Friday, 31 December 2010

Google Adds New Security Layer To SERPs

About 1.2 million sites have been compromised by hacker attacks that integrate malware into the sites source code. The strong majority of these sites were just typical spots on the web, intending to give customers some useful features or information - not steal their identity or sell their contact information.

However, security issues with coding (and more specifically with PHP and Javascript elements that are improperly structured) can let hackers tap into the site and bend it to serve their own purposes.

That's why Google has added an additional layer of security to its search engine results page. When Google finds a site that seems to be hacked, it displays the message "This site may have been compromised" below the standard link. Additionally, just in case this warning is missed, users who click directly on the link will be taken to a confirmation page from Google with a repeat warning before they're redirected.

Users who click on the warning itself will be taken to an informational page where they're told about how issues like this occur and the risks they present for visitors. These risks include the loss of private data, having login information captured by third parties, having contact information sold, or even having spyware or malware downloaded unintentionally to your computer.

Google has stated that they will try to get in touch with anyone running a site that seems to have been compromised, informing them of what's happened, how it happened, how to fix it, and how to have the warning label that essentially serves as a "keep out" sign removed.

Google may have learned some of these lessons about vulnerable code the hard way. Their own Website Optimizer Tool, a prominent part of their Webmaster utility belt, had a fracture that let previously vulnerable sites be re-accessed through Google's code.

Published by Jen Williams, guest author for Pronet Advertising

UPDATE 3/1/2011: After posting the above, Jen has published another article on the subject which may be of interest.

Site Hacking Alerts Added to Google Searches

To make your Google search results more productive for your needs, a new feature has recently been added by the search engine industry leader that promises to make users more confident while searching and visiting sites.

Google recently introduced a new feature that will alert users to potential hacking activity from their online searches. Google's goal is to help users avoid these malicious sites and any fallout that could result from visiting them. Google promises to also go as far as notifying the site's webmaster through their main account or via any email addresses available of any suspicious hacking activity.

Just how will the alert work?

According to one of the associate product managers at Google, Gideon Wald explained that there will be several automated tools that Google will have in place to detect the common signs of a site that has been hacked. The automated tools will then add a notification to the search results to warn users that the suspicion of hacker activity exists on the site. If the user chooses to proceed despite the notification, it is at their own risk.

While this new Google feature will not eliminate malware and hackers, it will give users the choices they need to make decisions that will likely affect their PC and its productivity. With this information, users will be able to enjoy their searches with slightly more confidence in the material that's given to them.

The attempt to reduce malware and spamming activity has been one that webmasters and the industry as a whole has worked to reduce for quite a while. Hackers and spammers are very clever, and new ways of launching vicious computer viruses are always surfacing. Google hopes to counteract the back end of that activity by at least notifying users that possible activity of that sort may be present on certain sites that are returned on their search engine queries.

Published by Jen Williams, guest author for Pronet Advertising

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Wishes To All My Readers

It's that special time of year again, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. Hope 2011 brings you joy, happiness and prosperity.

In 2011, I'll be making some changes to the blog. Two of these changes will be a brand new design, synchronising the blog with Facebook to allow blog updates to be posted direct to your Facebook page, plus some other changes to make it load faster. I will also be including more posts about my day-to-day activities, which was my intention when I first started the blog :)

With it being the holiday season, I will not be publishing any new posts on the blog over the next 2 weeks, but I'll continue to bring you more great articles, exclusives and news in the New Year including top tips for email marketers, how twitter can improve your SEO, 5 website promotion techniques you should avoid and much more.

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Until 2011, have a fabulous Christmas and New Year!

Facebook Offers Tips On Being Popular

Want to be the most popular person on Facebook? All you have to do is write longer status updates, talk about music and sports, don't be overly emotional, don't talk about your family, don't refer to time and use the word "you" a lot. That's according to a recent Facebook study that took a look at the way people write and react to status updates.

Facebook analyzed the word usage for about one million status updates from its US English speakers. The social network said all identifiable information was stripped from the status updates before they were analyzed, and Facebook team members did not read your status updates for the purposes of this study.

Once the updates were anonymized, the words were organized into 68 different word categories based on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) -- a text analysis software program created by James W. Pennebaker, Roger J. Booth, and Martha E. Francis. Some examples of word categories used in the study include past tense verbs, prepositions, religion and positive feelings.

Here's a look at some of the study's findings.

Angry Youth

Facebook youth are an angry, foul-mouthed, selfish bunch, according to the Facebook study. The company found that young people express more negative emotions than their elders, swear more and use personal pronouns such as "I" and "Me" more often.

Older Facebook folk, meanwhile, write longer prose in their updates, talk about others more often and pepper their language with more prepositions (to, in, at) and articles (a, the, some).

Morning People

Turns out, most folks on Facebook are morning people. The study found that status updates expressing positive emotions were highest in the morning, and became increasingly negative as the day wore on. So basically, we Facebook users--at least the U.S. English speakers, anyway--start the day in a good mood, but as the day goes on and the coffee wears off we become increasingly demoralized. How cliched can you get?

