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Content duplication has been a buzz topic in SEO for a while now. It's one of the modern webmaster's favorite things to fret over and has been for at least two years.Google doesn't like duplicate content. We all get that now. There is still the lingering perception that there is some sort of duplicate content penalty despite repeated assurances from multiple Googlers to the contrary. Maybe there is no penalty; maybe there is some sort of mechanism at work that webmasters perceive as a penalty... it really matters very little. At the end of the day, if you aren't showing up for your own content but somebody else is... you probably aren't the happiest little webmaster.

As a result, syndication has been quite unfairly vilified. Traditionally speaking, having a site link to your content has always been perceived as a compliment of sorts (Google certainly thought it was a fair indicator of quality). That said, syndicating content... having your great content actually picked up by a larger, more influential site was even better in a lot of ways. The syndicated content was put right in front of a whole new user base without them having to click a thing. Generally you also got a nice link back to your site to boot. If you produced a great piece of content, why not have it show up everywhere you possibly could?

Penalty or not, it is clearly the case that the site where content originates may not always rank best for that content. Google wants to do their best to make sure they keep the content of their results pages as distinct from one another as they can. In short, Google doesn't want to have a result page where 4 of the 10 results are all essentially the exact same article.

Here's the thing though syndication is good. It can drive traffic to your site. It can establish your reputation and credibility within a niche and it can generate high quality inbound links. If you are upset because the larger, more recognized and more popular site's syndication of your content outranks your own then I'd have to say you might need to rethink that one a little bit. So what if it does? You are there because you want to be exposed to the larger site's community. You want the links, attention, reputation and all the good things that go along with that don't you? Of course you do. So if you do a search and find that the big site is number one on a good search query with your content, you don't get upset - you say 'yay'.

Why do you say yay? Because your super great content would never have that top position if not for the fact that Google found it on the larger more authoritative site. Sure, if it's that good you can probably get a decent ranking but it won't be as good. Beyond the ranking, even if your site is #2 and the big site is #3 for the same article, guess which one is likely to get clicked thru more; the link to your site, which is not all that well known? Or the link to a site that somebody has heard of?

If you aren't a household name or a recognized authority in whatever areas you are covering, the fastest way to build that reputation and credibility is to become associated with the brand that is. What's the best way to do that? Get your name, your company and your link on their domain. Because at the end of the day the likelihood of you just outranking them on your own for similar subject matter is probably going to be a tough order.

Abby Johnson talked to Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting at SES recently about the syndication vs. duplicate content problem. Eric has some great tips in the video for minimizing the negative aspects of duplication on a syndication model. Three specific items he talks about are syndicating excerpts, including a no-index tag, and writing 'alternative' versions of your content expressly for syndication. He also talks about how effective a syndication model can be. One site he'd worked with increased their traffic by over 50% using syndication almost exclusively.

Google is also working on some stuff to help us help them (isn't that just awesome of them?). Read up on their new cross domain canonical tag. It's new, none of the other search engines support it yet, and it remains to be seen how effective it will be, but it's a start. Whatever you do, don't throw the proverbial baby (syndication) out with the bathwater (duplicated content worries). There is a lot of upside to an effective syndication strategy.

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Google has issued a statement regarding the company's pending acquisition of AdMob. Google's intent to acquire the company was announced back in early November. The deal was for $750 million in stock.

Since then, the Federal Trade Commission has vowed to closely scrutinize the deal. Google had this to say today:

As we said when we announced the deal, we don't see any regulatory issues with this deal, because the rapidly growing mobile advertising space is highly competitive with more than a dozen mobile ad networks.

That said, we know that closer scrutiny has been one consequence of Google's success, and we've been talking to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the past few weeks. This week we received what's called a "second request," which means that the FTC is asking for more information so that they can continue to review the deal.

While this means we won't be closing right away, we're confident that the FTC will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile advertising space will remain highly competitive after this deal closes. And we'll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review.

Types-of-Mobile-Advertising

Upon announcement Google highlighted these things about the deal:

- The deal will bring new innovation and competition to mobile advertising, and will lead to more effective tools for creating, serving, and analyzing emerging mobile ads formats.

- This deal will benefit developers, publishers, and advertisers by improving the performance of mobile advertising, and will provide users with more free or low-cost mobile apps.

- The mobile advertising space will remain highly competitive, with more than a dozen mobile ad networks. The deal is similar to mobile advertising acquisitions that AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo have made in the past two years

"Mobile advertising has enormous potential as a marketing medium and while this industry is still in the early stages of development, AdMob has already made exceptional progress in a very short time," said Susan Wojcicki, Vice President of Product Management at Google upon the announcement.

Google says since the announcement, they have seen a quite positive reaction from advertisers and publishers, who are "enthusiastic" about the possibilities the deal might bring. It's hard to say how long the regulatory process will take, but we'll keep you posted as we learn more.

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It's the time of year when not only does everybody reflect upon trends and happenings from the year past, but they also look forward and make predictions for the coming year. Nielsen has shared its projections for the top advertising trends for 2010. These are:

1. Optimizing media convergence is a top priority.
2. New models emerge to take advantage of smartphones.
3. More cross-media ad campaigns surface.
4. Commercialization of social networking hubs increase.
5. More interesting and interactive online ads appear.
"A better understanding of media convergence will manifest in order to deliver a better return on investment," the firm says. "The ability to accurately measure activity and link online ads to offline purchasing behavior will be critical."

Nielsen says accurate mobile measurement will be required for advertisers to stay ahead of "snowballing growth" of that media platform and that the massive growth of online games will lead the way for more successful interactive and cross-media advertising campaigns. The firm expects growth in innovation and adoption in this area.

Of course social media will continue to provide new opportunities and Nielsen thinks there will be increased use of more creative advertising and content models online.

John Burbank John Burbank, CEO of Nielsen Online says the next phase of the Internet will be the "audience-centric web" and will be characterized by the audience being the center of everything, "online" no longer being an island, and richer business opportunities due to richer data being consumed.

"Whether it’s reaching men aged 18 to 24, women with incomes of over $150,000, heavy users of Tide or Hispanic teens, the match of consumer need to marketing message starts with the audience," he says. "In the audience-centric Web, that richness of insight will now be available to online marketers, just as it has been offline."

