Happy Birthday and Happy Blog Day

I started this post to participate in Blogday 2006 after being linked to by Sebastien Billard of Référencement, Design et Cie. Before I could post, I received a picture in my email of the newest member of my family.

The idea behind blogday is to post links to five new blogs that I’ve never seen before, so that I discover some new blogs, and readers of this site find new ones, too. Since I’m making some introductions, it seemed appropriate that I wish Fenix Hunter Griffith a happy birthday. I’m looking forward to meeting him in person.

Congratulations to my nephew Jesse, and his lovely bride Tiffany, on the birth of their son, Fenix.

picture of Fenix Hunter Griffith

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Danny Sullivan Leaves Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Strategies

Years ago, shortly after I built my first web page and started promoting it on the web, I came across a site that provided a lot of help and insight into how search engines worked, and what to do to make a site more visible in search engines. I guess that it had an effect upon me, because I try to do some of the same here, with this blog. That site was Search Engine Watch (link is to a Internet Archives view of the site as it appeared in 1997), and the person behind the site and the information there was Danny Sullivan.

Search Engine Watch (SEW) and the Search Engine Strategies Conferences (SES), which sprung from the site, are possibly the most authoritative site and conference series in the Search Marketing Industry today, and Danny Sullivan played a major role in developing both. It came as a surprise this morning to learn that Danny is leaving Search Engine Watch and the Search Engine Strategies Conference.

I’ve been fortunate this year, to have been invited by Danny to speak at a couple of Search Engine Strategies Conferences and blog at the Search Engine Watch blog. Neither will be quite the same without his presence. He’s been a bright light both within the industry, and to people who want to know more about how to make their sites visible in search engine results.

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Yahoo Television as an Interactive Experience

Imagine television as an interactive experience, where you can message friends, play games with them, access an electronic program guide, share ratings amongst members of a social network that you can join, receive ratings from experts and other information about television broadcasts, access shows on desktop PCs and handheld devices, search for broadcasts with specific actors or themes, and have personalized recommendations made to you.

That just brushes the surface of what is described in a new patent application from Yahoo.

Framework for providing ancillary content in a television environment
Invented by Michael Mills, Philip Mckay, Michael Hoch, Kumiko Tanaka Toft, and Rod Perkins
US Patent Application 20060184579
Published August 17, 2006
Filed on January 5, 2006

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What Do You Do With a Database of AOL User Queries?

Sometimes you see an idea appear to repeat itself in the world of search engines, when it comes to intellectual property.

Imagine that you could take a body of queries, and classify them so that you could get a sense of what the searcher’s intent was. Also consider the notion that you could then split up a large database into a number of smaller specialized databases, so that when someone did a search, only some of those databases needed to be looked at to deliver results based upon the classification of the query, with results from more than one database merged together.

Would this method result in more efficient and relevant search results, with less costly processing?

The routing of results based upon classifications could call into play other databases or search processes by a look at the query submitted to the search engines and patterns noticed in query phrases.

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Take the Search Engine Football Challenge

The folks at Marketing Shift have issued a Search Engine Football Challenge, and started a fantasy football league (US. Football) at web 2.0 fantasy football site, FleaFlicker.com.

I just signed up, and added the Delaware Bay Picaroons to the league. Barry Schwartz (RustyBrick), Garrett French (Search Engine Lowdown) , and Thomas Shaffer (MSN) are some of the other folks playing. It looks like there’s a division for search engine marketers, and another one for Search Engine employees.

If you are interested in playing, contact Evan. Contact and other information is included here.

How Do You Estimate the Size of A Search Engine?

And, how to you grab a random page from that search engine?

A new Google employee, Ziv Bar-Yossef, gave a presentation at Google on August 17th answering those questions, which is available on a Google Techtalk video: Random Sampling from a Search Engine’s Index (video).

Ziv Bar-Yossef was most recently at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, and as noted in the video, became a Google employee a couple of weeks ago. Before Technion, he was a researcher at the IBM Almaden Research Center.

The presentation is based upon a paper which won the 2006 International World-Wide Web Conference Best Paper Award: Random Sampling from a Search Engine’s Index

Being able to grab random pages from a search engine’s index can provide some interesting information about that search engine. The presentation compares things such as the number of dead pages in Google, MSN, and Yahoo, as well as the freshness of text on each, and what percentage of dynamic pages they have indexed.

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Google looks at Query Themes and Reranking Based upon Editorial Opinion

Assignments of query themes, favored and non-favored pages, ranking based upon editorial opinion – a new patent from Google provides an interesting way of ranking search results in response to queries. Here’s a quick summary of the processes described in this patent granted today to Google.

(1) A method that provides search results which includes:

(a) receiving a search query,
(b) retrieving one or more pages in response to the search query,
(c) determining whether the search query corresponds to at least one query theme of a group of query themes,
(d) ranking the one or more pages based on a result of the determination, and;
(e) serving those ranked pages.

(2) A method for determining an editorial opinion parameter for use in ranking search results:

(a) Developing one or more query themes,
(b) Identifying, for each query theme, a set favored pages,
(c) Identifying, for each query theme, a set of non-favored pages, and;
(d) determining an editorial opinion parameter for all of the pages in those sets.

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