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Online Reputation Management Part Seven: Dealing With Negative Consumer Generated Content
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Throughout our series on online reputation management we have discussed the importance of monitoring/analyzing your brand in the search engine results, participating in forums and social communities and we have looked at tools that can be valuable in monitoring your online reputation. A new area of concern for those interested in brand awareness is in the form of user generated content or consumer generated content.

With the recent popularity of blogs and social networking sites, consumer generated content is becoming increasingly more common in search engine results. Take the numerous anti-Wal-Mart blogs out there. Blogs such as Wakeup Walmart, have been around for a few years and are a common visiting place for those who are anti Wal-Mart. This is one of many blogs started by consumers who have no doubt had a negative experience with the large discount box-store. Whether it's Wal-Mart or your own brand, consumer generated content is beginning to become a top trusted resource for consumers looking for information about various organizations big and small. Perform a search in Google for "anti blogs" and see what shows up in the results. There will no doubt be blogs, consumer review sites and other web properties that can damage your brand and reputation. So just how do you deal with all of this consumer generated content? What can you do to monitor all of the feedback that consumers are saying about your product, your service or your brand?

Dealing with consumer generated content is a full time job. Really if you are a large corporation, you should have a mechanism (or person) in place to monitor consumer generated content that pops up all over the Web. The thing is, is that you will never be able to keep up with everything that is being said about you and your brand all of the time. You cannot please all of the people all of the time. However a successful business should always listen to the needs of their customers and work towards providing exceptional customer service. A positive customer experience (whether online or offline) may entice positive consumer generated content that can promote your brand and organization. The problem arises when the consumer generated content is not so favorable.

In the past, I worked as a customer service rep. in a large retail chain. Providing exceptional customer service proved to be difficult with this retailer as the company was too concerned about the bottom line and as a result did not always factor the needs of their customers first. Quite often they would not have sufficient staff to serve their clients and customers. A common complaint was that there was never any staff on hand to ask questions of or to provide assistance with a product. It was not uncommon for the store manager to receive letters from dissatisfied customers. Consider this as a form of offline consumer generated content if you will. The chain rarely did anything to accomodate these customers as they had this attitude that for every dissatisfied consumer that they had, they would get a couple of new consumers to offset the unhappy one. It was never written as such, but that was the mentality of the management team. Very rarely were the complaints followed up with and dealt with in a professional manner. The end result was not a couple but many dissatisfied customers, and lower staff morale as the customer service department became a place where verbal abuse from the customer was not uncommon. The retail outlet you ask? Rona Hardware / Home & Garden. I would suspect that if you polled the staff at various Rona's about customer service and morale, the scores would be low. Poll the average customer and the score would probably be even lower.

While the case of Rona represents a real life example, in the online space, consumer generated content can be an easy means for an unhappy customer to post about a negative experience with your brand. So what can you do to control this consumer generated content? Well the fact is you simply can't. As mentioned you cannot please all of the people all of the time, but here are a few hints that you can use to deal with consumer generated content.
  1. Examine the Consumer Generated Landscape - Identify the top sources including blogs, review sites, industry forums etc. that your users and consumers tend to frequent then frequent them as well. Know what is being said about your brand. Know where people go to praise you and more importantly know which sites users go to "knock" your brand.
  2. Encourage Consumer Generated Content on Your Web Properties - provide your consumers with a feedback mechanism on your existing web properties to voice their opinion. Include both the good and the bad (providing that the bad isn't so bad that it will influence others' perception about your brand.) If users are going to talk about your brand, the first place they should do it is on your turf not somewhere else such as on a competitor's site.
  3. Avoid Major Scandal and Poor Service - don't add fuel to the fire by giving your consumers something negative to right about. The best way to deal with negative consumer generated content may be to not contribute to it.
  4. Provide Exceptional Service & Value - the fact of the matter is that if your organization is innovative and ethical and you provide the best possible service, you shouldn't have to worry about your online reputation. Listen to your consumers and satisfy their needs in conjunction with marketing your brand and you will experience success and life-long value.
Consumer generated content is not going away. In fact it is becoming more commonplace. Dealing with negative consumer generated content means knowing where this content resides, working to avoid poor customer service and providing a feedback mechanism on your web properties to allow you some control over the user genrated content about your brand. Being in control of what is being said about your brand can be a helpful step as part of your online reputation management strategy.

SEO-Space Online Reputation Management Series
  • Online Reputation Management: What You Need to Know
  • Online Reputation Management in 2007 - Part One
  • Online Reputation Management Resources - Online Reputation Management in 2007 Part Two
  • Participation - Online Reputation Management in 2007 Part Three
  • Online Reputation Management in 2007 Part Four: Monitoring Your Existing Online Presence
  • Factors Affecting Your Online Reputation
  • Online Reputation Management in 2007 Part Five: Analyzing your Online Presence within the Search Engine Results
  • Online Reputation Management in 2007 Part Six: Controlling Your Online Visibility with Optimization

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 30, 2007   0 comments
Google Chief Financial Officer to Announce Retirement
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Google Inc. announced that George Reyes has informed the company of his intention to retire as Chief Financial Officer. According to the official press release, Reyes indicated that he will remain to assist in the search for a new CFO and to assure an orderly transition, which Google expects will occur by the end of the year.

George Reyes was named Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Google in January 2006.

Recent financial activity for George Reyes.

The Chief Financial Officer is the top financial position in any organization. Duties include:
  • Oversees all company accounting practices, including accounting departments
  • Preparing budgets
  • Preparing financial reports
  • Performing tax and audit functions
  • Supervising investment and raising of funds for business
  • Directing financial strategy, planning and forecasts
  • Keeping on top of financial trends

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, August 29, 2007   0 comments
Top Search Happenings August 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Last month Google again topped our charts with the news that they are facing more scrutiny with their acquisition proposal of ad firm DoubleClick. August was a busy month with the major engines all making news at SES San Jose. With that here is a look at the top seven search happenings for the month of August 2007.



#7. YouTubers Threaten to Revolt - YouTubers threaten to revolt over new ad placements.

#6. comScore Releases qSearch 2.0 Search Measurement - comScore announced the launched qSearch 2.0, the next generation of search measurement. According to comScore, qSearch 2.o interface will provide clients with an in-depth view of the search universe in the U.S. and worldwide

#5. Microsoft Completes Buyout of aQuantive - Microsoft (MSFT) announced that they have completed their acquisition of the digital marketing / ad firm that they had been pursuing for a number of weeks. Microsoft closed out a $6 billion buyout of aQuantive (AQNT).

