Highlights from the SEW Blog: May 31, 2006

Featured posts from the Search Engine Watch blog, as well as our customary search headlines from around the web. If you’re not familiar with our blog, click on any of the links below, or visit the blog’s home page at http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/.

Redfin Gets Funding and Prepares to Go National

Seattle-based Redfin.com was one of the first real estate mashups to employ a map interface as a primary navigation tool for real-estate search. The site was quickly joined by other real-estate mashups, HousingMaps.com (the early poster child for mashups), HomePages.com, Trulia and, more recently, Zillow.

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Calacanis Dings AOL Search

Jason Calacanis has written a forthright piece on the importance of fixing AOL search. He’s examined Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL Search, and in particular looked at the position of the first organic result, down to the number of pixels from the top and the left, together with useful screen shots. Danny wrote on the same subject of the positioning of results a couple of years ago. There’s absolutely no doubt that the positioning of organic results is very important, but as a searcher there are other things that I worry about rather more.

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Google Sitemaps: Links To You Can’t Hurt You

The Google Sitemaps team posted to their blog in response to a question at SearchEngineWatch Seattle. Interestingly, they note that links from bad neighborhoods do not harm a site’s rankings, only links to bad neighborhoods. It has long been theorized that links from bad neighborhoods do cause ranking problems and this goes against conventional thinking.

Link networks often populate quality content sites with paid text links as part of their program. If at all possible, Google obviously wouldn’t want to remove quality content from their search engine. One solution is to make outbound links from quality sites that sell links worth nothing towards building rankings for destination sites.

We’ve heard this from Matt Cutts before: “Link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).” If a link from such a site loses it’s ability to transfer PageRank, it can make sense that it doesn’t harm a site’s PageRank either. But that is not a foregone conclusion. The information comes from the Sitemaps team, and not Matt Cutts’ anti-spam force.

In the above entry by Matt, he recommends the use of the “nofollow” link attribute to safely purchase links purely for traffic purposes. This infers links from bad neighborhoods indeed can harm a site’s rankings in Google. Perhaps Matt implies this to deter link buying, but the advice is good insofar as links from bad neighborhoods also raises the profile of sites that eventually would come under scrutiny by Google. It can also be assumed that text links from bad neighborhoods can harm a site’s rankings in other major search engines than Google.

Kozoru To Launch Chat-Based Search Technology, Byoms

Internet search is in many ways fairly standard now, and although existing search engines bring out new features, or new engines appear, it isn’t often that you see anything that’s really different. However kozoru is launching a chat based search resource called byoms or ‘build your own mobile search’, with a public beta going live on June 5th. This is something of a departure from traditional search, by allowing users to run their own searches using a chat client.

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Google Anti-Phishing Will Be Part Of Firefox 2.0

While Microsoft makes the dominant Internet Explorer 7 which will be bundled with Vista, Google has strong ties to the upstart Firefox browser, employing key developers and supporting Firefox with a search affiliate deal worth 10’s of millions of dollars. Both browsers will have state of the art anti-phishing capability, protecting users from online scams that steal identities among other crimes.

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Language Specific SEO Paper

A very well written elaborate (PDF) whitepaper by Huiping Iler explains in great detail what’s involved, and most of the difficulties, with search engine rankings outside English. Consider that users are faced with filters and radio buttons and other obstacles during the search process, and you can picture what must be done to establish visibility with your target audience.

Consider the facts pointed out by Iler, such as 60% of searches are performed in languages other than English, English has approximately 500,000 words, compared with French having approximately 300,000 and all forms of Chinese have approximately 50,000. One can surmise the increasing difficulty of optimization with the decrease in available words.

Although the optimization tips are pretty straight forward, special attention is given to detail such as language specific character encoding sets, and examples of what it looks like for users when they’re incorrect. Other good advice includes hosting and top-level domain issues for search engines to get your site properly categorized and served in the region of interest.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

In Search of Search?
eWeek May 31 2006 4:26AM GMT
Net ads ‘to overtake newspapers’
Guardian Unlimited May 31 2006 12:10AM GMT
Life in Google’s Copyright Cross Hairs
PC Magazine May 30 2006 9:02PM GMT
US poultry experts using Google to beat bird flu
InfoWorld May 30 2006 8:49PM GMT
Searching for the Google of cell phones
Business 2.0 prem May 30 2006 6:06PM GMT
Kayak.com Becomes First Travel Search Engine to Launch Air Fare ‘Flexible Search’ Functionality
Investors Business Daily sub May 30 2006 3:46PM GMT
Checking out Google Checkout
CNET News.com May 30 2006 3:08PM GMT
Could AP have been Google News?
CyberJournalist.net May 30 2006 2:43PM GMT
Google’s video replay
CNET News.com May 30 2006 11:34AM GMT
New style of Google SERP?
ZDNet May 30 2006 10:50AM GMT
Omniture debuts search ad management tool
Netimperative May 30 2006 9:42AM GMT
1% of Google searches lead to eBay
ZDNet May 30 2006 7:54AM GMT
Start-up retrofits search for IM
CNET News.com May 30 2006 5:40AM GMT
Google Takes a Page From Napster’s Book
Washington Post reg May 30 2006 4:21AM GMT
China to Fine Online Distributors of Music, Films, Pressuring Search Sites
Bloomberg May 29 2006 12:56PM GMT

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