Google to Provide Better Accuracy in Location-Based Services?

Chances are that you’ve seen or even used location-based services from the Web, such as Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrrl, Scvng, and including locations in your tweets.

Google offers a number of location-based services, such as:

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SEO is Undead Again (Profiles, Phrases, Entities, and Language Models)

SEO and Keyword Matching

I don’t recall clearly when I first started calling what I do SEO, and I really didn’t have an official title at my first inhouse SEO position back in 1996. I thought of that role as a webmaster, marketing manager, IT department, technical consultant, and did whatever else needed to be done. A friend’s sister worked at Digital Corp, and she sent us an email about a new service they had started called Alta Vista one day.

That’s probably when we first started thinking seriously about search engines, and their potential to help or to harm businesses. When Google came along, we became a lot more serious about search.

Back in the days just before Google started gaining any popularity, when the leading search engines counted amongst their ranks Alta Vista, Excite, Infoseek and Lycos, a paper titled What is a tall poppy among web pages? by Glen Pringle, Lloyd Allison and David L. Dowe explored the possible decision trees that those search engines used to try to decide how pages might be ranked by search engines.

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Google on Duplicate Content Filtering and News Attribution Metatags

If you have an interest in how Google addresses duplicate content on the Web, today’s been an interesting day.

Google was granted a patent this morning that describes how Google might identify duplicate or near duplicate web pages and decide which version to show in search results, and which ones to filter out. It’s a process possibly close to what Google has been using for a while.

But…

Identifying the original source of content can be a pretty hard problem to solve on the Web.

What if Google had a smaller search vertical, where they carefully screened and identified all of the web publishers involved, and could convince them to help identify which content is original, and which is copied or duplicated?

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Son of SEO is Undead (Google Caffeine and New Product Refinements)

Some changes to search, and search engines are easy to spot and see and understand. Others are highly visible, but their actual impact is less transparent. Still others are somewhat mystifying, and there’s little information about them published by any of the search engines. Some others aren’t very visible, and the search engines are fairly silent about them.

Last week, Google launched a new feature on search results pages called Google Instant Previews. If you click on the magnifying glass that shows up next to a search result, you’ll see a preview of the web page in the right column of the results.

In some results, where snippets are taken from the content on the page (as opposed to those from meta descriptions), the area where that snippet text appears on the page is highlighted, and magnified for viewers.

A number of reactions online note that these previews will harm SEO and Web Design, or will transform both in ways that are burdensome to SEOs and designers. The opposite is probably more likely true – sites that follow good SEO and Design practices stand a good chance of getting more click-throughs because of Google’s Instant Previews.

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SEO is Undead 1 (Links and Keyword Proximity)

“SEO is Dead,” is something that you may have seen grace the headlines of a blog post or news article in the past few years.

Some have pronounced SEO as being dethroned by Social Media Optimization (or Social Media Marketing). Or that Personalized Search, or Google Instant, or Universal Search, or Google Caffeine, or some other search update has changed around search so much that SEO no longer has value.

I responded to one of those “SEO is Dead” posts earlier this year with a post about Good SEO. The author I was responding to questioned whether creating great content, using standards-based HTML, and sharing that content with friends should sufficient for your site to rank well in Search Engines without SEO.

SEO isn’t dead, but it is constantly evolving as are searchers and search engines and the Web itself.

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Should You Rely upon Search Spiders to Rewrite Your Web Addresses?

Every web page has at least one unique address that people can reach it by. Sometimes a web page has more than one address, and that can be a problem.

For example, if I look for a digital piano on the target.com web site, I might find one at the following address:

  • “http://www.target.com/Suzuki-Home-Digital-Piano-Rosewood/dp/B001HDAQ76/ref=br_1_1?ie=UTF8&id=Suzuki%20Home%20Digital%20Piano%20Rosewood&node=257467011&searchSize=30&searchView=list&searchPage=1&sr=1-1&qid=1288907760&rh=&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=salesrank&frombrowse=1″

If I remove each of the following parameters (parts of the address) or combinations of parameters, from the Target URL for the piano, and place what is left of the URL into my browser’s address bar, I still get the same page each time, but with shorter URLs:

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How Google may Manage Reputations for Reviewers and Raters

Do reviews of businesses and products at Google influence how well those might show up in Place searches or product searches? It’s possible that they may, and a bigger question might be how much weight might Google give to each review that it sees. An answer, in part, to that may depend upon a reputation score associated with the people leaving reviews.

People do go online in search of reviews and ratings for businesses and products, and the search engines are trying to provide that information when and where they think it might be useful. Starred ratings are also showing in Google’s Web search with Rich Snippets, and the presence of ratings may influence whether or not someone clicks through a snippet from Google’s search results.

A recent change to how Google shows search results in Web search may mean that if Google thinks you are performing a search where local search results are appropriate, then Google may show those local results as if they were organic search listings. Google refers to this change as Place Search, and it can have an impact upon the amount of visitors a site may receive, and possibly increase the number of contacts for a business listed in those results.

A patent from Google granted today, Systems and methods for reputation management (US Patent 7,827,052), takes a closer look at the people who provide reviews and ratings for businesses and products, and describes a way of creating a reputation score for those reviewers modeled after Google’s PageRank algorithm.

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