Nielsen also shared its top five cross-media trends for 2010, which include: convergence in demand, second and third screen initiative growth, continued audience fragmentation, new and varied approaches to content, and the formation of multiple distribution opportunities.

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It's no secret that people work harder when given a financial incentive, and that companies also like to make a little money. Now, the program that YouTube created to capitalize on these facts has turned two years old, and YouTube's having a little celebration.

As Shenaz Zack, a product manager, explained on the YouTube Blog, the Partner Program is pretty much a huge success. He pointed out, "[M]any partners are earning real dollars from their videos. Some users have quit their jobs to concentrate on YouTube full-time, including several who make six figures a year from the site."

There have been some other interesting real-world effects as a result of the Partner Program, too. Fred's set to become a movie star. Brownbagfilms already has, with a video entering the Oscar runoffs. And Zack wrote, "Others have earned such awards as a Tech Award in Education, Digista Award in Japan, and the distinction of being one of TIME's 50 best inventions of 2009."

This string of successes is almost sure to continue. Indeed, since YouTube controls access to the program, it could open the figurative floodgates at any time, allowing all sorts of content creators the opportunity to step up their game and share revenue from ads.

Of course, this would mean having ads on all sorts of content, and would in turn generate a lot of revenue for YouTube.

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Google announced that it now offering cross-domain support of the rel="canonical" link element. If you are unfamiliar with this link element, Google's Matt Cutts discussed it. Basically, it's a way to avoid duplicate content issues, but until now, you couldn't use it across domains.

"For some sites, there are legitimate reasons to [have] duplicate content across different websites — for instance, to migrate to a new domain name using a web server that cannot create server-side redirects," says John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst with Google Z├╝rich.
"There are situations where it's not easily possible to set up redirects," he says. "This could be the case when you need to move your website from a server that does not feature server-side redirects. In a situation like this, you can use the rel='canonical' link element across domains to specify the exact URL of whichever domain is preferred for indexing. While the rel='canonical' link element is seen as a hint and not an absolute directive, we do try to follow it where possible."

Cross Domain Duplicate Content

Mueller gives the following ways of handling cross-domain content duplication:

- Choose your preferred domain
- Reduce in-site duplication
- Enable crawling and use 301 (permanent) redirects where possible
- Use the cross-domain rel="canonical" link element

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable gives three reasons why the addition of cross-domain support for the rel="canonical" link element is really important:

1. Some hosts don't allow webmasters to deploy 301 redirects
2. Some site owners aren't technical enough to implement a 301 redirect
3. In some cases, webmasters do not want to redirect users but rather only search engines (i.e. pagination, weird filtering, tracking parameters added to URLs, etc).
To use the link element, pages don't have to be identical, but they should be similar. According to Google, slight differences are fine. You should not point point rel="canonical" to the home page of the preferred site. Google says this can result in problems, and that a mapping from an old URL to a new URL for each URL on the old site is the best way to go.

You should not use a nonindex robots meta tag on pages with a rel="canonical" link element because those pages would not be equivalent with regards to indexing, Google says. One would be allowed while the other would be blocked. Google also says it's important that these pages aren't disallowed from crawling through a robots.txt file, because search engine crawlers won't be able to discover the rel="canonical" link element.

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This time of year everybody likes to start making predictions about where industries are heading. This is especially true in the search industry. My guess is that we will see quite a few pieces this month regarding where search is going in 2010. These can make for entertaining reads and get the mind going with regards to how we are going to have to plan for an ever-changing future of search engine marketing.

When Google itself comes out with predictions for where search is headed, things get even more interesting. This is obviously because Google is such a huge and critical part of the search landscape. Google's Matt Cutts discussed some of his own predictions for search in a recent upload to Google's Webmaster Central YouTube channel.

One thing Matt stressed is that Google is always looking for new types of data to search. He gave examples of searching email with Gmail, books with Google Book Search, and patents with Google Patent search. He predicts Google will continue this trend and find more data sources to provide search functionality for.

Another prediction he gave was that Google will continue to improve search over harder problems. Specifically, he noted things like determining what is really going on with the words in documents and in queries - semantic search if you will.

"A lot of people think that if you type in 'A B C,' all Google does is crawl the web and return pages that match 'A,' 'B,' and 'C'. And that's not it," says Cutts. "We do a lot of sophisticated stuff. Think about synonyms, morphology...all sorts of ways where we can kind of find out, 'oh, this is really related to them conceptually.' Whether you want to call it semantic stuff or statistical processing, we do a lot of stuff to try and return relevant documents."

As part of this prediction, Cutts says Google will continue trying to find new ways to extract "good data" from the web. He mentions Google Squared (which is still in an experimental stage) as an example of doing so. Google Squared, in Google's words, takes a category and creates a starter 'square' of information, automatically fetching and organizing facts from across the web.

Google Squared  - Planets
Cutts also predicts that people will get more comfortable with storing their data in the cloud. He expects more people will migrate their data from their hard drives to different cloud services, and that this will make it easier and better for search, and contribute to the delivery of more relevant results.

He also mentions real-time and mobile as playing significant roles in the future or search. No surprise there.

"It's going to be a lot of fun. Search is nowhere near done, and every time we make search better, people ask us harder and harder questions, " he says. "So the nice thing is knowing that we'll pretty much always have more to do to make search better."

Cutts recently discussed the possibility that page speed could play a role in search engine rankings. He made no mention of this in this set of predictions, but that is another thing to consider as we get ready to move into 2010.

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Google has launched its new homepage, which looks generally the same, but removes everything but the logo, search box, and two buttons until the user moves the mouse. Google says most people go to the Google home page to search, and they wanted to remove the other distractions, unless users specifically want to see them.

This is an interesting philosophy, because it certainly grabs your attention when you move the mouse and and a bunch of new stuff appears. Perhaps, the move is really designed to draw attention to Google's other services.

"Since most users who are interested in clicking over to a different application generally do move the mouse when they arrive, the 'fade in' is an elegant solution that provides options to those who want them, but removes distractions for the user intent on searching," Google says.

