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Google has released a gadget called What's Popular for iGoogle. You may draw some connections between it and a certain site called Digg, and some are speculating that it is even an indication of a broader plan from Google to creep into Digg territory. What would a Google-owned version of Digg mean to you?

Google says the What's Popular gadget uses algorithms to find interesting content from a combination of user submissions and trends in aggregated user activity across a variety of Google services, like YouTube and Google Reader.

What's Popular Gadget from Google
Users can rate items that they like or dislike by clicking the ratings buttons next to each item. The gadget then looks at what users liked and disliked to adjust the ranking of items.

Users can directly submit URLs, and if they become popular, they can rise to the top of the list. You can associate your Google user name with your submissions, and edit titles and descriptions. You can also keep track of what you have submitted in the "My Adds" section. Yep, that sounds about like Digg.

What Happens if Google Launches it's Own Digg?

Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. For one, this is only a gadget right now, and there is no indication that getting your content ranked in it will have any effect whatsoever in getting your content ranked in Google itself. But if Google turned this into a full-fledged site, would it be out of the realm of possibility for popular content to appear in Google's universal search results, similar to say, YouTube, which actually has been known to improve search engine rankings? There's also the social media leads to links scenario.

There has long been chatter about "what if Google bought Digg?"

"If you can’t beat them (or don’t feel like putting out the cash to acquire them), then join them," Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal comments about the service.

It is certainly interesting to think about Google running its own version of Digg while seemingly getting more social all around. Recently they have added the ability for Google profiles to be linked to vanity URLs, and have them show up in search results. Friend Connect of course is out there, and a number of other social functions are already residing within your Google account.

Google's whole foray into social media is quite fascinating to me as it unfolds almost from the inside out without many people realizing it is happening. If you ask me, Google already has a leg or two up on other social networks too as it holds the largest brand on the web, and obviously search market share, and searches begin a lot of web sessions, not even taking into consideration the number of people who use Google as their homepage.

Do you think Google will take the What's Popular gadget concept and turn it into a Digg-like site?

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Google has made some adjustments to its AdSense program policies page. It includes a change in placement of a certain policy, clarification of others, and a new one altogether.

The new policy deals with other Google products' policies. Publishers are not allowed to place ads, search boxes, or search results on, within, or alongside other Google products in a way that violates the terms of that other service.

For example, you couldn't place ads on a site that allows users to download YouTube videos. This is not permitted by the YouTube Terms of Service. Google explains other policy changes:

- Google brand violations: This policy has always existed in our Terms and Conditions, but we've now brought it directly to the 'Ad Placement' section of the program policies page so that it's easier to find. According to this policy, we don't allow ads or search boxes to be placed on pages which misuse Google logos, trademarks, or other brand features in the page content or URL, and which could mislead users into thinking the page is associated with Google.

- Deceptive implementations: We've clarified this policy a bit in the 'Encouraging Clicks' section of the program policies - ads may not be formatted in a way that makes them indistinguishable from other content on the page where they appear.

- Ad placement in emails and email programs: This updated policy clarifies that Google ads , search boxes, and search results may not be placed in emails, as well as alongside emails.

AdSense Policies

The policy page itself has been somewhat redesigned. The layout has been updated in a way that lends to easier reading and navigation. Sections have been given expandable "learn more" features so users can obtain more details when needed.

In addition, Google has added more information to the " Webmaster Guidelines " section and created a new "Traffic Sources" section.

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Google as a social network has been getting a bit more play recently as they have made certain moves like giving users the ability to create vanity URLs for their profiles.

One wild card that Google has that trumps all other social networks is that it is the largest brand on the web. Furthermore, it is the largest search engine.

Today Google announced that Google profiles will start being included at the bottom of search results pages where applicable. And suddenly, a lot of people that were just using Google the search engine may realize that that they're already using Google the social network. Those with accounts may or may not see their own profiles show up in ego searches, and those without a counts may notice profiles they didn't know existed and be influenced to start one.

Google Profiles in SERPs

Those without accounts can simply google " me " and the top result is a promoted spot by Google leading to Google account profile setup.