#4. Yahoo Tops Google in Satisfaction Survey - According to a University of Michigan customer satisfaction survey, Yahoo has a 79% consumer satisfaction rate over Google's 78% consumer satisfaction.

#3. Enquiro Research Releases Whitepaper on Personalized Search - Enquiro research has released their latest whitepaper on search. This time they tackle personalization of search with a look at the search engine results page in 2010.

#2. Yahoo Update Local Search Offering - Yahoo! made some big news with the announcement of that they have updated their local search service offering. Judging by the buzz around local search at SES San Jose this is a step in the right direction for the number two engine in the search space.

#1. SES San Jose 2007 - Search Engine Strategies 2007 San Jose featured the best of the industry discussing the latest tactics and strategies for succeeding in search. Search Engine Rountable has the most extensive coverage of the sessions.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, August 26, 2007   0 comments
SES San Jose 2007: Week in Review
Friday, August 24, 2007
Well SES San Jose wrapped up yesterday with the exception of some workshops that are taking place today. I had the chance to take in a number of sessions some being more useful than others. While some of the sessions provided new insights others were really well to put it mildly... others were lame.

As with many of the search conferences in the past, there was a lot of discussion about tactics and a little about strategy. The highlight of the week was actually being able to chat with Google Engineers (including Matt Cutts) and pose questions to them. While they cannot provide all of the details they were able to provide some interesting insight into topics as site architecture, duplicate content and ranking issues.

During the week I had the opportunity to meet a number of great people including industry folk, competitors, potential prospects and even some existing clients. Networking during the week was a true highlight as I got to meet a number of people in various industries. This year was cool as Enquiro had a booth featured in the Exhibit Hall. We were demonstrating our eye tracking research. I had the pleasure of meeting people from FOX Interactive, Wal-Mart, Toyota, Yahoo, Google and even some people who had made the trip from China and abroad. That's the beauty of these conferences as people come from all over the world to learn. Whether it's tactics or strategy, everyone is looking to learn something. From that perspective Search Engine Strategies San Jose is a great experience.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, August 24, 2007   0 comments
SES San Jose 2007 Session of the Day: User Generated Content & Search
Thursday, August 23, 2007
User generated content is becoming a popular source of content that many sites use. This session featured Andrew Goodman from Page Zero Media, Matt McGee from Marchex and Lee Odden from Top Rank Online Marketing.

The session started with Lee Odden who discussed six reasons for User Generated Content along with some tips.
  • this is where people are spending their time
  • users expect to be able to contribute content
  • consumers trust user generated content
  • can offer a lower cost per conversion
  • can increase sales
  • leverage community for creation of SEO content
User generated content can be a great source for SEO content. There were some interesting tips mentioned including having logical structure and cross linking with bread crumb navigation. Give them the tools to link between pages. Fundamental SEO practices can help with user generated content through templates and profile setup. People who engage in UGC are loyal and can become evangelists for your company. Reward people who contribute (through status recognition etc.) UGC needs to be managed but it does provide low cost high performance advertising opportunities.

Matt discussed that only 28% of retailers provide user reviews on their site, yet 92% of the customers use consumer reviews. Recent companies who have began offering UGC options include Best Buy and Wal-Mart. A good reason for incorporating user reviews is that users will often use the buzz words or natural terms that people using when looking for your product. This can help with the optimization of your site. User reviews can help educate other potential customers to help instill confidence in their purchase decision. Shoppers want the good and the bad, so negatives reviews can also provide some trust with other potentital consumers. No product or service is perfect for everyone. You should track the IPs of reviewers in case they begin truly "bashing" your brand. Also include an option similar to what Amazon does with "Was this review helpful?" Be sure to have a policy in place for implementing reviews, make the reviews accessible, make sure the engines can crawl the reviews, promote the use of consumer reviews. Options for reviews include sites like, Bazaarvoice and Power Reviews.

Andrew went through a case study on user generated content and discussed some examples of who is utilizing user generated content. User generated content is really the stuff that poeple are looking for, so it makes sense to do it from a search and SEO perspective. There can be a definite public relations benefit.

The session was well attended proving this is a hot topic for web site owners.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 23, 2007   0 comments
SES San Jose 2007: Session of the Day: Keynote with ASK's Jim Lanzone
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
SES San Jose 2007: Session of the Day: Keynote with ASK's Jim Lanzone

Day two of Search Engine Strategies San Jose was quite busy. It started with the keynote featuring ASK's CEO, Jim Lanzone and finished with the famed Google Dance. It was tough to pick the session of the day as for us being fans of ASK the keynote was of great interest to us. However the last session of the day proved to be one of the best as there was a lot of discussion as to if paid links are evil.

This was a heated session featuring Matt Cutts of Google and some known "black-hats". The full panel consisted of Michael Gray, Todd Friesen, Todd Malicoat, Greg Boser and newcomer Andy Baio founder of Upcoming.org. While you can get more in-depth reviews of the session elsewhere just know that the session was in front of standing room only... you could not get another person in the room if your tried. Matt Cutts took the podium first followed by Michael Gray and the others. It was evident that the session was going to be a forum to "attack" Google and the other engines as comments from the speakers were directed at Matt and Google. Google was called hypocritical and was referred to as "not being the US government" (so they should control what is right and wrong etc etc. The session became fairly harsh at times and judging by Matt's facial expressions he was clearly taken aback by some of the commments from the other presentors.

I had the chance to speak with Matt at the Google Dance and mentioned that he did a great job in the session as he was being "roasted" by the other panelists. Matt still feeling the effect repilied, "yes it sure was quite a roast wasn't it?" He went on to say that they (Google and the other search engines) are just trying to keep everything relevent. You could tell he was slightly aggrevated as he mentioned that at a recent session he was "singled out again" this time by Tim Mayer from Yahoo. Matt's response was that he thought the engines (and in this case he and Tim) were friends. Matt was somewhat perplexed for Tim "selling him out" so-to-speak. Personally I thought Matt did a great job in a tough situation, with a tough panel in front of a tough audience. I told him that he did a great job at the session and he was appreciative of that.

Having said that, our favorite session of the day for day two (that we attended) was probably the keynote with ASK's Jim Lanzone.