New Google Home Page
Google has been testing similar designs for several months. The company explains:

All in all, we ran approximately 10 variants of the fade-in. Some of the experiments hindered the user experience: for example, the variants of the homepage that hid the search buttons until after the fade performed the worst in terms of user happiness metrics. Other variants of the experiment produced humorous outcomes when combined with our doodles — the barcode doodle combined with the fade was particularly ironic in its overstated minimalism . However, in the end, the variant of the homepage we are launching today was positive or neutral on all key metrics, except one: time to first action. At first, this worried us a bit: Google is all about getting you where you are going faster — how could we launch something that potentially slowed users down? Then, we realized: we want users to notice this change... and it does take time to notice something (though in this case, only milliseconds!). Our goal then became to understand whether or not over time the users began to use the homepage even more efficiently than the control group and, sure enough, that was the trend we observed.

Judging from conversation on Twitter, opinions of the new page are pretty evenly mixed. Some think it's "snazzy," while others feel it's distracting." Some don't like that you have to move the mouse to know where specific links are.

As with any design change to a popular site, there are going to be critics and supporters. The Google home page affects a great deal of web users. What is your opinion of the new change?

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It's easy for businesses to get caught up in Google's expectations for their sites, when trying to market through search. That's certainly a wise thing to do, considering Google dominates the search market by a huge margin. Still, there are other search engines that people are using, and it is also wise to make sure your site is performing to the best of its ability in those too.

I'm obviously talking about Yahoo and Bing, but Yahoo's share is declining, while Bing's is gaining. Furthermore, if the deal between Microsoft and Yahoo goes through, Bing search will be talking over Yahoo anyway.
We don't hear as much about what Bing wants out of a site for rankings, but Rick DeJarnette of Bing Webmaster Center has shared some dos and don'ts of link-building for Bing. Not surprisingly, a lot of his advice for honoring Bing's policy, does not differ too much from advice that Google would give you. It is, however, still always nice to see how they feel, just to clear up any possible confusion.

Like Google, Bing places great emphasis on quality links to determine its rankings. "Just don't make the mistake of believing it will result in instant gratification. Successful link building efforts require a long-term commitment, not an overnight or turnkey solution," says DeJarnette. "You need to continually invest in link building efforts with creativity and time."

What Not To Do

DeJarnette shared a list of things that you should avoid in your link building efforts, if it is a good Bing ranking that you are after. Here is what Bing says will get your site reviewed more closely by staff:

1. The number of inbound links suddenly increases by orders of magnitude in a short period of time

2. Many inbound links coming from irrelevant blog comments and/or from unrelated sites

3. Using hidden links in your pages

4. Receiving inbound links from paid link farms, link exchanges, or known "bad neighborhoods" on the Web

5. Linking out to known web spam sites

"When probable manipulation is detected, a spam rank factor is applied to a site, depending upon the type and severity of the infraction," says DeJarnette. "If the spam rating is high, a site can be penalized with a lowered rank. If the violations are egregious, a site can be temporarily or even permanently purged from the index."

What To Do


DeJarnette also shared some tips for getting more quality links. Following are Bing's tips for effective link building (paraphrased):

1. Develop your site as a business brand and brand it consistently

2. Find relevant industry experts, product reviewers, bloggers, and media folk, and make sure they're aware of your site/content

3. Publish concise, informative press releases online

4. Publish expert articles to online article directories

5. Participate in relevant conversations on blogs/forums, referring back to your site's content when applicable

6. Use social networks to connect to industry influencers (make sure you have links to your site in your profiles)

7. Create an email newsletter with notifications of new content

8. Launch a blog/forum on your site

9. Participate in relevant industry associations and especially in their online forums

10. Strive to become a trusted expert voice for your industry, while promoting your site
Most of the stuff DeJarnette shared is nothing any savvy search marketer is not already aware of. That said, there are clearly plenty of online (and offline for that matter) businesses out there that don't have savvy search marketers on the payroll. It can be quite helpful when a search engine itself lays out what to do and what not to do to help webmasters get better rankings.

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Google has announced that the Iraqi government has launched a dedicated YouTube channel. It can be found at youtube.com/iraqigov.

The Iraqi government joins the Pope, the Royal Family, Queen Rania, and the presidents of the United States, France, South Korea, and Estonia in having YouTube channels to communicate with the public. Here's a YouTube message from Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:

"Earlier this year, I visited Baghdad as a guest of the U.S. State Department to engage in conversations about the role of technology in Iraq," says Hunter Walk, Director of Product Management for YouTube. "In discussions with elected officials, private companies and NGOs, I routinely heard the desire to connect with fellow citizens, Iraqis outside the country's borders, and cultures across the world."

"But it wasn't just the Iraqi Government who expressed an interest in YouTube — I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of awareness from a wide variety of Iraqis," he continues. "One young student told us she uses YouTube to understand what is really happening in her country based on the variety of opinions, citizen journalism and news reports uploaded to the site. There was little difference between her examples and those we often hear in other countries, which speaks to both the global community on YouTube and the universality of the video experience."

On a related note, Google CEO Eric Schmidt himself visited Iraq this past week, where he met with government officials. He offered the following video via YouTube's Citizentube site:

It's quite interesting to see how online video, social media, and YouTube in particular are changing the way governments connect with the people. It is likely that even more countries' governments will follow suit in the future.

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Microsoft has launched a new site for Bing, where users can go to find out the latest features that have been implemented into the search engine (excuse me, "decision engine"). The site's called Behind Bing.

"You can see each feature in action though a screencast, see me talk about why we did it the way we did (for those who like to geek out), and get some drill-down details," says Bing's Stefan Weitz. "For those of you pressed for time, check out 'Features for You' at the bottom of the site which highlights some features that I thought were especially cool depending on what and where you are."

