It can be really helpful have a full set of tools that can allow you to manage and control information related to SEO projects.
I had the chance to talk with Michael Jensen and Aaron Stewart of Solo SEO while at Pubcon a couple of weeks back, and offer some input and suggestions on their new SEO project managment software, which launched today. They already had a nice set of tools aimed at helping someone working on an SEO project collect information about their efforts, and track those carefully. But they were also willing to take notes, and listen carefully to some new ideas.
Andy Beal describes a number of the features that they offer with their Solo SEO software, and Michael Jensen talks about it more in their blog – Announcing SoloSEO.com, a new SEO Project Management solution.
I don’t normally write about products and software here, but I’m making an exception in this case because the creators of this software have shown that they are paying attention to what people within the industry are asking for, and that they are listening. And, there are some nice tools included here that make the management of SEO projects easier.
What happens when you build a social networking system based upon mobile devices? One that can allow people to find where their friends are, and allow them to meet up. Such a system could allow the broadcasting of messages based upon relationships, allowing for the meeting of friends of friends, and the introduction of new friends based upon profile matches. One such system is Dodgeball.com.
Dodgeball founders Dennis Crowley and Alexander Rainert worked upon a location based social software system incorporating the use of mobile phones (with cameras) for a thesis project at NYU. Their meetings, notes and journals are (no longer available) online, as well as a movie clip of what they were working upon in the thesis days.
While Dodgeball provides a great way of having friends and people with shared interests meeting each other easily (what its founders refer to as “assisted serendipity”), there are hints of a number of other possible applications described in the journals and notes created during the developement of the system. For example, Alexander Rainert wrote in one journal entry (no longer online):
While hanging out at one of the Las Vegas hotel bars during Pubcon a couple of weeks ago, one of the folks who I was talking with started getting a number of phone calls from Yahoo!. It was kind of late to call, but the calls came anyway. Seems he had set up Yahoo Alerts to contact him on his mobile phone when certain information was available.
I’ve used Yahoo and Google Alerts to track certain phrases in the news, and they can be a nice way of finding information that you otherwise might not have seen. If you haven’t used them, they are worth checking into. They can be helpful in tracking keyword phrases, doing a limited amount of reputation management, getting the latest sports scores, or finding about traffic incidents on the route of your daily commute. Explore them a little, and you may find some creative uses for them.
I get my alerts by email, but I can see how it might be useful to get some on your phone.
Yahoo was granted a patent on alerts this week. Don’t know what impact, if any, that will have on services like the one offered by Google. The services offered by each search engine are different. Google provides alerts for information appearing in news, blogs, the web, and usenet (groups). Yahoo supplies news keyword results, and alerts for a wide number of other services (stock quotes, sports results, traffic congestion information, horoscopes, and more), and they aren’t all keyword based the way that Google’s are. Yahoo also provides alerts via email, instant messenger, and mobile alerts, while Google’s are limited to email.
In these days of increasing mobile phone usage, including phones that have cameras and can connect to the web, I found myself enthralled by a paper which described the path to Yahoo’s Zonetag.
Imagine if you take a researcher who has been studying how people use mobile phones (and mobile camera phones) and team her up with a researcher who has been studying assigning geographic locations to pictures. You’d probably end up with a paper like:
Location and Photos – A Match Made in Heaven… or Hell? (pdf)
We have previously studied social and personal uses of camera phones, and the opportunities that location based image collections afford. We are currently building and evaluating a system that brings these aspects together. This system utilizes and exposes in various ways location data for camera-phone photos.
In the late 1990’s, two versions of the original Google repository and search engine were created; a commercial one which became the Google we know today, and an academic version which was named Stanford WebBase.
In May, 2006, a number of researchers connected with Stanford University submitted a paper to the ACM Transactions on Internet Technology which describes how the WebBase system works, and many of the experimental and performance results that led to design decisions behind this system. The paper is Stanford WebBase Components and Applications (pdf).
While earlier projects used information gathered by WebBase, this is the first paper that actually looks at the WebBase system itself.
The main idea behind WebBase is to saves researchers the time and effort behind collecting Web data on their own, so that they can spend that time and effort on their research instead.
Does sorting commercial pages from informational pages provide value to searchers?
That’s one of the notions behind Yahoo’s Mindset (no longer available), which allows searchers to use a slider bar (see image at left) to rerank search results based upon whether a site is more commercial or informational. Yahoo! Mindset was released in May of 2005, and uses machine learning for text classification to sort top results for a query.
I included the kind of reorganization of search results done by Mindset in my post on 20 Ways Search Engines May Rerank Search Results back in October, but I didn’t have a link then to a patent or paper that might describe some of the processes behind how it might work. Since then, I’ve come across some interesting criticism of the use of sliders from Greg Linden, and his comparison of Yahoo Mindset with Yahoo Personalized Search.
I’ve also seen a newly released patent application from Yahoo which discusses ways to sort commercial from informational page in search results:
If you use a toolbar with your browser, I’m curious about which one and why. Some new patent applications from Yahoo have me looking a little closer at the Yahoo toolbar.
I don’t have enough screen real estate on my monitor to load too many toolbars on the browser I use. That’s partially why I split my browsing time almost equally between Firefox and Internet Explorer, with a little Opera thrown in for good measure.
Right now, on Firefox, I’m using the Web Developer Toolbar from chrispederick.com and the Stumbleupon toolbar. On Internet Explorer, I have the Google Toolbar and the AIS Web Accessibility Toolbar
The Web Developer toolbar and the Web Accessibility toolbar both have a lot of useful tools that make it easier for me to dig quickly through a website and see how it’s constructed and how it looks with and without java script and css and images. I can quickly see which links are on a page, whether or not it validates in html and css, what pages look like at different resolutions, and much more.
Thanksgiving is traditionally a harvest festival where people thank God for the bounty that they’ve received during the course of the preceeding year. One memory of past thanksgivings that sticks with me is when I visited a friend’s house a few days after the holiday, and he showed off a school poster created by his young son which listed the things he was thankful for; “Shoes, a house, his mother and father.”
The past year has been an interesting and exciting one, in which I started my own business, and have watched it grow with the support of my family and many friends from around the world. I’ve had the chance to speak at a few conferences this year, learn from those who give so freely at Cre8asite Forums and other gathering places and blogs on the web, make new friends and share ideas with old ones.
Thank you for stopping by and reading this short message. I hope that you have plenty to be thankful for this past year.