Here are some highlights from the keynote:

- ASK's only motivation is to provide the best search experience and satisfy the needs of the user
- did you know that ASK is Google's largest global partner since 2002.
- Chris Sherman asked how ASK survived the dotcom fallout.... Lanzone replied that they narrowed the focus, bought the Teoma technology and from there it was all about product development.
- Question: Re: ASK Eraser and Privacy Issues, Chris asked the question of where the control should lie? Jim Lanzone downplayed the announcement and stated that ASK is launching ASK Eraser so that users feel comfortable using their service. Jim also mentioned that for personalization you will have to opt in with ASK's My Stuff service. They don't turn any on that on automatically.
- Jim touched on the fact that 50% of the new ASK SERP does not consist of the Web Results
- there was mention that image search queries have gone down because people are finding what they are looking for.
- Question: How sophisticated are big brands with search? Answer: It hasn't been real great. Jim mentioned the trend that big brands are buying a lot of SEM firms and are bringing it in-house because SEM is very different than anything they have dealt with (in terms of marketing) in the past. Jim felt that large ad agencies have a lot to learn about search, they're going to need expertise.
- Question: Where do you see the Internet in 3,5, 10 years? Answer: It's about conversions and audio, video, blogs etc. Search will become even more of a demand tool a personal navigation device.

The keynote was great for those not on top of what is happening at ASK. There was no earth shattering news to come out, but it was great to hear from Jim Lanzone. SEO Roundtable has a great review of this session as well as all of the other sessions at SES San Jose 2007.
posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 21, 2007   0 comments
comScore Releases qSearch 2.0 Search Measurement
While at SES yesterday, I attended a session featuring James Lamberti of comScore who announced that comScore was launching qSearch 2.0, the next generation of search measurement. According to comScore, qSearch 2.o interface will provide clients with an in-depth view of the search universe in the U.S. and worldwide that encompasses:

· Core Search Engines – the five major U.S. search engines (i.e. Google Sites, Yahoo! Sites, Microsoft Sites, Ask Network and Time Warner Network).

· Top 50 properties worldwide where search activity is observed, which includes sites such as MySpace, Baidu, and Naver.

· Major “vertical” search locations - such as eBay and Amazon in retail and Expedia in travel.

· Partner Search – searches initiated at partner sites that redirect the visitor to a search engine site.

· Cross-Channel Search – counts multiple searches when employing more than one search tab (e.g. Web, images, news) for a single search term.

· Local Search – maps, directions, and local directory listings.

· Worldwide Search – includes comprehensive reporting of worldwide search, with individual country reporting for the U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., France, Germany, Japan, China, and Korea. Additional countries will follow.
In addition to the announcement, comScore also released the latest search engine market share numbers.


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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 21, 2007   0 comments
SES SJ 2007 Session of the Day: Personalization, User Data & Search
Monday, August 20, 2007
Well day one of Search Engine Strategies has completed and rather than give my opinion of all of the sessions that I have attended, I thought that I would present a review of my favorite session of the day.

I attended three sessions on day one, the best of the three that I attended was by far Personalization, User Data & Search. Enquiro's own Gord Hotchkiss kicked of the session with his thoughts on personalization including what the SERP might look like in 2010. Gord mentioned the Circle of Importance where a handful of sites or specific content will emerge for each "theme". Optimization will come across content buckets. Gord mentioned our latest whitepaper on personalization that is now available.

It was interesting to note the number of other panelists that were taking notes during Gord's presentation. This included Sep Kamvar from Google and Tim Mayer from Yahoo! who was also fevershly taking notes.

The second speaker was another Canadian, Richard Zwicky of Enquisite discussed what was beyond personalization hinting at regionalization of results and reagionalization differences and the fact that SEO campaigns will need to be even more focused.

Up next was yet another Canadian, Dave Davies from Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning who touched on some personalization related patents that Google had submitted. Dave also discussed topics that included User Behavior, Personal Page Rank, Group Data and Influencing the Engines. He mentioned potential solutions for SEO when dealing with personalization. These solutions included:
  • Design your site to be sticky (design for time spent on site and page views)
  • Localize
  • Link out to help associate yourself with other industry authorities
  • Attract high PR visitors
The fourth speaker up was Johnathan Mendez, founder of Otto Digital who had a very entertaining presentation. Johnathan discussed how personlaization is easy and that many have been optimizing for personalization for years. He described some methods for improving RPV (Revenue per Visitor). Overall a very entertaining presentation.

The final two speakers were from the Search Engines. First up was Sep Kamvar from Google. Sep is a very laid back and personable person who mentioned two key factors as they relate to personalization:
  1. Design and optimize your site for the user
  2. The importance of building useful gadgets that will keep people coming back to view your content within the gadgets.
Sep also made an interesting comment that "personalization works best with one or two word queries."

Finishing out the panel was Tim Mayer from Yahoo. In terms of personalization, Tim mentioned four things to remember:
  1. Become the known expert on a topic. Tim mentioned that this can be accomplished through community participation.
  2. Have unique content.
  3. Have fresh, breaking content and promote this content through tools such as DIGG or del.icious.
  4. Promote your content through various communities such as DIGG, iGoogle etc.
All in all it was a great session. Some of the items discussed went over the heads of many in the audience as I looked around and noticed that there were a lot of confused faces. This tells me that personalization is still very new to many who are not directly involved in the search engine industry.

Tomorrow will be another exciting day with more great sessions and of course the Google Dance taking place over at the Googleplex.


For more in-depth coverage of the sessions at SES SJ check out posts from the team at Search Engine Roundtable.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, August 20, 2007   0 comments
SEO-Space Lands in San Jose
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Well we made it. SEO-Space arrived in San Jose on the eve of Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2007. I travelled with Manoj Jasra from Web Analytics World and Enquiro's VP Bill Barnes. We faced a couple of long lineups and were a little late in arriving but it's great to be in San Jose on a beautiful evening.

Manoj and I bumped into a few folks from SEOmoz while we were waiting to claim our luggage. I only know they were from SEOmoz as I overheard their conversation as they were on the phone with "Rand".

We checked into out hotel and went up to the Executive Lounge for some appies prior to dinner. We are awaiting the arrival of Gord Hotchkiss as his flight was delayed an hour. The rest of the Enquiro team arrives tomorrow. Can't wait for the show to start, it's going to be a good one.

Stay tuned for more news from San Jose.
posted by Jody @ Sunday, August 19, 2007   0 comments
Canadian User Experience Blog Resource
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I came across a great little blog on user experience for Canadians. The User Experience Connection blog is brought to your courtesy of Microsoft. The blog is about one key concept, and one alone: the user experience community in Canada. Resident bloggers include: Paul Laberge
Partner Advisor, Microsoft Canada and Qixing Zheng UX Advisor, Microsoft Canada.