Behind Bing

Highlighted on the site currently are sections looking at:

- Real-time search
- Bing Local
- Weather/Event results
- Enhanced Results
- Enhanced hover
- Bing for mobile
- Videos
- Bing Travel
- Bing Health
- Visual Search
- Bing Shopping
- Wolfram Alpha
- Search Sharing
- Reference
There are videos and other sections for "explore," "overview," and "insight guide." If you don't regularly keep up with Bing's announcements or search news in general, this should serve as a good place to check out from time to time just to see what the search engine has been up to, and to stay informed about any functionalities that you may have otherwise missed. That will of course require that Microsoft keeps it updated.

On a related note, all of the features that Bing announced last week are supposed to be "100%" live now for all users, but that doesn't seem to be accurate, as I am not able to access some of the new stuff yet.

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Bing has managed to turn retailers' heads in a big way. After looking at statistics from part of 2008, SearchIgnite reported that retailers spent almost 50 percent more with Microsoft's search engine this time around, which puts Google and Yahoo partly to shame.

Or, to be more precise, "Retailers have spent 47% more on search ads on Bing in Q4 this year than during this same time period in 2008," according to SearchIgnite. "Compared with Google and Yahoo!, Bing also saw better YoY click volume growth."

Additionally, "[a]verage order values on Bing are 21% higher than across all engines, which could account for the spend growth."

Impressive, right? It's only when you sort of step back for a moment that Bing's achievements look less stunning. That's because, despite the progress Microsoft has made, exactly 75 percent of advertisers' dollars went to Google during the first part of this quarter, and 16 percent headed to Yahoo. Bing grabbed just 8 percent.

Still, some headway is better than none, and retailers are demonstrating a lot of confidence in Bing by giving it a try during the all-important holiday season.

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After all is said and done Rupert Murdoch may still be seen as the sly old fox that really knew best. Many bloggers and journalists have pounded the insanity of Murdoch's suggestion that News Corp publications might strike an exclusive indexing deal with Bing and delist itself from Google's search engine.

However, what if Murdoch was really only talking about the Wall Street Journal and not all News Corp publications? Then the idea might actually make a lot of sense.

According to Compete.com WSJ.com already receives the largest percentage of its traffic from Microsoft' (18.74%). This is contrary to many sites which typically receive the majority of their referrals from Google, often many times more than what Microsoft delivers. Yahoo provides another 6.3% and since Bing will likely be owning Yahoo's search business that means Microsoft is actually delivering 25% of the Wall Street Journals current traffic.

If Rupert Murdoch can get Microsoft to pay possibly as much as $50 million or more a year to lose just 11.5% of his Google traffic sent to WSJ.com the deal makes a lot of sense.

According to Hitwise Google and Google News combined deliver approximately 26% of WSJ.com visitors. However, even with this larger percentage (vs. Compete's) Hitwise notes in a blog post why this might not be as much of a traffic loss as it appears:

Analyzing Google search terms driving traffic to the Journal, the top 100 terms accounted for over 21.6% of all Google search traffic to WSJ.com. Of that 21.6%, 13.4% were navigational or brand searches (e.g. "Wall Street Journal," "WSJ," "WSJ.com" etc...). Even if Murdoch decides to block Google, these navigational search queries will most likely remain intact.

Of the remaining 8.2%, the majority of searches were for stock quotes, and general business related searches. Most specific news related searches fill-out the long tail of search queries. While the Journal may lose traffic if it ceases to cooperate with Google the loss may be less then anticipated.

From Bing's perspective Wall Street Journal exclusivity not only differentiates Bing from Google but it could also help change its image as a more consumer focused search engine. The Wall Street Journal is the most read business publication in the World and this deal could go a long way toward modifying Bing's consumer image in the minds of business executives.

After all, a click resulting from a B2B oriented search term usually demands a premium price, which could help offset Bing's cost of paying Murdoch for exclusive inclusion.

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Google's Matt Cutts discussed how the search engine handles sites that that are "in the cloud" with regards to how listings are affected. Matt's explanation was a response to the following user-submitted question:

Can moving my website to "the cloud" harm my listings? Say my server's in Germany and I move the website to Google's App Engine or Amazon S3. Does this harm my listings for German results - or is it enough to set the "geographic target" in GWT to Germany?

Matt broke the question down into separate parts to answer them. First, he took on the part about moving a site to "the cloud" harming the users' listings. His answer for this is basically that Google doesn't even know if your site is in the cloud, so it can't use that information to affect listings.

"We don't know what is happening on the side of your web server. Your web server could be running Perl, PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails," said Cutts. "All we know is what the web server returns. So your web server could be running code that would go talk to Amazon's cloud or Appspot or anywhere else in the cloud, but we wouldn't even know that. We don't even know whether a page is dynamically created or statically created. All we know is what the web server sends back."

He says if your site is talking to the cloud behind the scenes, there is now way for any search engine or bot to know about that. Watch the video above to hear Matt's explanation for the second part of the user's question.

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Microsoft has announced the addition of a number of new features to its Bing search engine. The company says it has been examining the trends in search and in feedback, and is working to accommodate these. Microsoft is referring to trends like the demand for faster access to knowledge, offering different user interfaces for different kinds of results, and an increased focus on "getting things done" with search.
Bing is rolling out a new "task-focused" version of its home page. It looks relatively the same as before, but when you mouse over different categories, you will get more search options. For example, if you mouse over "Travel," you will get links like "find flights" and "find hotels," and you can conduct your search from there.

New Bing home page

"There is also an interactive Instant Answer that allows you to enter your origin, destination, travel dates and…click…you are in Bing travel," says Bing Product Manager Henry Hall. "Within Bing travel you have fast access to flight purchase recommendations via the price predictor that tells you the least expensive times to fly. In addition to money, you’ll save time as well with Bing travel’s comprehensive flight listing results and links to top travel sites and airlines."

Bing Flights Search

Bing is also enhancing local information for hundreds of cities looking for things like local attractions, points of interest, neighborhoods and other local information sources like newspaper web sites. Bing has developed enhanced city results, which include links to key information and high-resolution slide shows.

Bing Travel Search

Bing is making it easier to find the preview feature. "We're doing a better job mining things like contact phone numbers and email addresses from web pages and displaying them clearly under a Contact banner, and generally cleaning up the interface to make it easier to decide if this a site you want to visit," says Hall. "Last, we're also integrating images in some preview results. We believe that all these features will allow for a faster decision about whether a site is right for your needs, which means less clicking on your browser’s back button."