This could potentially even help improve reputation management at least to some small degree. "When searching for yourself to see what others would find, results can be varied and aren't always what you want people to see — whether it's someone else with your name, or the finishing time from that 5K you ran back in 2002. We want to make that better and give you more of a voice," says Google's Brian Stoler.

Users who want to appear on SERPs will probably want to fill out their profiles if they have not already done so. The vanity URL is certainly an option as well, though it is unclear as to whether or not using this has any influence on showing up in the SERPs. There is room for 4 profiles on any given SERP.

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You've no doubt been exposed to mass hoopla surrounding Twitter and celebrities starting Twitter accounts, racing to get the most followers, etc. There's no question that celebrity Twitter use is good for expanding the social network's user base, but what's it doing to Twitter as a communication tool?

Is Twitter evolving or devolving as a result of celebrities taking it over? (Tell us what you think.)You have celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Fallon, and Oprah who have gained massive amounts of followers, but are not following too many people themselves. Is Twitter just part of their respective PR machines?

Twitter Followers for OprahAre they actively engaging in conversations with their fans? Maybe a little, but how many of Kutcher's million plus do you think are regularly getting responses from him when they send him tweets? Look at Oprah's account. Granted, she's only been on since Friday, but she's already got nearly half a million followers and she's only following ten people. So far she's sent replies to Demi Moore, Shaq, Larry King, and Evan Williams. Hardly communicating with the fans I would say.

To be fair, I'm not saying that there aren't celebrities using Twitter who do communicate with their fan bases. Perhaps even Oprah will if given enough time. Some celebrities (like Arnold Schwarzenegger, MC Hammer, and Britney Spears have thousands of followers themselves (though who knows how many fans were manually followed back and how many were simply added as a result of some auto follower).

I think Neville Hobson puts it well when he says Twitter is for listening. When Oprah joined Twitter, Twitter's daily market share of Internet visits skyrocketed.

Daily Market Share of US Internet Visits
Oprah has a lot of fans, and they flocked to Twitter because they are interested in listening to what she has to say. Twitter the company is certainly happy to have celebrities participating. But if Twitter was once about two-way communication, it seems to be more about one-way listening now.

Don't get me wrong. Two-way communication is still an option, and there are still many people doing it, but some celebrities and marketers are changing the face of Twitter.

Luckily, there is still value in listening. Twitter has often been referred to as microblogging, and that's really a good way to look at it. You read blogs because you're interested in what the bloggers have to say. You read tweets for the same reason. They're just smaller. Blogs have comment areas for two-way communication that can go two-way or one-way depending on whether or not the author takes the time to respond. The same applies to Twitter.

There is plenty of value in listening from the business perspective as well. Hobson writes:

Neviile HobsonDon’t think of the increasing user numbers we keep hearing about as just so much more noise you have to filter out if you’re on Twitter yourself. Remember, Twitter is an opt-in idea: you decide whether or not to open an account and then who to follow or not. You’re in control!

Instead, think of the stunning growth in people signing up to Twitter as more amazing listening opportunities to find out who’s saying what about you, your product, your brand, your client, or whatever it is that interests you in finding out what people are talking about online.


I can tell you that a good place to find people in your niche to listen to is our own Twellow. Just don't go too crazy because Twitter has placed a limit on how many people you can follow in a day (1,000). If you're really there to listen, this probably will not affect you too much. There is a bit of a debate going on about whether this limit is a good or a bad thing too.

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If you want to link exchange with me, please:
- Add my blog in your site with title "Make money online"
- Comment at this post.

Then i will check and add your site to my list.

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Google is set to make changes to its search ranking algorithm to combat the spate of links leading to malicious web pages appearing at the top of Google’s search results, according to an inside source.
Malicious Links
Over the past few months, cybercriminals have been using blackhat SEO techniques to manipulate search rankings. When it first began, they were marginally successful at following Google Trends to find buzzy search queries and elevating a newly created targeted webpage.

But after a couple of months, these same gangs appear to have become disturbingly effective. Last week, when researching a news story, the top five results all led to fake scareware pages.