The blog covers some interesting topics dealing with the user experience including the recent topic of designing software from a user's perspective and how pervasive the discipline of user experience design is becoming in building software solutions.

It's a great little blog dedicated to the Canadian experience.

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posted by Jody @ Saturday, August 18, 2007   0 comments
Simpsonmania Runs Wild!!
Friday, August 17, 2007
What is the world coming to? The Simpsons are taking over, the Simpsons are taking over! You've no doubt heard about http://simpsonizeme.com where you can upload an image of yourself and Simpsonize yourself? In conjunction with the recent movie release of the Simpsons, ComScore is reporting that:
Burger King experienced a 774-percent increase to 4.2 million visitors. The tremendous jump in traffic was attributed to tie-ins with the recently-released The Simpsons Movie.

That is pretty impressive increase. Simpsonmania is running wild.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, August 17, 2007   0 comments
Yahoo's Presence at SES San Jose 2007
Being that SES San Jose is literally in the backyard of search giants Google and Yahoo!, we expect them to have a definite presence at the search engine strategies conference. Both will be well represented through the various sessions. Here's a look where you can find members of the Yahoo! team.

As reported on the Yahoo! Search blog:

Monday, August 20

11:00 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m.
Universal & Blended Vertical Search: Tim Mayer, VP of Product Management

2:00 -- 3:30 p.m.
Personalization, User Data & Search: Tim Mayer, VP of Product Management

Tuesday, August 21

1:30 -- 2:45 p.m.
Images & Search Engines: Cris Pierry, Director of Web Search and Multi-media Search

4:45 -- 6:00 p.m.
Meet The Video Search Engines: Cris Pierry, Director of Web Search and Multi-media Search

Wednesday, August 22

1:30 -- 2:45 p.m.
Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues: Priyank Garg, Director of Product Management

3:15 -- 4:30 p.m.
CSS, AJAX, Web 2.0 & Search Engines: Amit Kumar, Sr. Engineering Manager

4:45 -- 6:00 p.m.
Search Engine Q&A on Links: Sean Suchter, Director of Yahoo! Search Technology

Thursday, August 23

10:45 am -- 12:00 p.m.
Meet The Crawlers: Sean Suchter, Director of Yahoo! Search Technology

It looks like Yahoo will be busy participating in over 15 panels at SES San Jose.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, August 17, 2007   0 comments
Top 10 Things You Can Expect to Hear at SES San Jose
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Next week search engine marketers will descend on San Jose to attend Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2007. We thought that we would put together a fun little list of things that you can expect to hear at SES San Jose.

Top 10 Things You Can Expect to Hear at SES San Jose

#10. "How come Google doesn't rank my site higher?"
#9. "Do you know where I can find Matt Cutts?"
#8. "Excuse me, but aren't you..."
#7. "One sec, I just have to blog about that last session"
#6. "What do you think will happen to SES with this being Danny Sullivan's last SES show?"
#5. "Did you check out that cool eye tracking equipment from Enquiro?"
#4. "Who's the guy in the funny suit?"
#3. "I'll link to your site if you link to mine."
#2. "So let me get this straight, I have to pay each time someone clicks on my link?"
#1. "Which way to the Google Dance?"

See you in San Jose.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 16, 2007   1 comments
Look for Enquiro Eye Tracking at SES San Jose 2007
Just a quick reminder that Enquiro will have a booth at SES San Jose featuring our eye tracking research. Stop by the booth and test out some of our eye tracking equipment. We look forward to seeing you (no pun intended).

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 16, 2007   0 comments
Yahoo Updates Local Search Offering
The other day we listed the top 40 Yahoo blogs. Amongst the list entering at position #16 was the Yahoo Local and Maps blog. On Tuesday, Yahoo! (YHOO) launched an updated version of their Local Search product that will now feature more user-generated content, including reviews. The new and improved Yahoo Local provides search mechanisms for leisure activities, such as movies and events in city-specific weekend guides.

According to Yahoo!, the new Yahoo! Local is:
where opinions of the people in the community take center stage. Now it's easier than ever to share your local business experiences with your neighbors and discover hidden gems in your city.

Here are some of the great features of Yahoo! Local:

  • Local City Guide - where you can review the most popular search for your city, check out the current events such as music, performing arts etc taking place, review maps and find out the buzz about yout city.
  • Weekend Guide - plan your weekend and put all of your options in one convenient place so you can maximize your time off.
  • Featured AD Listings on Yahoo! Local - Get ahead of the competition with a featured listing on Yahoo! Local. Attract more attention with bigger, better placement, photos, and more.
  • Browse by Category
  • Recent Reviews Near You - you can write a review of a local business and "help out your neighbours"
  • Neighborhood Groups - need a recommendations? Using neighborhood groups you can as a neighbor in a local group near you.
  • Neighborhood Collections - Discover interesting places to go by browsing lists of local favorites.
  • Area Maps - view your whole city in a new way with the satellite view of maps. Also see what traffic looks like and find Wi-Fi hotspots with the area maps section.
  • City Resources - near the bottom of my Yahoo local home page there are three sections featuring local resources, Advertiser Resources and Kelowna Resources. Within the Kelowna resources I can see items for sale, jobs, movies, news, people search, personals, Kelowna real estate etc.
I really like the improvements to the Yahoo Local. The addition of the social community aspect just makes sense doesn't it? Great stuff from Yahoo! Here's what the Yahoo Local page looks like for Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.


Here's a look at the Weekend Planner for Kelowna:

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 16, 2007   0 comments
Top 40 Yahoo Blogs
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Previously we had compiled a list of the Top 50 Google Blogs. To show that we are all about equal opportunity here at SEO-Space, we have compiled a list of our favorite Yahoo! and Yahoo-related blogs. There are a number of unofficial Yahoo! blogs, but we tried to limit this list to actual Yahoo! blogs or blogs from current Yahoo! employees. We reviewed over 80 Yahoo-related blogs and we have compiled our list of the Top 40 Yahoo Blogs.

Top 40 Yahoo-Related Blogs

#40. Michael J. Radwin's blog - Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.
#39. The inked-stained banana – very humorous and creative blog from JR Conlin of
Yahoo.
#38. William Reardon’s Blog - Screams in the Night – a blog about this and that.
There is some funny stuff here.
#37. Yahoo! News Sandbox Blog - New features that are being considering for Yahoo!
News.
#36. Ravi’s Blog - Opinions on Business Technology & Life from Ravi Dronamraju.