The Blogger's Secret

Facebook's study also confirms something that bloggers and Fox News have known for years: negative comments produce more online activity. Sure, Facebook users might click the like button more often on updates expressing positive emotion. But Facebook found you can't beat negativity for user engagement, as dismal status updates garnered more comments than positive ones.

People are also less likely to comment on religious status updates, and rarely comment or like status updates referring to sleep. Confirming that it's best to avoid religious topics when in polite company, and that no one else you know is ever awake when you are dealing with a bout of insomnia.

You can find out more about Facebook's status update study here, including the revelation that you and your friend's tend to talk about the same stuff. Confirming that, while addictive, Facebook can sometimes get a little boring.

Many thanks to Ian Paul, contributing editor of PCWorld for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

How Google Handles Social Links

WebProNews recently looked at how Google and Bing use links on Twitter and Facebook for organic ranking, following an informative piece from Danny Sullivan on the matter. Google's Matt Cutts has now addressed the subject a bit more in a new video uploaded to Googles' Webmaster Help Channel.

"We do use Twitter and Facebook links in ranking as we always have in our web search rankings, but in addition we're also trying to figure out a little bit about the reputation of an author or creator on Twitter or Facebook," says Cutts. "I filmed a video back in May 2010 where I said that we didn't use that as a signal, and at the time, we did not use that as a signal, but now, we're taping this in December 2010, and we are using that as a signal."

Now, this doesn't mean that suddenly Twitter and Facebook links are the main ranking factor determining where your content is showing up in organic searches. If anything, Google seems to be tiptoeing into the waters in this area.

"The web search quality team has a lot of different groups in a lot of different offices, so people including the original Blog Search team, people who worked on Realtime Search...have been working on using these sorts of things as a signal," explains Cutts. "So primarily, it has been used a little bit more in the realtime sort of search, where you might see individual tweets or other links showing up, and streaming up on the page. We're studying how much sense it makes to use it a little more widely within our web search rankings."

To reiterate, you'll still see this playing more of a role in realtime search, but Google is "looking at it more broadly within web search as well," according to Cutts.

"Now, there's a few things to remember," Cutts warns. "Number one is: if we can't crawl a page (if we can't see a page), then we can't really assign PageRank to it, and it doesn't really count. So if we're able to obtain the data, then we can use it, but if for some reason a page is forbidden for us to crawl or if we're not able to obtain it somehow, then we wouldn't be able to use it within our rankings."

This would appear to mean that links within Facebook will not mean a whole lot when the user isn't sharing their updates with everyone. Many Facebook users have their privacy settings adjusted to only share with their friends. While Facebook may have far more users than Twitter, privacy settings will greatly reduce that number in terms of links that will potentially help your search rankings.

"This is something that is used relatively lightly for now, and we'll see how much we use it over time depending on how useful it is and how robust it ends up being," says Cutts. "The one thing I would caution people about is don't necessarily say to yourself, 'Ha. Now I'm going to go out and get reciprocal follows, and I'm gonna get a ton of followers,' just like people used to get a ton of links. In the same way that PageRank depends on not just the number of links, but the quality of those links, you have to think about what are the followers who mean quality. Who are the people who actually are not just bots or some software program or things like that."

Many thanks to Chris Crum, editor of WebProNews for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Monday, 20 December 2010

12 Ways To Generate More Blog Traffic

Here's a great article by Jessica Swanson of showing 12 simple strategies that can help you generate more traffic to your blog...

Twelve Simple Ways to Generate More Blog Traffic

Imagine that you've taken the giant leap to start a blog to bring more brand awareness and exposure to your small business.

You've taken all the necessary steps to build your blog platform and now comes the day when you make your very first blog post. You spend hours crafting a post that is educational, inspirational and positions you as an expert in your field. You are as proud of this post as if it truly were your flesh and blood. And, most of all you can't wait to share it with the world.

So, you hit "publish" and wait for your readers to react to your nuggets of wisdom. However, the waiting is an endless ordeal.

Why aren't you generating any comments? Why aren't people emailing you thrilled that you have shared your expertise with them?

It's called "lack of traffic" and if there's no traffic to your blog, no one will ever see it.

So, how can you begin enticing readers to visit your blog? Here are twelve quick ways to generate a flow of non-stop blog traffic:

1. Create Great Content

Obviously, this goes without saying. But, your content needs to educate, entertain, inspire or provide a solution to your readers' problems. You want to try to accomplish at least one of these tasks with every blog post.

2. Keep Your Posts Short

We are living in an age where short attention spans are the norm. Keep your posts under 500 words so that you don't lose your ADD readers.

3. Get Your Blog Indexed in Technorati

This is the big daddy of all blog catalogs. Make sure that you go through the very simple process of submitting your blog RSS feed to Technorati.