Obviously if Google fails to do something about this manipulation, users will lose trust and the good ole days of Google would be over fast. A Googler speaking on condition of anonymity told WebProNews a ranking change is pending that tackles spam of this kind. Once the change goes live, users shouldn’t see it “nearly as often.”

A report from security company PandaLabs identified over a million links targeting malicious webpages ranking for auto part searches. Google noted that many of the phrases mentioned in the report were rare. A phrase like [1989 Nissan Pickup Truck Engine Check Light Troubleshooting], for example, only appears on attack sites set up by spammers, which explains why Google brought back so many attack sites in response to similar queries.

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It seems that, before long, Google Maps and Google Earth will be just about everywhere you look. In the past two days, the programs have made inroads with both scientists and civilians, respectively.

Google Logo

Let's start with the scientific stuff. A post on the LatLong Blog explained, "The University of Michigan is continuing their recent advocacy efforts by hosting an event focused on science applications of Google Earth. The conference, which will take place on Wednesday, April 22nd (Earth Day!) in Ann Arbor, will feature a series of presentations on active efforts in the natural resource sciences that use Google Earth and KML to visualize and communicate their work."

So in another couple of years, we might see some Nobel Prize winners giving presentations containing all sorts of Google logos.

As for the development that's likely to have a slightly wider appeal, Google's work with Webcams.travel is complete. We reported in July that the two organizations were making shots from webcams available through Google Earth. Now, as the official Webcams.travel blog reported, "All the webcams from Webcams.travel are . . . available on the integrated layer of Google Maps."

Don't count on seeing actual live video, but very fresh snapshots should still given people an idea of what's going on in a featured area. Possible uses include checking the weather, traffic, or just doing a Street View-style sightseeing thing.

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My original intent was to relay a heartwarming/heartbreaking story if you hadn’t heard it already. It’s a narrative you hear periodically in different forms with different details: A man found his long lost daughter via Google. However, in trying to find content referenced but not linked in the news articles about the subject I found nothing but malware traps right at the top of the results.

Very quickly the story, because it’s a good one. Twenty seven or so years ago, Dirk Pratt’s two-year-old daughter was taken off to Ecuador by her mother and he never saw her again. His ex-wife told him Francesca had died after being bitten by a mosquito. Dirk heard someone had been reunited with a family member with the help of a Google vanity search for their own name. So Dirk searched his name and found a message on a message board from his daughter. She was also told her father was dead, but was suspicious. Now they’re reunited.

My daughter is six months old and naturally when I read that story I was very touched and saddened and all that; I couldn’t imagine what that must feel like. So I went off in search of the message board. I wanted to see what the father saw. Eventually, I found a result for a Zabasearch message search result, but I can’t be sure this is same place he found it. The Zabasearch result was the sixth listing on Google. The top, where sponsored results often are, was a Google News result. The first through fifth results: all malware links.

Looking For Dirk Pratt


I only clicked on the first few links, which led to scareware. Upon closer look at the others it was obvious. They had strange URLs, irrelevant texts. One appeared to be a BBC link but the URL didn’t resolve to bbc.com. All of them, were indexed fairly recently.

Dirk Pratt Malware

Earlier I wrote about link velocity and Google’s apparent new favoritism of freshness is allowing cybercrooks and SEO blackhatters to manipulate and dominate Google’s search results. Google needs to fix this or users will lose trust quickly. If every time you tried to do research on popular subjects and all you were met with were attack sites, wouldn’t you?

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YouTube has finally announced after months of talks about deals with major media companies that they are now offering new sections on the site dedicated specifically to movies and television shows.

Partners include Crackle, CBS, MGM, Lionsgate, Starz and many others, which contribute thousands of television show episodes and hundreds of films. They also bring the social element of YouTube along with them because users can still comment, favorite, and share the videos.

YouTube Gets Shows

YouTube Gets Movies

"This addition is one of many efforts underway to ensure that we're offering you all the different kinds of video you want to see, from bedroom vlogs and citizen journalism reports to music videos and full-length films and TV shows," says the YouTube team in a blog post.