#35. Yahoo! Sports Blog – Yahoo! on Sports. The one thing that users may not like about this sit is that Yahoo! states: “We collect personal information on this site.”
#34. Yahoo
! Shopping Blog - The Yahoo! Shopping Blog is where you'll find new and unique products, stores, savings, deals, and more.
#33. Upcoming.org News – an interesting blog on upcoming events featuring news, events, place, friends and more.
#32. Yahoo! Finance Message Boards - Anything and everything about the Yahoo! Finance Message Boards.
#31. Yahoo! General Press Release Blog – listing of all Yahoo! Press Releases. Not sure if this can be
classified as a blog, but we are going to list it here anyway as it is a great resource.
#30. Yahoo! User Interface Blog – blog
about Yahoo! Design Pattern Library on common interface design issues for traditional and rich Internet applications and on the Yahoo! User Interface Library a collection of industrial-grade JavaScript utilities and widgets that enable you to efficiently get the most out of today’s powerful browsers.
#29. Overstated - personal weblog of Cameron Marlow, research
scientist at Yahoo. This is what a blog should be. Very informative and entertaining.
#28. Yahoo! Messenger Blog – The official blog for Yahoo! Messenger featuring helpful articles, news, tips, and tricks from the world of Yahoo! Messenger.
#27. Jumpcut Blog - A free online location where you can use
all your media, create great looking movies and publish to anyone you choose.
#26. Yahoo! Financial Press Releases – for the investor, a list of
all Yahoo! Financial-related press releases.
#25. Yahoo Flash Blog – Yahoo’s newest blog about flash components. The
Flash Platform team is developing the technical strategy and policy for Adobe technologies as it applies to Yahoo!.
#24. Yahoo! Store Blog - a forum for communicating tips and tricks for using the tools
and services available to merchants. Includes best practices in terms of improving usability, increasing conversion rates, and becoming a successful online business.
#23. Yahoo! Mail Updates - The latest scoop on Yahoo! Mail product updates, new releases, bug fixes, service enhancements...whatever.
#22. del.icio.us Blog - Blog about Yahoo's
del.icio.us social bookmarking website. Learn about del.icio.us and how you can store your bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer.
#21. Yahoo! 360° Product Blog – informative blog on everything about Yahoo! 360º. Yahoo! 360º is a personal communication portal service offered by Yahoo which integrates features of social networking, blogging, and photo sharing sites.
#20. MyBlogLog Blog – the source for all things
MyBlogLog. MyBlogLog Blog is a very informative blog with regular updates.
#19. FlickrBlog - Cool blog about Yahoo's online photo management and sharing application flickr.
#18. Yahoo! Developer Network Blog – popular blog for web developers featuring information on various platforms, Mashups, and APIs. The Yahoo! Developer Network offers Web Services and APIs that make it easy for developers to build applications and mashups that integrate data sources in new ways, making the web a more useful and fun place for everyone.
#17. Yahoo! Answers Blog – Featuring information about news on
Yahoo! Answers, fixes, and interesting Q&A, straight from the Yahoo! Answers Team.
#16. Yahoo! Local & Maps Blog – the latest from the Yahoo! Local and
Maps teams. Find tips and information about using Yahoo! Local and Yahoo! Maps.
#15. The Spark Blog – rants and ravings about anything and everything.
#14. Yahoo! Music Blog – a personal fave, this is a great blog about Yahoo’s music service that they provide. The blog features a lot of cool posts about everything from Yahoo! Music Jukebox to Yahoo! Music Unlimited. Yahoo! Music Blog is blogged by the staff of Yahoo Music and covers a wide range of music and music technology topics.
#13. Yahoo! Video Blog – a blog about everything about Yahoo! Video. Tips, tricks and other Yahoo! news.
#12. Yahoo! Pipes Blog – tips, tricks and information about Yahoo! Pipes.
#11. Yahoo! Publisher Network Blog - Yahoo! Publisher Network’s resource for publishers, by publishers. Here, you’ll find not only what you might expect from a product-focused industry blog—the latest on issues, new releases, hacks and tips—but also in-depth how-to’s, publisher interviews, industry trends, links to articles and other news and information you can use.

#10. Yahoo! Digital Home – blog about the latest developments for Yahoo! Digital Home, the industry and more!
#9. My Yahoo! Beta Blog – cool tips about your personal Yahoo homepage. Lots of great tips here.
#8. Yahoo! Cool Thing of the Day – the only “unofficial” Yahoo blog to make our list.
#7. Yahoo! Buzz Log – entertaining Yahoo! blog about the hottest topics around that are generating a “buzz”. A buzz score is determined by the percentage of Yahoo! users searching for that subject on a given day, multiplied by a constant to make the number easier to read.
#6. Yahoo! Research Berkeley Blog - Yahoo! Research Berkeley's mission is to explore and invent social media and mobile media technology and applications that will enable people to create, describe, share, find and remix media on the web.
#5. Yahoo! Widgets Blog – very cool blog about Yahoo! widgets and other related widget stuff.
#4. Yahoo! Search Marketing Blog – all about the ever-changing world of online marketing, and offers a community forum for sharing news, tips and strategies. It provides readers with timely information about the New Sponsored Search, inside tips from our own experts, and much more, to help you take advantage of everything that Yahoo! has to offer and be more successful with your online marketing efforts.
#3. Jeremy Zawodny's blog - The journal of an employee of Yahoo, which includes news of the search engine and the company
#2. Yahoo! Search Blog - A look inside the world of search from the people at Yahoo! Another personal favorite. The official Yahoo! blog if you will.
#1. Yahoo Anecdotal - Blog from Yahoo co-founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo as they share their insights into their company, their people, culture, and the things that occupy their minds. The blog covers emerging trends, provide some behind-the-scenes commentary, profile interesting Yahoos, spotlight Yahoo's users, reveal some of Yahoo's quirks, taps into guest bloggers, along with some videos, podcasts and photo essays. According to Yahoo! “it's a look inside the big purple house of Yahoo!, where we’ll provide insights into our company, our people, our culture, and the things we think about in the shower. Learn more.”

There you have it, the Top 40 Yahoo Related blogs. Don't agree with our selections? Drop us a line and let us know. Maybe we will factor them in for next year's list.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, August 15, 2007   0 comments
Top 11 ASK.com Commercials
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
There's been a viral thing going on about the recent ASK.com television commercials. Many have suggested that ASK has been wasting money on these TV spots... we happen to think that the ads are pretty creative and entertaining. While there may be some bias there as we happen to like the ASK.com search engine, we thought that it would be fun to have a look at ASK's top commercials.