4. Submit Your Blog Feed to Other Top Blog Catalogs

Blog catalogs and RSS feed catalogs are where readers go to find blogs to read. You want to make sure that your blog is there. To make the process even easier, you can use a service such as SubmitINMe to manually post to the catalogs for you.

5. Entice Your Readers to Subscribe to Your Blog

Give your readers a free goodie (such as a downloadable ebook, whitepaper, audio class, etc.) if they subscribe to your blog.

6. Let Your Social Networks Know About New Posts

Whenever you post to your blog, Tweet it out to your followers, update your LinkedIn status and let your Facebook friends and fans know about it. If it's a good post, they will pass it on to their community as well.

7. Get Involved in the Blog Community

Blogging is a social activity. Read other blogs, comment on other blogs and refer to other blogs within your blog posts.

8. Comment Back

When your readers make comments on your blog, make sure that you comment back to them. You want to encourage a natural back and forth dialogue between you and your readers.

9. Participate in a Blog Carnival

A blog carnival is a blog event that it is dedicated to a particular topic and is published either weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of an article that contains links to other blog posts on that particular topic. Blog carnivals can be a wonderful way to produce awareness around your blog. Read the rules and regulations of the blog carnival and get involved.

10. Offer to Write a Blog Post for a High-Traffic Blog

Research various blogs within your particular industry. Read the blogs, comment on the blogs and interact with the blogger. Once you've established a relationship, send them an email politely letting them know that you would be willing to be a guest blogger for them at any time in the future. Include a link to your blog so that they can check out the quality of your work.

11. Use Your Blog Posts in Your Ezine

Instead of writing a brand new article for your weekly ezine, send out the first few paragraphs of one of your past blog posts. Then include a link for the reader to continue reading the post on your blog.

12. Include Your Blog URL in Your Email Signature

Develop an email signature that you use whenever you send an email. Of course, your email signature should include a link to your blog.

Once you implement these twelve strategies, you'll certainly notice a spike in traffic and begin generating comments and interaction from hundreds (even thousands) of readers in your particular industry.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Have a great week!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

5 Ways To Use Facebook To Promote Your Site

Facebook has taken social networking by storm over the past three years, growing to become one of the most used sites on the Internet, both from a new user point of view and a returning visitor rate as well.

Facebook brings together many millions of people who all connect, share information, photos, events and pretty much everything about their lives, whether they mean to or not.

In the same way you can connect to friends, you can also use Facebook as a great way to promote your business or website because the power that Facebook can offer you in terms of exposure is almost second to none when it comes to the potential that this site can offer to you.

Below, we look at our top five ways of utilising Facebook to really promote your business or website.

Set Up A Facebook Page

Facebook pages can be an amazing tool if you utilise them correctly. You can start to build up a "fan" base of people who are interested in your product who will like your page and therefore get information instantly when you add any new posts, photos, discussions or events to your page.

This means that not only does your post go onto the people who like your page walls, but then any of their friends could also see this, allowing you to spread the word to thousands more people just by growing your like list.

Tell Your Friends, Colleagues, Loved Ones And Anyone Who Will Listen

As mentioned above, its time to tell all of your trusted and not so trusted friends and contacts on Facebook about your page.

The more people you tell, the more people will start seeing your posts every time you add them, meaning that you can really get some excellent exposure from just a small pool of friends, as long as they have many more friends on their lists.

Build Up Your Likes

The more likes you have, the more your business page or general page will get exposure, as the things that you post and promote will start to get spread across many peoples Facebook walls and profiles.

This means its important to really only add good content to your Facebook page, things like adding your blog RSS feed and adding solid articles and noteworthy information.

Join Related Groups

On the same line as pages, groups are a great way to find other people who are interested in the same things that you are.

For example, if you enjoy playing Fifa 11, you simply type into your search box "Fifa 11" and then take a look at all the groups and pages. You can then join these groups and join in the discussions which can then lead to you promoting your related product.

Don't just go storming in and start making loads of posts about what you are offering, as this will simply lead to either being blocked or becoming known as a spammer!

Use Facebook Advertising

Although we find the Facebook Advertising slightly more expensive than other cost per click models, the demographics you can place on your advertising is second to none.

For example, if you wanted to appeal to 30 - 50 year olds who live within 20 miles of your postcode and were interested in dancing, Facebook allows you to do this. Because of the data they collect about you as you are using Facebook, they can then really make sure that you can target any advertising very close to your perfect audience, which is not really rivaled elsewhere as of yet.

It is true to say that using Facebook to promote anything is hard work. You have to really work at your page, improve it on a daily basis and keep adding good content to keep not only the people who like your page happy but to also attract new ones.

If you are prepared to do the leg work, there is no doubt that this social networking site can drive extra traffic and sales to any business or website.