Obviously this puts YouTube in even more direct competition with Hulu, which specializes in TV shows and movies. Though Hulu has been growing steadily in popularity, YouTube is still ahead by far. This could push the site that much further out in front.

YouTube also announced a wider roll-out of in-stream ads, which they have been testing since October. Hulu users and television watchers are already used to this.

At this point, shows and movies are only available in the US. However, YouTube intends to expand the features into other regions "as soon as possible. They also note that the "subscriptions" tab will be available worldwide within the next several weeks.

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About 2 a.m. East Coast time, Ashton Kutcher declared victory in attracting one million followers on Twitter. For what it’s worth—is it worth something?—CNN piggyback publicity team conceded victory, but would reach a million itself sometime in the wee morning hours.

About 7:30 last night, just about the time the Twitter-battle was being hyped on entertainment news, bookies reached out to my inbox to inform me the odds favored CNN. Odds were even on Kutcher, long on Britney.

Ashton Kutcher Millionth Tweet

“Clearly the world wants to know if Ashton Kutcher will be able to continue his furious rise towards top tweeter, if media giant CNN will retain its firm grip on the number one spot, or if a dark horse emerge at the last minute and take the world by surprise,” said Mickey Richardson, CEO of Bookmaker.com

Ashton live streamed the “historic” event at Ustream.

Live TV by Ustream

But the really interesting part of this is the waiting to see what happens with Oprah Winfrey’s account. Before single tweet was made this morning, she had amassed 72,000 followers. Kutcher tweeted he was about to introduce her to Twitter on the show this morning and just a few minutes ago, Oprah greeted the Twitter audience before tweeting to her assistant to order her a reuben sandwich.

Oprah Winfrey Twitter

Um, seriously? What an odd world. It would almost be Alexandergrahambellish if not so, well, surreal. Just wait till the show airs. Bet Oprah blows way past a million followers and Twitter itself is flooded with new Oprahbot members.

It all does make one wonder how much a Twitter account is worth. When Andrew Baron briefly put up hisTwitter account for auction last year, 1,700 followers seemed like a huge Twitter crowd, and the going rate appeared to be a dollar a follower. It’s not clear how much the Twitter-squatter for CNN’s account received for his partnership, but it does make one wonder what the going rate today is.

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A few weeks ago, it was reported that Google was testing an online version of its Google TV Ads. They're now launching Google TV Ads Online in beta by invitation only.

It's pretty cool because advertisers can target specific shows, and ads will show up whether they're being broadcast on television or on the web. "These programs may appear in various places, including the websites of the networks which originally broadcast them and on other sites that specialize in video content," explains Google TV Ads Product Manager Geoff Smith. "What if an advertiser wants to reach the audience of a particular program, no matter whether they're watching on a television or online?"

Advertisers can target specific shows and select their cost-per-thousand (CPM) bid. Then, based on targets, budgets and bids, ads are shown in the regular ad slot that would take place during a show's originally airing. Ads can also be shown pre-roll or post-roll (below is a short video on Google TV Ads).

This news comes along with a another major announcement from Google. YouTube is now offering feature films and television shows. Naturally, this would seem like the logical time to introduce this online version of Google TV Ads.

While Google TV Ads Online is only by invitation only, interested parties are encouraged to contact Erin Bouchier at erinb@google.com if they wish to be considered for the program.

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Google's Matt Cutts continues to post helpful videos at Google's Webmaster Central YouTube channel, in which he answers user questions. The latest question he tackles comes from a guy in Chicago who asks:

Does the new canonicalization tag make it safe to add tracking arguments to some of my internal links without fear that Google will split the quality signals between the two addresses?

Matt says, "I believe you can do this," but he recommends trying it out on one directory or a small set of URLs at first to make sure it's completely safe. If you can do something with cookies or your analytics package, Matt says that would be better because as he explains, "Suppose someone copies and pastes a URL...they might copy and paste it differently...and maybe that URL goes away or the tracking code changes...so if you can make the URLs unified. That's still better, but I believe this sort of thing can still work totally fine with the new canonicalization tag."