ASK.com's Top 11 Commercials

#11. "Librarians and ASK.com"



#10. "Bear Attack"



#9. "I Got What I Was Looking For" - Male Version



#8. "I Got What I Was Looking For" - Female Version



#7. "San Francisco Search"



#6. "Bigfoot Love"



#5. "If You don't ASK, you don't get"



#4. "Animals in Pants"



#3. "Daddy Do you have a Lame Algorithm?"



#2. "Pimped Out Search Engine"



#1. "The Algorithm"



All clips courtesy of YouTube and esnips.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 14, 2007   0 comments
Cool ASK.com Commercial for the US
Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land commented on ASK's new simple U.S. commercial. Being the fan of ASK.com I had to check it out and share it. You'll love the ending. Be sure to have your audio turned on.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 14, 2007   0 comments
According to Satisfaction Survey, Yahoo Tops Google, but Lookout for ASK.com
According to a University of Michigan customer satisfaction survey, Yahoo has a 79% consumer satisfaction rate over Google's 78% consumer satisfaction. This marks the first time that Yahoo has topped Google in the satisfaction survey. In fact this marks the first time since 2002 that Google slipped below the 80% rating. Last year consumers gave Google a rating of 81 points out of 100. The real mover and shaker of the day however was SEO-Space favorite ASK.com.

According to the survey, ASK.com recorded the largest increase over the past year and over the past five years. ASK received a 75% rating from in the satisfaction survey. This is no doubt due to their continued efforts of improving their SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). We think that ASK is miles ahead of the other search engines when in comes to a search results page. It is only a matter of time before the other major search engines follow in ASK's path.

The satisfaction survey is an attempt to gauge users' views as to how innovative the site is. According to Larry Freed president of ForeSee Results:
Because Google's core search page has retained roughly the same simple, streamlined appearance it has had for years, consumers don't notice the Mountain View, Calif., company's new features...
While, of the top five search engines, ASK has been by far the most innovative, the results of this survey could be an indication that Google's Universal Search results are being ignored by the general public. Users are looking for a more interactive experience. The days of blue text links on a boring white results page are numbered. The simplicity of the Google SERP used to be the beauty of it, but now users are seeking more. Some analysts say that this drop by Google may be a blow to the ego of the search giant as they traditionally pride themselves on being extremely innovative.

For more a more detailed account of the survey results, visit:
  • Yahoo tops Google in satisfaction survey - LA Times
  • Ask.com Sets Record Rise in American Customer Satisfaction Index, Achieves Largest Increase in E-Business Category
  • ASK.com on the Upswing - NY Times

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 14, 2007   0 comments
Online Reputation Management in 2007 Part Six: Controlling Your Online Visibility with Optimization
Monday, August 13, 2007
Continuing our series on online reputation management, this week we discuss how you can control your online destiny/visibility with fundamental optimization efforts. We have previously discussed the following areas with regards to developing an effective online reputation management strategy:
  • Controlling Your Online Destiny with Participation
  • Monitoring Your Existing Online Presence
  • Analyzing your Online Presence Specifically within the Search Engine Results
This installment delves into how you can "control" your online visibility with simple optimization.

Let us assume that you have performed a search in the major search engines for your top branded phrases. Initially you may just want to focus on Google, Yahoo, MSN/Windows Live, AOL and ASK. In addition begin with evaluating only the top 10 organic listings. (Ideally you will want to focus on at least the top 30 listings within each engine.) If you have located any "questionable" listings, you will then need to optimize your website(s) in an attempt to push the "questionable" listings down in the search results. (ie. If you are experiencing a negative listing on the first page of results, you will want to focus efforts on pushing this listing to page two and eventually page three and so on out of the top organic results.) Why only the top 30 you ask? Well studies have shown that the average search user will not scroll past the third page of results. In fact the majority of users may not scroll past the second page of results. The search engine results page default settings are set to show 10 organic results. The average user does not change their settings for their search engines results page.

Once you have reviewed the search engine results listings and have identified a negative or questionable listing, you should focus on optimizing your site's presence to improve your site's visibility over that of the negative listing. Here's how to optimize your brand to help control your online reputation and project a positive image.

Here's an example, let's say that I was Micheal Vick and was concerned about my online reputation. I conduct a search in Google for "Michael Vick". On the first page of listings I notice that five out of the ten results are "negative" results. Now imagine if this was your organization's brand. This could have a strong impact on people's perception about your product, your business and your brand. While having five negative listings is above the norm, there is really only one way to "remove" these listings and communicate a positive image of your brand... optimization of your brand.

10 Ways to Optimize Your Brand & Increase Positive Online Visibility

Consider these methods of improving your organic visibility for each branded phrase that you have identified that has a negative listing in the search engine results listings.
  1. Optimize your Existing Results - if you have existing listings in the top 30 that are below any negative listings, optimize these listing by improving keyword density on these pages for your branded term in question.

  2. Create new Content on your Site - create new content that could consist of a simple page or two about the branded phrase in question. Ensure that the new page that you create contains an optimized title (place the branded phrase at the beginning of the title) and description (again placing the branded phrase near the beginning of the description.)

  3. Improve External Link Inventory to your Web Pages - whether its the new page that you just created or an existing page, improving the link inventory will help improve authority to that page. As the search engines re-index your site, your page will be treated as more authoritative by the search engines and as a result should improve in the organic rankings.

  4. Create a MySpace Page for your Brand - the search engines tend to rank popular social network pages fairly high in the organic listings. Creating a MySpace page for your brand can help force any negative listings down lower in the search results pages.

  5. Consider Creating a LinkedIn page for your Brand - Preferably for noticeable employees who may be in the public eye. Of course if there is any controversy surrounding these employees you may not want to create a LinkedIn profile for them.

  6. Create Sub-Domains for Your Products/Services - sub-domains are in essence separate sites that can promote your brand. If you have the content available to create sub-domains, they can be a great tool for removing any negative listings that may be affecting your reputation. Perform a search for "google" in Google and you will see that each of the top 10 listings are for sub-domains of their various product and service offerings.

  7. Consider Creating a Wikipedia Page for your Brand - if one doesn't currently exist, try submitting an entry to Wikipedia. At this time you may notice a number of Wikipedia listings near the top results in Google. This can be an easy way to control the valuable online real estate that my be currently occupied by negative listings.

