? No. It's the rise of hyperactive attention in this area, and that's turning into a problem. Hence this open letter, on how we're planning to address "public penalty reports" here at Search Engine Land. In Summary: Penalties Aren't Always Newsworthy The TL;DR is this. We're not going to be writing about every brand that is suspected to be hit by a Google penalty. Unless there's some exceptional news value, t [...]


5 Times Google Penalized Itself For Breaking Its Own SEO Rules

google-jail-600 Make no mistake. Plenty of sites -- big brands included -- willingly do things in an attempt to rank better on Google that go past SEO tactics that Google itself considers acceptable. However, there's also no better poster child for how complicated and confusing Google's rules can be than the fact that Google has had to punish itself with penalties over and over again. Below, a look back on times when Google took action against itself. FYI, this is a companion piece to our related story on Marketing Land today: 10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google. Be sure to also check that out [...]


Wow! See How Much Screen Real Estate Google Is Giving Rivals In Its EU Antitrust Settlement

Google's finally reached a proposed agreement with the European Union over antitrust charges. Judging from screenshots the EU has released, it will give Google rivals unprecedented positioning in Google's results, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. Consider how the EU is saying that shopping results will appear, as part of the agreement. The before: And the after, based on screenshots that the EU has released: In the after, you can see an "Alternatives" section that gives shopping search engines co-equal space alongside Google's own advertisers who buy product listing ads (which [...]


With Nadella’s Appointment, The “Search CEOs” Now Run Google, Yahoo & Microsoft

google-microsoft-yahoo-featured Satya Nadella being named CEO of Microsoft isn't just big news for Microsoft. It's big news for search. For the first time in ages, the three major search companies in the US are all run by CEOs who either came out of a search-background or have a solid understanding of it. Despite the attention search has gained over the years, I feel like it still gets overlooked as the powerhouse it is. It's responsible for about half of online ad spending in the US. It's where the majority of Google's money comes from. As I joke, Google Glass and those self-driving cars are being funded by ads about mes [...]


Super Bowl 2014: How We Searched

Skittles Seattle I know, I know. Kids today are all about the hashtags and the Twitters; but it turns out, we're pretty good multi-taskers and are still really into searching, too. As has been the case all six years I've been looking at how the Super Bowl impacts how we search, we use Google (and Bing and Yahoo) to get more information about everything from snack recipes to players.  The more I watch the stats, the more I imagine that everyone is just sitting at home in front of their televisions, laptop at the ready, and every time someone appears on screen, everyone types at once: tell me more about this! [...]


Where Yahoo Might Again Compete In Search: Mobile

yahoo-mobile-phone-featured Kara Swisher on Friday broke the news that Yahoo was working on two internal (no longer) secret initiatives to get Yahoo back into organic and potentially paid search and thereby separate from Microsoft. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been critical of the Search Alliance with Bing and its impact on her company. The Search Alliance deal, negotiated by Mayer's predecessor Carol Bartz -- Scott Thompson is like the William Henry Harrison of Yahoo -- is pretty much a failure for Yahoo. It has benefited Microsoft and helped Bing to grow share, but mostly at Yahoo's expense. Google has essentially be [...]


What Time Does Super Bowl 2014 Start? Look Up!

Along with the Super Bowl, there's another annual big game that happens -- sites trying to be number one for "What Times Does The Super Bowl Start?" This year, I want to win by pointing out that no one should click on any of the articles competing. Just look up, searchers -- Google already won. Every year, we have a recap of all the attempts by publications to rank tops for this search : 2009: Can Searchers Find The Superbowl? 2010: Searching for the Superbowl Start Time: How Are The Engines, the NFL, and CBS Doing? 2011: What Time Does the 2011 Super Bowl Start? A (Continuing) Le [...]


Matt Cutts: “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done”

blog-featured Google -- and Matt Cutts, in particular -- has made a number of statements about guest blogging over the past year as the tactic has grown as a link building tactic. None of those statements are as clear as the one Cutts wrote today on his personal blog. Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team, says that he'd "expect Google's webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward." He begins the post with a very clear message: Okay, I'm calling it: if you're using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it's bec [...]