Basically, Matt just wants you to be cautious and make sure it works for you to avoid any issues.

If the Canonicalization tag is something you're not familiar with, it's something that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft announced jointly a while back in an effort to reduce duplicate content.

Matt has also elaborated on the tag in a longer video and slideshow:


Canonical Link Slideshow

Matt is frequently posting informative videos to YouTube, which can generally be found here. He is also posting longer ones with presentations from conferences on his blog. These are both good resources for webmasters to bookmark.

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Some VIP-ish individuals and application developers are about to become a lot more popular. In what seems like a pair of noncommercial moves, Facebook and MySpace are starting to direct users towards various profiles and apps.


The Facebook change has already taken place. Nick O'Neill wrote this weekend, "So far I've been recommended to a number of public profiles: Britney Spears, Sarah Lacy, the Colorado Rockies, Chris Pan (who works for Facebook), Sheryl Crow, and Carmen Electra." Internet personalities Julia Allison, Chris Pirillo, and Darren Rose also made the list.

All of these suggestions showed up in the normal profile recommendations space, right where you usually see former classmates from high school.

As for the MySpace adjustment, a post on the MySpace Developer Team's blog stated, "In our ongoing effort to find new innovative ways to showcase your applications, we'll soon have a page dedicated to Editor's Picks. These picks are meant to spotlight your efforts and will contain the app description, a logo and of course - a link to the application."

Anyone can apply by simply sending an email to developerrelations at myspace dot com.

Facebook and MySpace may be trying to stroke the egos of some Web 2.0 movers and shakers with these changes. They're likely to succeed as fan and app user counts soar. And normal users should benefit, too, as they're exposed to more interesting content.

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A bad week for Twitter just got even worse. The service has apparently been infected by a worm originating from the owners of the website StalkDaily (Note: Do not visit this website, as it may cause your computer to become infected). At this point details are scant, but it appears that visiting the Twitter profile page of an infected user can lead your profile to become infected as well (some reports say that the worm modifies your ‘About Me’ section to include a link to the worm). Infected users begin to repeatedly spam tweets directing users to the StalkDaily website.

The attack appears to have originated early this morning, when a handful of blog posts popped up detailing the worm. However, it is only now hitting critical mass, with hundreds of related Tweets appearing on Twitter Search in the last few minutes alone. Twitter’s official Spam watching account updated this morning stating that the company was aware of the issue but that it had been mostly resolved, and just issued another update stating that it was aware of the worm’s resurgence this afternoon.

To stay on the safe side, it would probably be wise to stick with a third party Twitter client and avoiding viewing profile pages until the company confirms that the issue is resolved.

Some early comments are indicating this is an XSS attack on Twitter. Others note that the attack may have started after one of Twitter’s many third party applications took the login credentials entered by Twitter users and hijacking their accounts.

Update 9 PM PST: Twitter has posted the following update to its status page stating that the issue has been fixed:

Update on StalkDaily.com Worm 36 minutes ago
Earlier today we were informed of a malicious site that was spreading links to StalkDaily.com on Twitter without user consent via a cross-site scripting vulnerability. We’ve taken steps to remove the offending updates, and to close the holes that allowed this “worm” to spread.

No passwords, phone numbers, or other sensitive information were compromised as part of this attack.


Update: Apparently StalkDaily has updated their website to say that it has nothing to do with the attacks. Regardless, do not visit the site for the time being.

For everyone wondering, I did NOT promote and/or was involved with the spamming ON Twitter. All bad things you are hearing about this site is not true. Please reconsider as I am not the person who did this…StalkDaily is a website that follows the same functions as Twitter, except more advanced How? Well, instead of just adding an “update status”, people can add pictures and videos. Then you can stalk them, so when they upload a video or picture, or comment someone, you’ll know!

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In the neverending quest to improve what I think of as Google's real social network, the company has released a couple of new features in Gmail Labs that can be integrated into the regular Gmail experience when activated.

Time Zones

The first feature is the Sender Time Zone lab. This lets users see little green phone icons next to people who are "probably awake" (between 9am and 6pm in their local time zone), and red ones next to the others.