Bing has also added a new Event Search feature, which gives users a summary of events for major cities, which can be filtered by things like performances, food & dining, fairs & festivals, music, etc.

Bing Events Search

Bing has also made it easy to share results for shopping searches on Facebook, a feature Hall deems ideal for passing on holiday gift ideas. There are also better results for health-related searches, including, conditions, medications, and hospitals. Each type of query will return more info and a more organized set of results.

Perhaps the biggest addition to Bing is that of Wolfram Alpha's algorithms and "expertly curated data". Wolfram Alpha will help power Bing's results for nutritional information and math searches.

When users search Bing for specific food items, they will get a nutrition quick tab that shows more information about it and a nutrition facts label at the bottom of the results page.

Wolfram Alpha Nutrition Info

"Another helpful tool is the body mass index that tracks your workout progress," the Bing Team says. "We have introduced Wolfram|Alpha’s body mass index interactive form on our results page. If you search for ‘bmi’ you’ll get the option to enter your height and weight. Click ‘Calculate’ and you’ll get a detailed Body Mass Index analysis directly on Bing."

Bing will also rely on Wolfraph Alpha's ability to solve complex math functions.

Wolfram Alpha Math Info
Bing says there will be more new features highlighted on the Bing Search Blog over the next few days. The features are just starting to roll out in the US, so it could be a while before you actually see them.

More on the newly announced features, read this post. For more on Bing's integration with Wolfram Alpha specifically, read here.


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The desire to integrate products is strong at Google; it’s not hard to imagine that the company would eventually like to offer one great, big search/video/email/advertising ball. And today, it took a tiny step along that path by rolling together some analytics products.

A post on the AdSense for Feeds blog announced, “If you use either AdSense for feeds or Google FeedBurner to track item clicks and also use Google Analytics, as of today, you will automatically start to see your feed item click analytics show up in Google Analytics with some additional information added to help you understand how distributing your feed with FeedBurner leads to traffic on your site.”

The post then continued, “Specifically, we will help you classify your links by tagging the Source as ‘feedburner,’ the Medium as the channel in which we sent out your feed such as ‘feed’ or ‘email,’ and the Content as the actual endpoint application in which the user viewed your feed content such as ‘Google Reader’ or ‘Yahoo! Mail.’”

More distribution endpoint labels are on the way, too.

Hopefully this update will help people earn a little extra money heading into the holidays. At the least, it may simplify FeedBurner and AdSense for Feeds users’ lives a little, which would also represent a nice treat this time of year.

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Over the course of 2009, a consistent theme that Google has been involved with is that of speed. In announcement after announcement, Google has talked about the importance of speed on the web, and how the company wants to do everything it can to make the web a faster place. Has it occurred to you that how fast your page loads may have a direct effect on how your site ranks in Google?

Don't worry, it hasn't had an impact...yet. Google's Matt Cutts told us that speed may soon be a ranking factor.

"Historically, we haven't had to use it in our search rankings, but a lot of people within Google think that the web should be fast," says Cutts. "It should be a good experience, and so it's sort of fair to say that if you're a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. If you really have an awfully slow site, then maybe users don't want that as much."

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Michael Arrington from TechCrunch claims to have heard from "a reliable source" that Google will be launching the much-anticipated Chrome OS within a week. The tech industry media has been punked on Chrome OS in the past, but as Arrington notes, Google has said to expect it in the fall, and fall is running out.

Chrome OS is Google's attempt to "rethink what operating systems should be." It's an open source, "lightweight" operating system to be initially targeted at netbooks.

"Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS," Google said upon the Chrome OS announcement. "We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work."

Chrome OS "The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform," the company continued. "All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform."

Arrington says he thinks driver support will be an issue with Chrome OS. "...Having a robust set of functioning drivers is extremely important to Chrome OS’s success. People will want to download this to whatever computer they use and have it just work," he says. "We expect Google will be careful with messaging around the launch, and endorse a small set of devices for installation. EEE PC netbooks, for example, may be one set of devices that Google will say are ready to use Chrome OS. There will likely be others as well, but don’t expect to be able to install it on whatever laptop or desktop machine you have from day one."

If Arrington's source truly is reliable, then we should see how the launch of Chrome OS pans out very soon. It's going to be very interesting to see how Google competes with Microsoft in the operating system space, as it is doing in both search and web browsers.

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Have you ever wondered what would happen to your content on third-party sites if those sites ceased to exist? You may own your content on them as it stands now, but what if they went away?
You may recall earlier this year when URL-shortening service Tr.im announced it was going to shut down and sparked a big discussion about what happens to all of these links if such a service just decides it doesn't want to exist anymore. It is an interesting discussion, and it ultimately led to Tr.im having a change of heart and deciding to remain functional.

Now, the Internet Archive has announced the launch of 301Works.org, a service, which archives shortened URLs. The organization sums up the need for such a service pretty well:

The use of shortened URLs has grown dramatically due to the popularity of Twitter and similar micro-streaming services where posts are limited to a small number of characters. Millions of shortened URLs are generated for users every day by a wide variety of companies.

But when a URL shortening service shuts down, the shortened URLs people put in their blogs, tweets, emails and web sites break. Unless users have kept a record of each shortened URL and where it was supposed to redirect to, it’s not possible to fix them.


Over 20 URL shortening services have gotten involved with 301Works.org, and Bit.ly (Twitter's service of choice) has already begun donating archives. "Short URL providers have in the space of eighteen months become a corner stone of the real time web — 301Works.org was conceived to provide redundancy so that users and services could resolve a URL mapping regardless of availability. The Internet Archive is a perfect host organization to run and manage this for all providers," said Bit.ly CEO John Borthwick.

"The Internet Archive is honored to play this role to help make the Web more robust," added Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive.

The issue of archiving the web of course touches a much broader spectrum than that of URL-shorteners. 301Works should go a long way for maintaining shortened URLs, but what about Facebook updates? Tweets? What if Facebook or Twitter decided to shut down one day? According to Twitter's terms of service, you own your content, but Twitter does host it and they have control over it regardless of whether or not you own it.