About The Author: Ian Spencer works for Clear Web Services, a SEO Web Optimisation and Web Design company serving the Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire and South Wales. He has worked in the SEO and Internet Marketing world for many years, and working in partnership with another company has launched the new SEO business For more information, please call 01594 835 857 or email

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Yahoo Axes AltaVista, Delicious & Six Others

After announcing Wednesday it would be laying off four percent of its workforce, Yahoo revealed today that it was terminating eight of its Websites. Sites targeted for "sunsetting" are Delicious, AltaVista, MyBlogLog, Yahoo Picks, Yahoo Buzz, and Yahoo Bookmarks.

News of the product cuts was leaked in the form of screenshot from an internal webcast aired by the company and posted to Twitter by Eric Marcoullier, the founder of MyBlogLog, the Wall Street Journal reported. MyBlogLog was purchased by Yahoo in 2007 and left to languish. Marcoullier is no longer with the company.

The leaked slide also identifies several Yahoo properties slated for merging. They include Fire Eagle, Yahoo Events, Yahoo People Search and Sideline.

Needless to say, Yahoo wasn't happy about news of its planned actions becoming part of the public domain. In a tweet to Marcoullier, the company's Chief Product Officer Blake Irving vowed vengeance would be swift for whomever leaked the slide. "Can't wait to find out how you got the web cast," he wrote. "Whoever it is, gone!"

After the beans were spilled about the cuts, Yahoo apparently felt compelled to comment on the record on the subject. "Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond," it said in a statement.

"We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo! Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others," it continued. "We will communicate specific plans when appropriate."

Published by John Mello, PCWorld Dec 16, 2010 9:59 pm

Friday, 17 December 2010

Top 10 Tips for Local Search Engine Optimisation

Punch Above your Weight Online - Localised search results have recently experienced a major overhaul within the Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) which has resulted in a fantastic opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses.

Local search results were previously relegated to a small map, which would appear within the first page of results, but now they enjoy first page domination for local search terms.

The benefit of this to small businesses is that they can now appear above their much larger revivals who are relegated to the last few results on page one of Google.

Don't miss out on local search results; they're your next customers. Here's 10 tips to help you capture them:

1. Claim your Google Places listing - it's easy to do and if one doesn't exist for your business then you can quickly and simply create one. What is it? A Google Places listing is effectively a profile attached to Google's local search results. It is important because Google ranks these profiles above all others in their new first page local search results.

2. Add pictures to your Google Places listing. The effectiveness of your Google places listing is impacted by its completeness. Images will not only flesh out your listing, but when they appear in the search results, besides your Google Places listing, they are eye-catching and attractive which will increase clicks.

3. Gather citations - citations are instances on the web where your business is mentioned, Google uses the consistency of the information it finds and the authority of the referring site to boost your rank in local search engine results. The quality as well as volume of citations is an important factor in local search engine optimisation.

4. Include your locality in on-page optimisation - revisit your META and Title Tags to ensure your town is included wherever possible. Make sure your address appears on every page and that you have a contact page.

5. Submit your site to local directories including,,, local Chamber of Commerce and business directories. Local directories will have greater relevance in local search as it narrows your field of operation for Google to a localised area.

6. Manage your online exposure - make sure the information distributed across the web that pertains to your business is managed carefully. Trawl local directories and existing listings, double-check that your details are correct and that they match both your Google Places contact information as well as your websites contact page.

7. Get your reviews and testimonials on the web - no doubt you will already have testimonials collected from customers, these need to go online as well as in other marketing materials. Put a process in place of asking satisfied customers to review you online if at all possible. Pen a short email with instructions of where and how you would like the review left and send this to all satisfied customers.

8. Use a local phone number instead of a 0800, 0845 or 0870 - this again refines your location making it easier for search engines to place you within a specific region.

9. Target local keywords - when link building make sure you target some local variations on your keywords in the anchor text of your links.

10. Use your supply network - think about local search as being similar to networking. No doubt you will already have a network of local contacts, associates and suppliers who all allow your business to thrive. Simply transfer this network online by linking to each other.

Local search is set to dominate first page results for all local search terms. Small, local businesses should take advantage of this by implementing some or all of the tips above which will allow them to compete with much larger businesses who have until now monopolised the first page results by investing in aggressive SEO campaigns.

About The Author: Kriss Davies - If you find local search engine optimisation confusing or simply don't have the time to optimise your local online presence you can call on the of an SEO expert. For Google Places listing and local search engine optimisation visit

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Google Launches New Body Browser

Watch out, TSA: Google's getting into the game of exploring the human body.

Hang on, though -- there's no groping going on here. Google's approach is a new educational tool called Google Body Browser. Launched on the Google Labs website today, Google Body Browser uses HTML5 technology to let you examine the human body in fully layered, three-dimensional detail.

Intrigued? Here's how it works...

Google Body Browser: A First Look

First, a warning: Google Body Browser probably won't load in your browser. The app uses WebGL, a plug-in-free programming interface, to power its 3D graphics. WebGL is a relatively new standard, and most major browsers are still testing its implementation. For now, you can grab the latest beta version of Chrome or Firefox to check it out; eventually, the stable versions of those browsers (and most others) will offer integrated WebGL support.