"Let's say your girlfriend sends you an angry email," says Marcin Brodziak at the Gmail Blog. "It's mostly about how you behaved at the party last night and then left for a business trip without saying goodbye. You read it from the other side of the globe, jet-lagged after a 12 hour flight. You want to call and sort things out, but forget that it's now almost 3:00 am her time. After waking her up, things only get worse."

You can click "show details" to see when a message was sent in the sender's time zone and what time it is for them at any given moment. Message headers also include the time sent and time zone info.
insert image
The second new feature is the ability to simply insert images into messages instead of having to attach them. To do so, turn on the "inserting images" lab and an icon for image insertion will show up in your toolbar.

"Make sure you're in rich formatting mode, or it won't show up," notes Google's Kent Tamura. "Click the little image icon, and you can insert images in two ways: by uploading image files from your computer or providing image URLs."

These are two more features that many users will likely find incredibly useful, especially the image insertion. I would not be surprised if this eventually becomes a standard feature in Gmail.

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Links on Twitter are already nofollowed and most are shortened anyway by a shortener. What use can Twiitter be for link building? Link building Eric Ward says the site is perfect for finding niche experts.

It’s not about huge amounts of followers or traffic spikes. You can get that kind of traffic from Digg. But the advantage of Twitter, says Ward, is that people specific to an industry are out there, findable on Twitter.

So if you specialize in little plastic doohickeys they put on shoestrings, irrelevant traffic is not what you’re after. At Search Engine Land, Ward explains how a message that begins as a tweet ends up as a link from a highly trusted website:

A few weeks ago I announced a new site via URLwire, and whenever I do this I set up several alerts/trackers to see where mentions/links show up. I also set up a Twitter search for that new URL....the new site I announced has been tweeted or re-tweeted by seven people…I discovered all of them were health experts in one form or another. Also, all of them had several hundred followers (one had 780), and a quick check of a few dozen of those showed some overlap (expected) as well as frequent health URL tweets. In other words, I’d found a loose community of several thousand collective Twitterer’s who had shared news about a new web site URL.

One of those re-tweets came from a librarian at a med school web site, who did one more thing with that URL. She added a link to it from the med school web site she’s in charge of editing. What started to her as a tweet ended as a permanent link from her high trust web page.

What’s even better about that is that earned link was a free, organic one, the best kind. No manipulation, no buying, no trading. And that one very trusted link is likely to outweigh many links (however they're gotten) from not-so-trusted websites.

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Great news, everyone stuck in 2001! Microsoft will allow users to downgrade from Windows 7 to Windows XP! So if you’re super happy with the stability and performance of Windows XP, and don’t give a damn about any of the new features or enhancements included in Microsoft’s latest offering, you can safely bury your head back in the sand!

For businesses, this kind of entitlement makes some sense. I know many enterprise customers are extremely risk averse, and schedule upgrades across their thousands of machines in multi-year projects. Many enterprises are still running Windows XP, with no intention of changing any time soon, so it’s awfully nice of Microsoft to permit these downgrades.

Of course, folks running a Free Software operating system get to bypass this issue altogether. Why should Microsoft dictate what you can and cannot run on the computer you purchase, after all?

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New Adwords Templates Video

Google recently launched some new templates for the AdWords Display Ad Builder. These templates cater to rich media and video ad content.


The templates allow advertisers to highlight several different products in one ad, and send them each to different landing pages with unique URLs. If you're not familiar with the templates, watch the following clip:

The templates offer a way to potentially get consumers more engaged with ads, but from an analytics standpoint, they can also curb bounce rate. "Using Google Analytics, you can add tracking parameters to the end of each destination URL, telling you exactly which items users found to be most interesting in the ad," explains Ryan Hayward at the Google Analytics Blog. "This will give you insights on your creative, such as which items to focus on and how prominently they should be featured in the ads."

He gives an example of running ads selling different kinds of shoes with unique landing pages. You can take the analytical data and figure out which shoe is getting clicked on the most, then tailor your campaign to focus more on that particular shoe.