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Back in August, Google gave AdSense publishers more control over what ads appear on their sites by launching an upgrading the category filtering feature and extending the feature's beta to the US and the UK.

So in essence, if you don't want certain kinds of sites showing up in ads on your site, you could block them. Google shows how the different ad categories contribute to your income, so you can take that into consideration.

Today Google announced that it will be providing users with more ad filtering options. Soon, the option for 3 more filter categories will be added for a total of 8 different categories. These will be coming in the next few weeks.

"To get started with category filtering, sign in to AdSense and visit the Ad Review Center, located under the AdSense Setup tab," says Google's Arlene Lee. "You can choose from the listed categories, which include religion, politics, and dating, and your selections will be applied to ads in English no matter how they're targeted."

Ad Review Center
"Please keep in mind that filtering ad categories may affect your AdSense revenue -- we recommend first reviewing the percentages displayed in your account to understand the amount of revenue you may be blocking," she reminds users.

Google says its continuing to work on additional filtering capabilities as well, but does not get into specifics. They are of course encouraging feedback.

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A Joint Committee on Taxation report released today by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) found that regulating Internet gambling would generate roughly $42 billion over 10 years.

The report is based on the requirement of a federal license for operators that would allow them to offer online gambling throughout the United States, while keeping the federal prohibition on any form of sports betting.

"This analysis further reinforces the fact that a regulated environment will generate billions in new revenue to offset the costs of health care reform or other vital government programs," said Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.

"With the completed analysis, and support for Internet gambling regulation growing daily, it's only a matter of time before Congress acts and begins allocating the billions in new revenue sitting on the table to one program or another."

Online-Gambling

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would legalize Internet gambling and McDermott has a companion bill that would collect tax revenues on online gambling.

"We believe this tax revenue analysis will encourage immediate discussions and consideration of pending legislation to regulate Internet gambling," said Waxman.

"With everyone acknowledging that attempts to prohibit the activity have failed, this provides even more incentive for Congress to act."

Currently the amount of revenue that remains uncollected while Americans gamble online is more than $100 billion annually.

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If you still don’t have a clue what do-follow is, do-follow is a simple attribute used within a link for the purpose of the search engines to give credit to a source. Links that point to a source containing this attribute, have more weight in helping to popularize a certain article to rank higher in the search engines – the reason why do-follow links are considered precious.

(List is organized by Alexa rankings)

  1. Digg – Alexa 110, PR 8
  2. Multiply – Alexa 222, PR 7
  3. Stumble Upon – Alexa 279, PR 8
  4. Reddit – Alexa 443, PR 8
  5. Mixx – Alexa 810, PR 8
  6. Mybloglog – Alexa 1,331, PR 7
  7. SlashDot – Alexa 1,345, PR 9
  8. Propeller – Alexa 1,684, PR 8
  9. Folkd – Alexa 1,896, PR 7
  10. Diigo – Alexa 2,236, PR 7
  11. Dzone – Alexa 3,045, PR 6
  12. JumpTags – Alexa 3,215, PR 6
  13. IndianPad – Alexa 3,287, PR 5
  14. Newsvine – Alexa 4,384, PR 7
  15. Mister-Wong – Alexa 4,625, PR 7
  16. Faves – Alexa 5,197, PR 6
  17. Connotea – Alexa 6,445 PR 7
  18. BackFlip – Alexa 7,319, PR 2
  19. SpotBack – Alexa 8,309, PR 5
  20. Spurl – Alexa 9,351, PR 5
  21. LinkaGoGo – Alexa 9,359, PR 6
  22. Searchles – Alexa 9,623, PR 5
  23. CoRank – Alexa 9,749, PR 5
  24. MyLinkVault – Alexa 9,817, PR 5
  25. Oyax – Alexa 10,958, PR 4
  26. BuddyMarks – Alexa 10,980, PR 5
  27. Kirtsy – Alexa 13,150, PR 6
  28. Tagza – Alexa 14,545, PR 5
  29. BookMarkTracker – Alexa 14,951, PR 4
  30. ShoutWire – Alexa 15,846, PR 5
  31. ClipClip – Alexa 16,226, PR 5
  32. SocialMedian – Alexa 17,914, PR 6
  33. Plime – Alexa 20,604 PR 5
  34. Yattle – Alexa 21,655, PR 3
  35. GiveALink – Alexa 22,620, PR 5
  36. BlogMarks – Alexa 24,382, PR 4
  37. DotNetKicks – Alexa 26,988 PR 5
  38. MyPip – Alexa 30,423, PR 3
  39. PinoyMug – Alexa 30,764, PR 3
  40. Tedigo – Alexa 35,125, PR 3
  41. Linkatopia – Alexa 38,994, PR 5
  42. Bringr – Alexa 59,740, PR 3
We hope you enjoy this list of over 42 Do-Follow Social Bookmarking Sites. If you have any more social bookmarking sites that you would like to recommend, simply use the comment form above to suggest more!

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Google has developed a plug-in for WordPress that adds the social features of Google Friend Connect to WordPress blogs. The plug-in allows visitors to these blogs to authenticate using any OpenID account, including Google, Yahoo, or AIM and then comment on posts without having to register. When a visitor authenticates, it creates a WordPress account.

Google Friend Connect"You can later add or remove permissions for the visitor from the WordPress site administration pages," explains Mauro Gonzalez, who developed the plug-in. "If desired, WordPress comments can be replaced by Google Friend Connect comments gadgets. In this case, no WordPress account is created, since Google Friend Connect handles both the rendering of the comments as well as comments moderation. Regardless of whether the Google Friend Connect comments gadgets are enabled or not, comment entries display the user profile picture and link to the user’s profile."

There is a set of social gadgets available that includes the Social Bar, Members, Recommendations, and Global Conversation gadgets. "When recommendations are enabled, a 'Recommend' button is displayed below your posts allowing the site members to choose the content they like most," says Gonzalez. "The most popular posts will surface to the top of the list within the recommendations gadget."

When a user of the WordPress blog posts content or comments on a post, this information will appear in the Google Friend Connect activity stream. Features of the plug-in like colors, size, labels, etc. can be customized in Wordpress like anything else.