When you open Google Body Browser in a WebGL-enabled program, you're greeted with an image of a woman standing face-forward wearing minimal workout attire (view full-sized image). Controls on the left side of the screen let you zoom in and out and rotate the woman's body. You can also just click and drag with your mouse to spin her around 3D-style.

Good times, right? You bet. But the most interesting part is when you start using the Google Body Browser layering tool. Located below the zoom controls, the layering tool lets you peel back layers of the body (of the body, buddy, not the clothing -- get your mind out of the gutter) to see detailed views of the human anatomy.

Bumping down one level sheds the skin and gives you a glimpse of the muscular structure (view full-sized image). The next level goes skeletal. Keep going and you'll get organs, arteries, and veins -- then eventually nothing but nerves.

Want to learn more about what you're seeing? Just click the "Labels" option, and Google Body Browser will serve as your virtual biology book. With the option activated, tiny labels will appear on every item in your current view, letting you know exactly what you're looking at (view full-sized image).

Of course, it wouldn't be a Google product without search. Type any muscle, bone, or organ into the search box at the top of the page, and Body Browser will instantly zoom into the appropriate part to show you where it is (view full-sized image).

One other neat feature worth mentioning: Body Browser adjusts its URL as you move along, so if you ever want to save a particular view or share it with someone else, all you have to do is copy the current Web address and you're good to go.

Finally, if you're jonesing for some testosterone-laden exploration, fear not: Google says a male model will be added into the Body Browser app sometime soon.

You can try out Google Body Browser right now at Or, if you don't feel like playing doctor just yet, check out this video to watch the app in action.

Many thanks to JR Raphael, contributing editor of PCWorld for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Until the next time, enjoy the rest of the week!

Bing Makes Use Of Facebook Data

Bing introduced a handful of new features today. The one that will likely catch the most interest is the extension of its recent announcement regarding Facebook. Now, Bing will start showing you which of your Facebook friends have liked search results as they appear in your searches.

Social (Facebook)

"Starting today, if your search results include a specific link that has also been 'liked' by someone in your Facebook network the link will be highlighted as 'Liked' within Bing," Microsoft's Bing team explains. "This gets especially interesting for a query like 'Xbox' where my friend 'Liked' the 'Kinect' site and while our algorithms didn't feel it was relevant enough to make it the 'answer' we reference above, we are still able to indicate that my friend liked that link that happened to show up within the results."

This will be one clear advantage that Bing has over Google in terms of regular web search. Google has done a lot involving delivering social results, but Facebook data are THE social results that matter most - at least as long as Facebook is the dominant social site that it is today. With people constantly "liking" content all over the web, this can be a great indicator of relevance on a personalized level. It's going to catch your attention when you notice your friend appear in the search results.

Facebook Like Information on Bing Results

Bing has been running a similar feature in search results for several weeks, including likes from places like CitySearch, but there should be a much more broad set of potential results that will include "like" info now. It appears the feature may still be rolling out, so if you don't see the "liked" results, you're not the only one. I do get a message about it when I search with Bing, but after some testing, I'm clearly not getting these results.

For example, as illustrated by Bing here, I should see when my friend has "liked" a movie on IMDB underneath the IMDB result for that movie on Bing. I have tested this with a specific movie that I made sure one of my friends had "liked" and that "like" did not appear under the result.

Sports Tickets

Bing has also added sports ticket info from FanSnap directly into the search experience, so users can view ticket results from 57 ticket companies, see ticket selection and price ranges, find the best ticket prices, and access a "view-from-seat" feature.

Bing Ticket Info

Image Search

Bing has also made changes to how it presents and organizes image search results. "The first thing you will notice is our new Instant Answer that organizes a rich collage of images directly into the main results page," Bing explains. "Once you click through to the 'images' page you will notice that we've populated the tabs with the most common search queries associated with a given image."

"Instead of making you qualify that you're looking for (Casablanca, Morocco or Casablanca, the movie), we have organized the tabs so that one simple click gets you to what you're looking for," Bing adds.

Bing Image Organization


For local search, Bing has added interior views, enhanced OpenTable integration for restaurants, real-time transit and Streetside for Mobile. Bing has partnered with EveryScape Eats, which provides imagery of restaurant interiors. These can be accessed by clicking "step inside" on Bing Local details pages (it utilzes Microsoft's Silverlight). For now, it includes about 5,000 restaurants, mostly in Boston, but the company will add locations and cities over time. We'll see if they expand beyond restaurants. Google has already been experimenting with taking pictures inside businesses.

Additionally, Bing users can access local details pages for restaurants that are signed up with OpenTable and search for available reservations from Bing itself.

Bing Utilizes OpenTable

Bing Mobile on the iPhone now has "up-to-the-minute" data for transit agencies (in Seattle, Boston, and San Francisco so far), and Streetside - Bing's eqivalent of Google's Streetview is available on Bing Mobile now. Bing has also made adjustments to its map style and a bunch of other updates to its iPhone and Andriod apps.