I'd go a bit further and say you could look at the ones that aren't getting clicked on as much and perhaps make adjustments in how they are being presented.

So in other words, the templates are not only giving you a way to sell various items through a single clickable ad, but they can ultimately help you decide which products need more focus, for better or for worse.

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Boomtown’s Kara Swisher gets tired of being the TechCrunch Google-rumor-debunker. Maybe not. She seemed to enjoy reminding readers about the Michael Arrington grapevines sprouting out tales of Google buying Digg and Bebo, neither of which ever happened. This time it’s Twitter.

Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher


In the comments of TechCrunch’s rumor report that Google was in late-stage talks to buy Twitter, Arrington notes that posting a rumor is a good way of shaking out information. Maybe next time he should just give Swisher a call and save everybody a lot of trouble. Swisher, married to a Google executive, generally has the better inside scoop.

Here’s what a Swisher source had to say about it: “Seriously, no negotiations, no deal, nada.”

That’s more in line with Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s earlier statement about sitting on Google’s money until the economy gets better. With unemployment at a predicted peak last month, that could be as early as this summer, if you’re the extra-optimistic type. Although CEOs of multinational corporations are notorious liars about everything, Schmidt’s generally made good on what he puts out to the public.

Swisher’s sources say there have been preliminary discussions between Google and Twitter about real time search and “product stuff.” That seems to match up with AdAge’s report that Google will be using Twitter to sell AdSense ads. Advertisers will have the opportunity to stream their five most recent tweets all across the AdSense network.

If Google made an offer for Twitter, an offer that would have to be near the billion-dollar range, it might be because every Tom, Dick, and Harry outside of Google really, really wants Google to buy Twitter. While Tom, Dick, (Mike) and Harry are pushing the deal, Robert Scoble reminds his audience that Google historically has been where good microblogging companies go to die.

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It's not all about traffic. It's about conversions. But it's hard to get conversions if you don't have the traffic, and while Google is one of the best potential sources for traffic, Google has other search engines besides web search that people use all the time, and it will not hurt to rank in them too.

Conversions are the goal. Visibility is the strategy. Unfortunately, like most strategies, they take effort and paying attention to detail. The web may be taking a huge turn toward social, but search isn't going anywhere. You need to be found where people are looking.

1. Ranking in YouTube

As you may or may not be aware, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google. Those businesses using online video are going to want to maximize their YouTube efforts by employing some easy strategies to gain more visibility.

- An accurate and descriptive title

- Make sure your description is just that - descriptive. It should be accurate and unique, and use complete sentences.

- Descriptive keyword tags

- Avoid keyword stuffing

It's best not to overlook the social element of YouTube as well. Active participation on the social level will contribute to your views. And let's also not overlook the fact that YouTube can actually help you rank in Google itself. Other tips discussed were:

- Use Keyword Rich Descriptions and Tags

- Include the word "Video" in your titles because people do search for it.

- Use a link for the very first thing in your descriptions.

- Make sure and utilize your thumbnails. YouTube pulls these from the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 marks. Make them count.

- Encourage participation by enabling everything.

- Use meta data

- Use captions and subtitles

- Use watermarks

- Use Google Maps integration

There is plenty more info about ranking on and with YouTube here on this blog and more tips on how businesses can use YouTube in general.

2. Ranking in Google Image Search

Dev Basu at Search Engine Journal has a great post up about leveraging rich media for SEO. He talks about video, presentations, and other things, but he also gives some good tips for images. He notes that one in five searches are image searches, and that alt tags and file name optimization are key. He says, "Other tips to double dip in image SEO include":

- Add images to your Google Local Business profile

- Enable Google Image Labeler in your Google Webmaster Tools account.

- Add images to local business citation sources.

- Add images to blog posts or news articles for syndication in Google news.