The plug-in is available on the Google Code site. Examples are live in demos here and here.

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Running an advertising campaign is complicated enough without having to mentally assign new meanings to most of the buttons on your keyboard. Google's giving advertisers a hand, then, by offering them AdWords shortcuts stickers.

The stickers (see a mockup below) are meant to be applied to your keyboard. Assuming your fingers don't block your field of view, they should subsequently make it easier to figure out what key combos will let you go to the Ads group tab, for example, or select multiple rows within a table.

The stickers are free, and are available to AdWords advertisers in 22 countries (No Bosnia included,well google thinks we are a shithool) for as long as supplies last. About all you need to do to get a set is supply Google with your name and address. (Although we should note that we have no idea how many stickers Google has on hand.)

This is reminiscent of a stunt Google pulled back in June; at that point, the search giant gave away laminated sheets of "Gmail ninja" tips.

It seems that Google's trying to make everything just a little bit easier on users, perhaps on the theory that they'll become heavier or more loyal users as a result.

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Google and Microsoft have both inked deals with Twitter and Microsoft has also inked one with Facebook to integrate Twitter and Facebook updates into Bing search results. Google will be adding tweets to search results.

Google's Marissa Mayer says, " We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months. That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you'll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information."

There is a good chance that Google will be making a similar deal with Facebook, but even if they don't, their deal with Twitter and Bing's deals with both make it all the more important for marketers to be found in real-time searches and Facebook/Twitter in general.
A while back WebProNews compiled a list of five tips for getting found in real-time searches, which basically boils down to staying in the conversation for relevant topics that people are searching for. The tips were:

1. Use keywords
2. Talk about timely events
3. Have a lot of followers
4. Promote conversation
5. Include calls to engagement
I elaborated on each of these in the previous articles. Social media is viral by nature, and real-time search is nothing more than putting things in chronological order. You have to keep people talking to stay relevant "right now."
That said, we don't know all the details about how Google and Bing will be integrating its Twitter and Facebook results into the rest of their results yet. Bing has made available a beta tool for people to mess around with for searching tweets with the search engine. "You can now search for what people are saying all over the web about breaking news topics, your favorite celebrity, hometown sports team, and anything else you use Twitter to stay on top of today," says Paul Yiu of Bing's Social Search team.
Bing - Twitter search
The new Twitter developments in Bing include:
  • A real-time index of the Tweets that match your search queries in results. This feature makes it easier to follow what’s going on by reducing the amount of duplicates, spam, and adult content.
  • Giving you the option to rank tweets either by most recent or by “best match,” where we consider a Tweeter’s popularity, interestingness of the tweet, and other indicators of quality and trustworthiness.
  • Providing the top links shared on Twitter around your specific search query by showcasing a few of the most relevant tweets. Additionally, Bing automatically expands those small URLs (like bit.ly) to enable you to understand what people are tweeting about. Instead of showing standard search result captions, we select 2 top tweets to give users a glimpse of the sentiment around the shared link.

Bing already displays some Tweets for certain people results at the very top of the regular web search results page. That's a good place to appear.

Google announced a new Google labs project that injects social media into its own search results. This was also announced at the Web 2.0 Summit. Ben Parr with Mashable has the details from Mayer:

- The bottom of search results will soon have social networking information from your friends, like their Flickr (Flickr) photos or their status updates. It’s a blended search integration, similar to seeing news or image results.

- These are pulled from social networks connected to your Google Profile. The more that are connected, the more social information that will appear in search results.

- They have also improved searching for images using social networks. Images become more relevant using social networking data.

- It will launch in Google Labs in the next few weeks.

The deals with Microsoft and Google make social media marketing all the more important to marketing in general, and specifically search engine marketing. Where social media has generally fit into the SEO equation thus far, has been the promotion of content, which inspires links and conversation, which can in turn help search engine rankings.

Now, if status updates and tweets become directly integrated into search results in Universal Search-type fashion, it will be not only be about promotion and outside links, it will be about direct exposure right in the results, not unlike the importance of online video right now (as you're probably aware, videos are often displayed prominently on the first page of Google results).

Now, forgetting about Google for a moment, pretend that the deals with Microsoft are the only ones that happened. You may also recall that Microsoft has a certain deal in the works with Yahoo. This (if everything goes according to plan) will see Bing results taking over Yahoo's own. Yahoo may still be controlling the front-end of its search, but Bing will be controlling the back-end. Ranking for Bing will mean ranking for Yahoo.

So with Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook deals all in place for Bing, getting found in real-time searches may not only mean getting found in Twitter searches, Facebook searches, and such. It may also mean getting found in Bing searches and in Yahoo searches. That's pretty much the meat of the non-Google U.S. search market.

Now let's bring Google back into the equation. It has a deal with Twitter and may very well have one with Facebook before long. Kara Swisher who broke the news about Microsoft's deals says Google's been talking with both social networks. Still think real-time search and social media are not worth your time?

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Machines with Microsoft's Windows 7 went on sale today. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the hottest topics on the web. Everybody's talking about it on Twitter. Everybody's searching for it. Microsoft and Windows queries are all over Google's Hot Trends list. Everybody wants to know more about Windows 7.

Well, let's look at what people are saying about it. Here's a sample from the Twitterverse:

Windows 7 Tweets

For a little more meat on the subject, let's take a look at some recent videos uploaded to YouTube about Windows 7. First, here is CBS talking about the release:

Here is a review:

Here is a longer review:

Here is a comparison with Vista:

Windows 7 is now available on new PCs and is available as an upgrade on some old ones. Have you tried it yet?

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It seems like just yesterday we were talking about how email was improving. Google has now added a feature to Gmail that lets you preview the contents of Google Docs documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in your inbox.

This works the same way YouTube, Yelp, Picasa, and Flickr album previews have already been working. Gmail automatically detects when you receive a document link and displays the name and type of document below the email. You can then click "show preview" or "open in new window."

Google Docs Previews in Gmail
If you click "show preview," you won't have to switch between the email and the document, making it much more convenient in many cases. The feature is available as a Gmail Lab, so you'll have to activate it for it to work.

