Archive for July, 2008

Too Cuil?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Whether it’s from evening news or the Yahoo! homepage, we’ve all heard about the recent launch of the new search engine, Cuil (pronounced “cool”).В  Developed by former Google engineers, Cuil claims to be the biggest search engine in the world with three times as many web pages as Google.В 

At first, we were captivated by this news — mainly because Cuil’s ranking philosophy is based on site content relevancy versus Google’s algorithm, a blend of content and the number of quality links to a site.В  With Cuil, a new web site with great content has a fair shot at ranking well amongst already established websites.В  Google has often been accused of giving preferential treatment to already popular and well-established sites, leaving many new web site owners with a huge uphill climb.

At first glance, the black and sleek look of the Cuil homepage was appealing and different from the majority of search engine homepages.В  After attempting a search, we were shocked to see that the engine wasn’t even functional.В 

With all the press and attention Cuil received along with their own claims, you’d think the rollout would be impeccable.В  First impressions are everything, and Cuil failed to impress on a day where so many were interested.В  The majority of people will likely go back to their trusted engine, and never look back.В 

We’re still going to give Cuil a chance, and the column based search results are certainly a nice change.В  Will you give Cuil a chance or will you stay loyal to your favorite search engine?

SEO is a Process, Not an Event

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

The most underrated aspect of SEO is not some complex algorithm or secret keyword combination.В  Instead, the concept that most clients fail to grasp is the importance of patience with the process.В  Chris Boggs underscores that importance in his recent article.В  He recommends that SEO commitments be a minimum of three years, especially for a complex website.В 

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The importance of consistent SEO can be analogized to a good weight loss program.В  There are many quick-fix diets, drugs, and gimmicks that ultimately offer nothing more than a brief solution to the larger problem.В  Similarly, a short-term SEO campaign might yield some quick results.В  However, if the SEO process is not continuous, search engine rankings can deteriorate or barely develop in the first place.В  Again, Boggs explains the details, but the takeaway is that your SEO expectations must be realistic.В 

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In sum, there is no easy way to achieve dominant search engine rankings.В  It takes continued efforts such as link building over a substantial period of timeВ to earn the most desirable search engine rankings.

What the Google-Yahoo! Alliance Means for Advertisers

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

If the proposed Google Yahoo! alliance does pass the scrutiny of the Department of Justice and is launched, how will that affect advertisers?В 

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The primary concern of advertisers is price.  Google could essentially have a search ad monopoly and thus the ability to raise prices or fees at will.  Advertisers would not have any choice but to comply because a Google boycott would be the equivalent business suicide.  A coalition of 16 civil rights and rural advocacy bodies recently wrote to the DOJ that the Google Yahoo! partnership could result in “a possible future in which no content could be seamlessly accessed without Google’s permission.”  There are some estimates that under the Google Yahoo! deal, ads on Yahoo! could increase in cost by up to 22 percent. 

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Another issue amongst advertisers that might have greater long-term effects is that a Google Yahoo! partnership might stifle technological innovation.В  A partnership could reduce incentive on both sides, as Yahoo! would gain financial stability (some estimates are a high asВ $1 billion per year) and Google would expand its dominance of the Internet advertising market.В 

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Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft were recently subpoenaed and the DOJ is set to launch a formal antitrust investigation.  Former DOJ antitrust attorney Peter Guryan said that while the information demands do not mean that the DOJ has drawn conclusions, they do signal that, “the DOJ clearly has questions.”

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Web Designers Rejoice!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

The Google blog announced recently that Google is better able to crawl and index text within flash files. This new algorithm has been integrated with Adobe’s Flash Player Technology so that everything from flash buttons to banners can be crawled.

Achieving quality search engine rankings for all flash sites has always been difficult because of the search engine crawlers’ inability to read the flash content. It is never easy to tell a client that the web site they just paid a small fortune for has a major SEO handicap. Most of the time, Search Concepts consults their web designer on a redesign where flash and html can both be utilized.

This latest report is certainly great news for web designers and flash web site owners. However, until proven otherwise the old fashioned web site with plenty of html text has more search engine optimization upside in terms of ranking well in the search engines. Ultimately, only time will tell how this new algorithm takes shape.

The Google-Yahoo! Alliance: What Next?

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Many in the antitrust community raised their eyebrows last month after Yahoo! spurned Microsoft’s proposal and fled to an advertising partnership with Google. Instead of two “fringe” companies joining to compete with the dominant company, one fringe company joined the dominant one. The proposed partnership would use Google’s ad technology to place ads next to Yahoo! search results.

The companies are voluntarily sharing information about the deal with U.S. Department of Justice before officially launching the alliance, but the outcome of the investigation is uncertain. In an interview with computerworld.com, Boston University School of Law professor Keith Hylton explained that historically, mergers have been deemed anticompetitive when a dominant firm joins with another firm what has only one percent of the market. In contrast, Yahoo! accounts for about 20 percent of the market. Hylton said that courts could apply the merger case law to a monopolization inquiry because the Google Yahoo! partnership appears to have a competition-avoiding effect.

Others contend that Google already had a monopoly of the market at nearly 70 percent of all searches. In addition, there is an argument that a Google-Yahoo! alliance will be similar to existing supplier arrangements in other fields such as the printer and appliance industries

The outcome of the DOJ’s antitrust investigation into the Google-Yahoo! deal may be uncertain, but there is no doubt that the result will substantially affect the future of online advertising. Our next blog entry will examine those ramifications.