The following clip has a lot more useful information about Google Image Search:


3. Ranking in Google News


Covering a recent Search Engine Strategies session, Virginia Nussey with Bruce Clay notes, "News page views are up to trillions monthly." More and more people are getting their news online. That's why the newspaper industry is struggling. I don't have the hard numbers, but I'm willing to bet a significant amount of people are getting news from Google News. She pulled away these things to keep in mind for Google News:

- Only indexes articles three days old or less

- Only indexes it once

- Read Google News Help for Publishers

- Google News XML Sitemap and monitor it

- Section names (keywords in News XML Sitemaps)

- Host "most popular" and "breaking news" sections on your site

- Sub-headlines or beginning of article copy is pulled in as Meta description


Google itself posted about some facts and myths pertaining to ranking in Google News searches about a year ago. In the interest of not making this article excruciatingly long (or at least even more so), I will just link to it. But you should definitely read it if you are serious about incorporating Google News into your strategy.

4. Ranking in Google Maps/Local Search

While this one may seem fairly obvious, you need to think about terms a local searcher would use to find your business. They’ll most likely use the city and state in their search, so you’ll want your site to be optimized for those as well as business-specific keywords.

CD Store, Nicholasville, KY

For example, if you run a record store in Nicholasville, Kentucky, you’ll want to optimize for phrases like “Record Store, Nicholasville, Kentucky”, “CD Store, Nicholasville, KY”, “Music, Nicholasville KY”, and so forth. If your business is located in a small town, you may also want to optimize for the nearest larger city. Ryan Caldwell at Search Engine Journal discusses some other tips like:

- Anchor Text + Authority Matters, But Less

- Local Groupings


There is some good advice in a thread at the Small Business Brief forum, including a post by A.N.Onym who suggests the following tips for ranking in local search:

- have pages, mentioning your area of service

- your phone number

- your physical address

- directions on how to reach your office


- use landmarks ("after you pass the Street A and Street B intersection, you'll see the Eiffel Tower" that's three landmarks altogether)

- have links pointing to you from local websites and directories

- have a domain hosted locally (if locality is your primary concern)

- have ccTLD (country-specific domain - google.ca, for instance)


Bill Slawski of SEO By the Sea has a great article about Authority Documents for Google’s Local Search that is a must-read in this category.

5. Ranking in Google Blog Search

Back in '07, Slawski started a thread in the Cre8asite Forum looking at positive and negative things that can have an affect on your Google Blog Search Rankings. Among the positives he included were:

- Number of RSS subscriptions
- Clicks on SERP post links
- Blogrolls
- number of "high quality" blogrolls the blog is in
- ability for visitors to tag posts
- whether or not people are tagging them
- References to the blog by sources other than blogs
- Pagerank


Some negatives he mentioned:

- if posts come in short bursts or predictable intervals
- if post content differs from feed version
- If content includes a lot of spammy words
- duplicate content
- if posts are the same size
- Link distribution
- If posts mostly link to one site


ProBlogger's Darren Rowse also looked at Google's Blog Search patent application and pulled some takeaways from that.

The Conclusion

It's important to note that results from other Google search engines often turn up in regular Google results, in case you need any extra incentive to pay attention to them. This is part of Google's Universal Search. There are lots of opportunities to get your site found in Google other than just regular web search. And this is just organic stuff. There are certainly paid search opportunities to think about too.

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Google has announced that it's rolling out new email notification preferences for AdSense account holders. They will become available over the next few days.

Basically, users will have the option to receive specific messages like event invitations, info about webinars, and personalized account suggestions from Google.

AdSense Notification Preferences

Users will be prompted once with a page after signing in that asks them to select what kind of messages they want to receive. Changes can always be made to the preferences by going to the Contact Preferences section on the account page.

AdSense YouTube Channel

This is not news, but Google has a YouTube Channel set-up for AdSense that provides a bunch of videos that can help users get more out of their AdSense efforts. For example, the featured one right now is this video from Darren Rowse on AdSense Optimization Tips:

Many readers are probably already familiar with the channel, but every now and then we like to direct you to some useful resources to help you make money online.

Google Taking More Revenue Share?


On one more AdSense-related note, Search Engine Roundtable is pointing to a thread at the Google AdSense Help discussion forum where users are accusing Google of taking more ad revenue share. Some say Google's claiming up to 90%. Google doesn't appear to have stepped in to respond to the situation yet.

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