This is just the latest of Google's frequent enhancements to Gmail. Earlier this week they released the "Got the Wrong Bob?" feature, which is the latest addition to Google's "embarrassment-reducing" email tools. It is designed to keep you from sending a message to the wrong person (something you've more than likely done at some point in your life).

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Google has started adding "Ads by Google" to more of its ads around the web. The reasoning for this is that a lot more advertisers are using Google's rich media ad formats these days, and the fact that they come from Google may not seem so obvious all the time.

"You'll soon notice a small 'i' (for 'information') icon overlay in the bottom right-hand corner of these ads, which will expand when the user hovers over it," explains Dan Friedman from Google's Inside AdWords crew. "This was specially designed for rich media ads. This new message will appear on your AdWords rich media ads, and will show up on standard AdSense ad units."

It will look something like this:

Ads By Google - Rich Media Ads
Just as in the past, when users click "Ads by Google," they will be taken to a page where they can learn about Google advertising. Google says tests have shown that this doesn't affect ad performance.

Google also recently started adding YouTube promoted videos into the AdWords/AdSense mix. In addition, they have introduced a new way for local businesses to advertise, and given advertisers more tracking options.

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For big brands learning to use social media effectively can be challenging as they try and find the best approach.

In a keynote with Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motor Company, Monty spoke about Ford's entry into the social channel.

Monty said Ford started using social media about 2 years ago and it started as a hobby, but it worked well so they kept at it.

Scott Monty, Ford
Scott Monty, Ford

Ford began by getting involved in the conversation instead of just pushing products. Monty said Ford "wanted to humanize the company." They tried both a corporate and personal approach.

Ford does not blog but they do interact via Twitter. "Blogging is not our strategy. We will blog when it is appropriate," Monty said. They have go-to bloggers when they have breaking news.

Monty said the biggest mistake Ford made with social media was being too narrowly focused for too long, but it's also an opportunity to branch out.

"We don't know what's going to happen next," said Monty. Because they are there participating everyday the community steps in so Ford does not have to do all the heavy-lifting.

Monty said Ford is trying to be more creative with their online advertising but has not brought that into social media because they want to humanize the company.

For the future Ford wants to stay current and provide users with what they want all on one site. The company is integrating social media into their customer service.

"Social media is the cocaine of the communication industry," said Monty. It's not about correcting your communication process, it's about correcting the product industry.

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Google has quietly gotten rid of PageRank in Webmaster Tools. Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable points to a thread featuring an explanation from Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Susan Moskwa.

"We've been telling people for a long time that they shouldn't focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it's the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true," says Moskwa. "We removed it because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it."

Barry Schwartz Search marketers are wondering why Google tells people not to focus on PageRank and removes it from Webmaster Tools, but still keeps it in the Google Toolbar. "Back in 2007, Google wanted feedback on removing PageRank from the Toolbar," says Schwartz. "I felt it was a good idea but the idea died out. Google cannot remove PageRank from the Toolbar, it is too much of their branding. No matter how much Matt Cutts and the Google search quality and webmaster trends team want it removed, I cannot see Google's executives allowing it."

Andy Beal of Marketing Pilgrim says the role of PageRank has been reduced to nothing more than a "comfort blanket for SEO Noobs." He adds, "I say this, with a high degree of confidence that most experienced SEOs pour over the data in Google Webmaster Tools, whereas those new to the industry likely let the toolbar be their only guiding light."

He also notes, however, that PageRank data can still be useful. For example, it can be a good indicator of a site's behavior in Google's index. "Any green means 'go.' No green, means there's something to investigate," says Beal.

Despite this usefulness though, Moskwa pretty much closes the case on Google's position on it. In fact, she even points to a FAQ page about crawling, indexing, and ranking, which says that webmasters shouldn't even bother thinking about it. It also says that PageRank is just one of over 200 signals that can affect how your site is crawled, indexed, and ranked.

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There was an interesting session on online video at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. The session was called "Video Search Marketing Beyond YouTube". The following tips come from a combination of presentations from that session from speakers: William Leake of Apogee Search, John McWeeny of TurnHere, and Eric Papczun of Performics.

The tips are all aimed at making your online video efforts more successful by optimizing them for search engine performance and ultimately driving more views and traffic back to your site. So, here they are in no particular order:

1. Encode video files with good metadata like titles, dates, authors, descriptions and keywords.

2. Offer multiple formats (e.g. mov, mpeg, mp4, flv).

3. Include keywords (and the word "video") in the filename.

4. On the page, follow general SEO principles for optimizing (title, meta, H1, etc. tags and URLs).

5. Include contextually related links to articles and other videos on the page.

6. Post captions and/or abstracts as additional relevant on-page content.

7. Use Unique URLs.

8. Use one video per URL.

9. Use embedded players rather than pop-ups or links to files.

10. Create nav links to the video content.

11.
Place video files in one central directory called "videos" off the root of your folder structure.

12. Enable comments.

13. Include social bookmarking tools.

Social Bookmarking tools

14. Allow visitors to subscribe to your videos.

15. Let viewers grab your embed code - easily (with a link).

16.
Remember internal linking (consider site-wide links in your page footer).

17. Distribute your video to the top video search sharing sites.

18. Include titles, descriptions & keywords on YouTube, etc.

19. Create a video site map with a mRSS feed.

20. Control associated page text to optimize for search engines.

21. Control the player (which may drive future video SEO).

22. Shorter videos are better.

23. Don't spend a fortune.

24. Include end slates with URLs.

25. Drive people back to your site.

26. Thumbnail images matter.

27.
Look for new opportunities for video placement (think about things like Google's product search).

Videos in Product Search
28. Figure out what keyword phrase is most relevant (and winnable) for your video.

29. Look into including videos in Google Place Pages.

30. Set up a Google video XML sitemap.

31. Use tools like Tubemogul's to optimize metadata across the major video sharing sites.

32. Track viewership.

33. Advertise with video via rich search ads with Google/Yahoo and YouTube promoted videos.

34. Make sure your videos live on your domain and use 3rd parties for distribution purposes.

35. Stay on top of technology changes and new standards.

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