Will This All Help Bing Increase Its Market Share?

As we've discussed in the past, Bing has a lot of things that could work in its favor in terms of helping it grow its search market share, and some of these new features (namely the Facebook likes) won't hurt. The company also introduced some Facebook sharing features for Shopping Search a couple weeks ago.

Many thanks to Chris Crum, editor of WebProNews for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Website Traffic Generation & The Traffic Fairy

If you have an online business, generating traffic to your website is crucial to business success. Here's a great article by Bill Platt of the Phantom Writers explaining what you should be doing to generate traffic to your website...

Website Traffic Generation and the Love of the Traffic Fairy

For a number of years, many online marketers honestly thought that the only thing they needed to do to be successful online was to build a website, and the buyers would come to them.

They heard all of the success stories from people who claimed that they had simply built a website, and people just started to arrive in huge numbers.

The story, as it is told, is:

These folks built a website, then the search engines found their websites and started showing people the link to their website. And the people using the search engines saw the link to their websites and saw that it was good. Search engine users saw the link and, as if it were the only link in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), they clicked the link by the thousands. And hoards of people came to the website with fists full of money, ready to purchase what the website was selling.

Some people still believe this is how the search engines work. They have built their websites, and they are waiting anxiously for the "Traffic Fairy" to sprinkle his magic dust on their websites too, so that they can also make lots of money.

Are YOU Still Waiting For The Traffic Fairy?

I hope not.

Those who are "waiting" for anything may wait until they realize they are flushing good money down the proverbial toilet, month after month. When they realize that they still have more money going out than they have coming in, they usually get irritated that the "Traffic Fairy" did not look favorably on them, so they stop paying their hosting bill and quit this scam called, "online marketing."

The lifespan of most new websites can generally be measured in the amount of time most people will remain members of a subscription website. In case you did not know, this number is 3-4 months. Along about the 4th or 5th month, most people will stop paying their web hosting bill and let their websites die.

Those people who prepay 1-2 years on their web hosting bill will typically allow their sites to remain online, but they will quit the site long before their website runs out of life. Most will stick it out 3-4 months, and if they are not yet making money, they will just walk away from their new "online business."

This is why you will find so many article directories where you submit your finest work, and no one will ever "approve" your article for publication. There may be nothing wrong with your article. The fact is no one is home to approve it.

The Traffic Fairy Smiles on Those Who Take Action

If you can believe it, in the fall of 1998, Google was a startup website.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin -- the founders of Google -- were just like you and I. They had a startup website, and they needed people to discover their new website.

In those days, Page and Brin could not simply build their website and "wait" for the Traffic Fairy or Google to find them.

They were Google, and no one was using their website.

What did they do to get Google off the ground?

While building Google in their garage, Page and Brin were doing what you should be doing now. They were getting links wherever they could get links. They were adding their site to directories. They were issuing press releases about their new company. They were trying to get interviews with the press and ordinary webmasters. They were trying to get interviews with newsletter publishers. They were participating in forums and news groups to share their story.

They started their website in September of 1998 and they got their first major press in December of 1998, when they made the top 100 websites of 1998.

It took them three months to get their first major press, and they had been actively promoting their website with the gusto of a 10,000-person marching band.

Yet the average new webmaster barely promotes his or her website and expects to attract thousands of visitors in the same time frame as it took Google to get noticed by the public-at-large.

Are you starting to get the picture?

To Be Successful, Do What the Successful Websites Have Done

Before Google was the powerhouse it is today, its founders had to work their asses off to build their business.

They had to promote, promote, and promote some more. They had to build links, build links, and build some more links. They needed to entice people to visit and use their website, and they needed to provide a method for people to find them.

My point is that the founders of Google wanted to be acknowledged and linked from every corner of the Internet. They chased links for their website because they knew that people used links to get to a website.

Twelve years later, Yahoo credits them with 223,383,603 links to and another 6,752,847 links to

You and I are not going to get 231 million links to our websites, but getting links from a variety of resources is the secret to getting traffic to ones' website. The Traffic Fairy blesses those websites that have a multitude of links to them.

Page and Brin tapped into the basics of building traffic to their website. They made a great website, and they did everything they could do to get traffic to that website.

You should try to emulate them as you build your website and start to promote it. It was the secret to their success, and likewise, it could be the secret to your success.

Traffic Generation 101

The easiest and cheapest ways to get links and generate traffic for ones' website is going to be: article marketing, press releases, forum marketing, social media marketing, etc.

But, there are at least three-dozen methods to generate traffic to ones' website, and these are just four of them.

The more successful websites always strive to get traffic through a wide variety of traffic generation strategies and methods.

In my case, I have used 31 of the 35 methods I describe in the 80-page traffic guide, "Multiple Traffic Streams: The Magic of Attracting Buyers."

This has resulted in my top three websites being on track to serving 400,000 unique visitors and 5 million page views in 2010.