  8. Create A Video Clip for YouTube - This can be effective in removing negative listings in Google as Google's promotion of Universal Search results continues to become more prominent. Creating a video clip that promotes your brand in a positive manner is another great way to optimize your brand for the organic search results.

  9. Create a Presence in other Social Communities - consider setting up in other social communities such as MyBlogLog, Friendster, Ryze etc.

  10. Blog, Blog, Blog - set up a corporate blog or even multiple blogs that can be used to promote your brand. Of course you will want to implement a company wide blogging policy as you do not want everyone to blog about you (in case of disgruntled employees etc.)
If you are faced with negative organic search results listings, the easiest way to deal with it is through well optimized content. Developing content that promotes your brand as a positive entity will help reduce and can even eliminate negative listings from showing up in the search engine results. Controlling your online visibility with fundamental optimization efforts should be a part on your online reputation management strategy. While you cannot always control what is said about your brand, you can have some control as to what the search engines display about your brand.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, August 13, 2007   2 comments
Microsoft Completes Buyout of aQuantive
Well Microsoft has finally beaten Google to something. Earlier today. Microsoft (MSFT) has completed their acquisition of the digital marketing / ad firm that they had been pursuing for a number of weeks. Microsoft closed out a $6 billion buyout of aQuantive (AQNT). The move will provide Microsoft with the tools for selling search and display ads across its own sites through aQuantive's ad-serving technologies in conjunction with other technologies (such as ScreenTonic, a mobile advertising company) that have recently been acquired by Microsoft.

All this while federal investigators look further into Google's bid to acquire ad firm DoubleClick. Microsoft has gotten an early jump in trying to close the gap in the online advertising business, but it will taken some time before they can compete with Google in terms of search traffic and advertising revenue. Nonetheless this is a good move by Microsoft. Let's see how they leverage this acquisition over upcoming months. Hopefully they will incorporate this acquisition into their family of products better then some of their recent attempts with their search product offerings.

Related Resources:

Associated Press: Microsoft Closes $6B buyout of aQuantive
Reuters: Microsoft Completes Purchase of aQuantive

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posted by Jody @ Monday, August 13, 2007   0 comments
SEO-Space and Enquiro at Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Just a reminder that members of SEO-Space and Enquiro will be in attendance at Search Engine Strategies San Jose. As the show gets closer, we invite everyone to visit the Enquiro booth to learn about some of the cool eye tracking research that we have been working on. We are even bringing some of our eye tracking equipment down so it should be pretty fun.

Of course we will also be attending a number of the great sessions at SES San Jose. Some of the sessions that we may be attending include:

Monday, August 20 - Day 1
  • The Search Landscape
  • Universal & Blended Vertical Search - featuring a great panel of speakers including Greg Jarboe, Bill Slawski and Tim Mayer.
  • Personalization, User Data & Search - this is all about some of our favorite topics and will feature Enquiro's own Gord Hotchkiss as a presenter. This will be standing room only.
  • Searcher Behavior Research Update - you do not want to miss this one.
Tuesday, August 21 - Day 2
  • Podcast & Audio Search Optimization
  • Successful Site Architecture
Wednesday, August 22 - Day 3
  • Keynote with Marissa Mayer - Marissa is one of our favorite Google people and we expect her to have a lot of great things to say.
  • SEO Through Blogs & Feeds
  • In House: Big SEO
  • CSS, AJAX, Web 2.0 & Search Engines
  • In House: In, Out Or In Between?
  • B2B Tactics
Thursday, August 23 - Day 4
  • SMO: Social Media Optimization
  • User Generated Content & Search
  • Usability & SEO: Two Wins For The Price Of One
There is a lot to cover during the week, but we hope to have time to converse with some of our friends in the industry as well as some of our readers. If you happen to track us down, be sure to say hello. We hope to see you at Search Engines Strategies in San Jose in just over a week. SEO-Space will be featuring daily updates from the conference.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, August 10, 2007   0 comments
SEO Blogging Tips from Matt Cutts
Usually when Google engineer Matt Cutts posts something it is treated like gold. He could post about what he ate for lunch last week and people would hang off every word. I'm not usually one of these people. That doesn't mean that I'm not a fan of Matt Cutts. I am, in fact I think that he is one of the good guys of SEO. I just don't hang off of every word that he says. However, when I read a post from him that contained a Whitehat - SEO Tips for Bloggers presentation I felt a need to pass some of the information on.

Some of the stuff is pretty basic, but there was mention of some items that people tend to forget. Take the whole use of dashes vs. underscores in the URL thing. According to Matt (and thus Google at this time) when creating keywords in URL paths:
  • Dashes are best
  • Next best is underscores
  • Having no spaces is the worst
Other helpful hints for Blogging SEO mentioned by Matt:
  • Placing 3-4 relevant words is alt tags is "handy"
  • Make your post creation dates easy to find
  • View your blog on a cell phone
  • If you are moving to a new domain use a permanent 301 redirect
  • Standardize your backlinks (www vs. non-www)
  • Keep your links update, contact the important sites and ask them to update their links (I would like to add that this will have direct impact on your Inbound Linking score)
  • Set up Google Webmaster Tools for your blog (this is a great tool)
  • Set up Google Analytics for your blog (hey it's free and it works well)
  • Get your blog known - creativity creates buzz and helps with the viral push (remember the million dollar homepage?) You can also get known through the use of "link bait" such as tutorials, lists, insightful analysis, controversial posts etc.
  • Change default permalink (domain.com/?p=111), instead use /%postname%/
  • Refer to http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com from time to time for additional tips
I digress, Matt's post on Blogging SEO tips is very informative and may even be a review for some. Here is the complete presentation. We'll see you at SES San Jose Matt.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, August 10, 2007   0 comments
How Important Is the Yahoo Directory?
Thursday, August 09, 2007
There has been speculation lately over the direction of the Yahoo Directory. What exaactly is the Yahoo! Directory you ask? The Yahoo! Directory is a human-created and maintained library of web sites organized into categories and subcategories. Previously we posted about the potential end of the Yahoo Directory, yet this is not likely to happen soon as Yahoo reaps a large amount of revenue from the annual directory submissions. So if the Yahoo Directory is not going away, just how important is the Yahoo Directory in 2007?

Fact: The Yahoo Directory is still one of the oldest and most important directories on the Web.
Fact: There is an annual fee associated per listing per category in the Yahoo Directory.
Fact: A link from the Yahoo Directory is simply just another link from another site.