Expedia Lost 25% Of Their Search Visibility In Google Possibly Over Unnatural Links

200px-Expedia_logo.svg The major travel website, Expedia, seems to have lost 25% of their search visibility in Google according to Search Metrics. It appears that drop was due to an unnatural link penalty, where Nenad called out Expedia over a month ago for possible paid links on article sites. Expedia.com's Google Traffic Decline: Patrick Altoft noticed a drop in Expedia's traffic today and posted about it on Twitter. If you look at their decline today, it looks like Google has penalized Expedia in their search results. We reached out to Marcus Tober from Search Metrics who sent us additional details showing that [...]


Thousands Of Hotel Listings Were Hijacked In Google+ Local

google-hotel-featured Thousands of hotels listed within Google+ Local appear to have had links leading to their official sites "hijacked" and replaced with ones leading to third-party booking services. Google+ Local listings are what Google depends on to provide results in Google Maps or Google Search, when people look for local businesses. A Hijacked URL For example, here is the "verified" page for the Courtyard Marriott in Sherman Oaks, California: The arrows show how the URLs for the hotel's official website leads to "courtyardmarriott.roomstobook.info" rather than the hotel's actual page here within th [...]


Search Engine Land’s Most-Shared Stories on Google+ for 2013: What’s Right, What’s Wrong, What’s Next, & What’s Dead

sel-2013-review-featured Happy New Year to you, search marketing friends! Surely you're eager to dive head-first into 2014, weighing predictions and forecasts of what's next in the worlds of SEO and SEM, but we've still got an installment or two in our Search Engine Land Year In Review series! So let's get to it. You've seen the roundups of top news, most popular columns and stories, as well as posts that stole the show in our Twitter and Facebook communities. Now, it's time to turn our sights to Google+. What kind of content did our readers share most on Google's own social network over the last 12 months? Hmm.. [...]


Top Search Marketing Columns of 2013

sel-2013-review-featured This past year saw many exciting changes in the world of search. From the birth of Enhanced Campaigns and Hummingbird to the death of the Keyword Tool and keyword referral data, search marketers of all stripes have had to make quite a few adjustments to their daily routines and long-term strategies. While the editorial staff here at Search Engine Land has provided breaking news coverage for these events and more, our hard-working team of over 100 guest columnists brought their expertise to the table as well, helping fellow marketers make sense of the ever-changing search landscape with [...]


Year Of The Hummingbird: Our Top SEO Columns Of 2013

sel-seo2013-featured Our All Things SEO column covers a wide range of topics within the realm of organic search, and this past year saw no dearth of material for our columnists. Perhaps one of the most widely discussed issues within the SEO community in 2013 was the loss of keyword referral data, as Google moved to encrypt all search activity this past September. SEOs relying on this keyword data were forced to change up their tactics and adjust their strategies to accommodate this development. Semantic search was another hot topic in 2013. Although the Schema.org initiative was launched in mid-2011, th [...]


Enhanced Campaigns & More: Our Top Paid Search Columns Of 2013

sel_sem Paid search has long been a staple of Internet marketing, yet the SEM landscape continues to evolve at what seems a lightning-fast pace year after year. This past year was no exception, as 2013 brought with it a host of changes for paid search marketers. The most notable of these changes was arguably Google's announcement and subsequent roll-out of Enhanced Campaigns. The marketing community's response to the news was divided -- but, love it or hate it, Enhanced Campaigns became the new norm as of July 2013. All of our knowledgeable paid search columnists helped keep marketers up-to [...]


Link Building 2013: Looking Back At This Year’s Top Link Week Columns

sel-2013-review-featured With each passing year, search engine algorithms grow increasingly sophisticated in their ability to identify (and penalize) spammy links. Among other things, this year marked the fourth and fifth releases of Google's spam-filtering Penguin update (Penguin 2.0 and 2.1, respectively). Additionally, many link building tactics that were once considered legitimate were unceremoniously moved to the "spam" column in 2013. Google updated its webmaster guidelines to provide additional guidance on what they now consider to be an unnatural link, and even Bing detailed several ways not to buil [...]


Checking In: Our Top Local Search Columns Of 2013

sel-2013-local-featured As more and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) venture into the digital marketing arena, they are quickly recognizing the importance of being visible within local search results. This past year saw the official launch of Google's Knowledge Graph Carousel for local search results, creating a more visually pleasing user experience for searchers. Additionally, Google continued the rocky process of updating its business listings management from Google Places to Google+ Local. Whether you're an SMB trying to navigate the world of local search on your own or a large brand with [...]


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