Don't wait for the Traffic Fairy to bless your website. Take massive action to make sure that the Traffic Fairy would be a fool to ignore you.

And if you do, you might just realize that the Traffic Fairy is real, and he would love to sprinkle his magic traffic dust on your website too.

About The Author: The first step to learning how to boost your traffic is learning about the diversity of traffic sources available to you. Reviewers are widely praising Bill Platt's "Multiple Traffic Streams: The Magic of Attracting Buyers" for its quality and attention to detail. One reviewer called it, "Comprehensive!!" Another said, "You could always spend $1500 or more for one of the 'guru' courses and still get less info." Get your copy here:

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Google Chrome 8: What's New

The blogosphere may be buzzing about Google's Chrome OS and Chrome Web Store this week, but Google itself is focusing on its original Chrome product: the Chrome Web browser.

Google announced the launch of Chrome 8.0.552.215 at its official Chrome blog Thursday afternoon. The update brings a number of changes and -- perhaps more important -- paves the way for some big things ahead.

Google Chrome 8: New Features

So what's new in Google Chrome 8? Quite a bit, actually -- though many of the changes are under the hood. Google Chrome 8 introduces more than 800 bug fixes and stability improvements. Those tweaks and other security patches make up the bulk of the progress.

One new feature that's immediately noticeable is the addition of a built-in PDF viewer, something that had been floating around in developer builds for several months. According to Chromium Engineering Director Marc Pawliger, the built-in PDF viewer lets the browser "render [PDF files] as seamlessly as HTML Web pages," without the need for a standalone Adobe Reader installation. All PDFs are also contained in what's called a sandbox, which basically means they're isolated and won't affect the security or performance of any other parts of the system.

Google Chrome 8: Big Future

The most significant changes in Chrome 8 may be ones that most of us can't see. Developers say Chrome 8 is the first version of the browser to boast full support for Google's upcoming Chrome Web Store, which is widely expected to launch any day now. The Chrome Web Store will offer an array of Web-based applications -- both free and paid -- that'll be designed specifically to work with the Chrome browser and the still-under-development Chrome OS.

Google Chrome

Speaking of Chrome OS, it too may be moments away from making its grand debut. In an interview with The New York Times last week, a Google engineering VP said Chrome OS-powered netbooks would be hitting the market before the year's end. Chrome OS, as you may recall from Google's preview of the software last summer, will offer a bare-bones, browser-like interface that'll rely almost entirely on cloud-based applications. And, despite its similar categorization, it'll be wildly different from Google's other operating system, Android -- both in terms of how it works and what types of devices it'll target.

(For a detailed comparison, check out "Chrome OS vs. Android: What's the difference?")

As far as the basic Chrome browser, Google's next project is applying its sandbox technology to Adobe's Flash Player. Like with the PDF scenario, it'll allow Flash-based content to stay isolated in its own area, making the overall browsing experience safer and more stable.

Google Chrome and the Browser Market

Google's clearly keeping busy with Chrome these days, and all of the efforts may be paying off: According to recently released data, November marked Chrome's biggest month to date when it comes to browser market share. The data, compiled by metrics firm Net Applications, shows Chrome growing a full 5.6 percent in global market share for the month of November, bringing its total up to 9.3 percent. That's the second-highest single month gain Net Applications has ever measured for any browser.

Chrome 8 is now available at Google's Chrome download page. If you're already using Chrome, the program should automatically find and install the upgrade soon. If you don't want to wait, just click the tool icon at the top right corner of the program and select "About Google Chrome." That'll force your browser to check for updates and begin the upgrade process.

Many thanks to JR Raphael, contributing editor of PCWorld for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Have a great week!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Google Search Now Detects Bad Businesses

In an uncharacteristically public way, Google has acknowledged modifying its search engine so it can identify businesses that provide bad service and lower their search results rankings accordingly.

Google took action after a recent story in The New York Times detailed the tactics of an online eyeware store owner who claimed his site's high Google rankings were directly proportional to the many complaints posted by upset customers.

"I've exploited this opportunity because it works. No matter where they post their negative comments, it helps my return on investment. So I decided, why not use that negativity to my advantage?," Vitaly Borker, founder and owner of DecorMyEyes, told the Times.

That tactic won't work anymore, Google said Wednesday. "I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google's search results," wrote Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, in a blog post.

Without going into much detail, Singhal said Google developed "an algorithmic solution" that flags merchants that provide "an extremely poor user experience" and assigns them lower rankings. This is an initial solution to the problem, which Google will continue addressing, he said.

Incidentally, Singhal disputed that DecorMyEyes' ranking benefitted from the many complaints posted online against it. Rather, its ranking was helped ironically by articles from reputable media sources about the company's troubles.

The situation is also leading Google to work on making its "sentiment analysis" search system more of a factor in results ranking. Currently, Google hasn't found a way to give this system more weight without disproportionately affecting the ranking of controversial people or topics.

The Times article clearly struck a nerve at Google, which runs the world's most popular search engine and prides itself on delivering what it considers the best and most relevant results through constant and intense improvements and innovations.

Thanks to its popularity with users, Google dominates the highly profitable search engine advertising market. Last year, Google had $23.6 billion in revenue, most of it from search advertising.

Although hundreds of disgruntled customers had posted complaints about DecorMyEyes online -- including allegations of personal harassment and intimidation by Borker -- the store enjoyed high rankings for eyewear queries for years.

"We can't say for sure that no one will ever find a loophole in our ranking algorithms in the future. We know that people will keep trying: attempts to game Google's ranking, like the ones mentioned in the article, go on 24 hours a day, every single day," Singhal wrote.

"We will continue to work hard towards a better search," he added.

Published by Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Dec 2, 2010 4:10 pm

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

What Is Twitter & What Does It Do For Businesses?

Twitter is a Miniature Blog

Micro-blogging is defined as a quick update usually containing a very limited number of characters. It is a popular features of social networks like Facebook where you can update your status, but it has become best known because of Twitter.

In essence, micro-blogging is for people who want a blog but don't want to blog. A personal blog can keep people informed on what is going on in your life, but not everyone wants to spend an hour crafting a beautiful post about the vibrant colors seen on a butterfly spotted in the front time. Sometimes, you just want to say "went shopping for a new car but didn't find anything" or "watched Dancing With the Stars and Warren Sapp sure can dance."

So what is Twitter? It's a great place for keeping people informed on what you are up to without the need to spend a lot of time crafting an entire post on the subject. You just say what's up and leave it at that.

Twitter is Social Messaging

While Twitter may have started as a micro-blogging service, it is grown into much more than simply a tool to type in quick status updates. So when asked "What is Twitter?", I often describe it as a cross between blogging and instant messaging, though even that doesn't do it justice.

Put simply, Twitter is social messaging. With the ability to follow people and have followers, and the ability to have interact with Twitter on your cell phone, Twitter has become the perfect social messaging tool. Whether you are out on the town and want to coordinate with a group of people as to what hot spot to hit next, or keeping people informed of developments at a company-sponsored event, Twitter is a great tool for quickly communicating a message to a group of people.

Twitter is News Reporting

Turn on CNN, Fox News or any other news-reporting service and you'll likely see a news ticker streaming across the bottom of the television set. In a digital world that is relying on the Internet more and more for news, that streaming ticker is Twitter.

Outdoor festivals like the South-by-Southwest festival in Austin, TX and major events like the E3 conference have shown what a great resource Twitter can be for quickly reporting news to a huge group of people. Faster and more immediate than a blog, Twitter has been embraced by the "new media" of the blogosphere and has slowly won acceptance among traditional media outlets.

Twitter is Social Media Marketing

Twitter has become a favorite target for social media marketing. This new form of getting the message out has been used effectively by Barak Obama during his Presidential campaign, and is used by everyone from magazines to movie stars as a quick way to connect with an audience.

With utilities like Twitterfeed, it is easy to convert an RSS feed into Twitter updates. This makes it easy to use Twitter as a form of social media marketing.

So what does Twitter do for businesses?

Twitter is a communication platform that helps businesses stay connected to their customers. As a business, you can use it to quickly share information with people interested in your company, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and other people who care about your company. As an individual user, you can use Twitter to tell a company (or anyone else) that you've had a great or disappointing experience with their business, offer product ideas, and learn about great offers.

  • Direct - The company uses Twitter as a marketing or public relations channel.
  • Indirect - The company's employees use Twitter to enhance and extend their personal reputations, thereby enhancing the company's reputation.
  • Internal - Employees use the platform to communicate about what they are doing, projects they are working on and ideas that occur to them.
  • Inbound Signaling - Twitter streams provide a rich source of information about what customers, competitors and others are saying about a company.

Now, you understand WHY you should use Twitter for your business - BizTwitting, but you don't know HOW and WHAT to tweet. Here are some ideas:

What to tweet:

Sales/Marketing stuff:
- time-limited sales
- coupon codes
- specials
- contests
- event sign up

General Info:
- industry news
- re-tweets
- questions
- help requests/suggestions
- personal info

Who to follow - strategic following:

- customer/clients
- staff
- colleagues in the field
- vendors
- relevant journalists
- social influencers for your field
- competitors

How to get followers:

- include Twitter URL everywhere
- write about your Twitter feed
- add linked Twitter badges to your site
- list yourself in Twitter directories (e.g.
- run contests
- use Tweetadder and MarketMeSuite to leverage your followers

What is Twitter?

This brings us back to the original question. What is Twitter? It is many different things to many different people. It can be used by a family to keep in touch, or a company to coordinate business, or the media to keep people informed or a writer to build up a fan base.

Twitter is micro-blogging. It is social messaging. It is an event coordinator, a business tool, a news reporting service and a marketing utility.

That wasn't so hard, was it?

Many thanks to Incomegate for the content of this article. If you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar) or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Enjoy the rest of the week!