While these are all important facts, how do you determine if being listed in the Yahoo Directory is important for your site and for your business? From an SEO point of view, being listed in the Yahoo Directory is not the thing that is going to push your site over the edge in terms of search engine rankings. In fact, submitting to the Yahoo Directory may not even be necessary. Check your referral stats? Does Yahoo drive a lot of referrals to your site? The question becomes is there any value in being listed in the Yahoo Directory? Let's look at some of the advantages.

Advantages of Being Listed in the Yahoo Directory
  • It may be beneficial to submit to the directory if Yahoo Slurp is having a difficult time crawling your site.

  • If you are launching s new site, being listed in the Yahoo Directory can be used to develop new site presence.

  • While they will probably deny it, being listed in the Yahoo Directory may have an impact on your organic listings in Yahoo. Even if it is a small impact, being listed in the Yahoo Directory may indirectly affect your organic listings in Yahoo!

  • Having a listing in the Yahoo Directory is a quality inbound link to your site. Depending on the category or page that you get listed in this could be a very effective addition to your external link inventory.
There is value in having a well optimized Yahoo Directory listing. For your "SEO-buck", $299 US per year is not that bad, but keep in mind that it is $299 US that you could be spending elsewhere. Whether a Yahoo Directory listing is of benefit depends on your site and on your site users. Does the average person who is looking for your product or service use the Yahoo Directory to find their information? If the answer is no, then you might not want to shell out the money to be listed in the directory.

Being listed in the Yahoo Directory is not important as it once was. There is however, still some benefit to being listed in the directory. The value of being listed in the Yahoo Directory may in fact be in the eye of the beholder as the value will differ with each and every site.

Considering submitting to the Yahoo Directory? Follow these steps.

How to Submit to the Yahoo Directory

As taken from Yahoo:
In order to add your web site to the Yahoo! Directory, you must first suggest it to Yahoo!'s team of editors, who visit and evaluate every site added to the Directory. To suggest your site for evaluation by an editor, please follow the process outlined below.

Step 1: Check to see if your site is already in the Yahoo! Directory.

Step 2: Find the appropriate category in the Yahoo! Directory.
We ask that you suggest your site from the most relevant Directory category page.

Non-English Sites:
Please refer to the list of Non-English Yahoo! Directories.)

Step 3: Suggest your site from the link on the Directory category page most relevant to your site.

The Yahoo! Directory is made up of categories. To do a Yahoo! search to find the best category for your site:

  • From the front page, search on a term relevant to your site.
  • From the web search results page, select the Directory tab under the search box. This will confine your search to sites listed in the Yahoo! Directory.
  • Under the search bar you will see a list of "RELATED DIRECTORY CATEGORIES" and relevant sites from the Directory will be listed under "TOP 20 DIRECTORY RESULTS". You can review the list of Directory categories related to your search term and you can see various categories listed under the description of each site listed in Directory Results.
  • When you click on a category, you will go to that page in the Directory. You will see a "Suggest a Site" link located to the right of the search box on the Directory page.

Note: If you try to click on "Suggest a Site" from a broad or top-level category, such as Education, Regional, or Entertainment, instead of browsing down to a more specific sub-category, you'll be told that your suggestion is too broad. So make sure you search for and find the most specific category that describes the subject matter of your site.

Additional Yahoo Directory Resources
Yahoo Directory Basics
More Thoughts on the Yahoo Directory
Yahoo Directory Submit
Yahoo Directory Home

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 09, 2007   10 comments
Online Reputation Management in 2007 Part Five: Analyzing your Online Presence within the Search Engine Results
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
In part four of our series on Online Reputation Management in 2007, we discussed monitoring your existing online presence. We mentioned that consumers use search simply to find information. When they perform a query in hope of finding information on your organization or brand, you want to make sure that your website and online properties are listed high in the search results. In order to manage your online reputation, you need to know what is being said about your brand online.

As part of your total online reputation management strategy, in addition to the monitoring of your brand, another key component is to Analyze Your Online Presence within the Search Engine Results. The search engines update their index on a regular basis. As a result just because you rank in the top spot for a phrase doesn't mean that a negative story about your organization cannot rank in the number two spot or number five or number nine... With the increase in consumer generated content out there, it is not uncommon for a blogpost or negative article about your company to surface in the first page of organic search results. A company scandal or an ongoing law suit can provide fuel for the fire and can appear in the prime real estate of Google or other search engines. You need to get a grasp and develop a keen understanding of your search engine environment and that of your key competitors.

In order to analyze your online presence, you need to be aware of the top online destinations that your consumer may be attending. While it may be impossible to find every negative article or every negative blog post about your company or your brand, you can focus on the top online destinations where users may come into contact with a potentially damaging story.

Steps to Analyze Your Online Presence within the Search Engine Results
  1. Focus only on the Top 30 Search Results - Research has shown that the average user will not click on organic search results past the third page (if they even make it to the third page of search results.) Analyze and evaluate the top 30 listings in the major search engines for branded phrases, top product phrases, top executive names and the like. Start with Google but remember to evaluate Yahoo, MSN/Windows Live, AOL and ASK. Examine the environment and what sites (or videos, images and other items through Universal Search) are currently being found in the prime search engine results real estate.

  2. Take Note of any Questionable Listings - Are there any potentially damaging listings that are showing up in the SERPs? If so take a closer look at these listings and consider monitoring them through Google or Yahoo alerts.

  3. Evaluate Industry Forums - visit industry forums and other environments that elicit consumer response and feedback. It is not impossible for a negative forum post to suddenly appear near the top of the search results.

  4. Examine Top Social Networking Communities - perform a search for your top brand related phrases in social communities such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and the like. Social networks can be a popular place for people to communicate their disdain for products or poor service experience. These pages can also show up where you least expect it... the search engine results pages.

  5. Examine Search Results for your Competition - use your search engine of choice and type in a couple of branded phrases for your main competitors. Do any of the listings communicate anything negative about your company? If so take the appropriate action to have that listing removed. (We'll discuss this in more detail in our next installment.)
It's not enough to simply monitor your existing online presence. As part of your online reputation management strategy you need to regularly analyze the search engines results to see if there are any listings that may damage your online reputation. It's an on-going practice that can be an effective form of being proactive in the management of your online reputation. Protect your reputation at all costs. It is true that bad news/negative publicity travels at a rate of ten times faster than good news. The least you can do is to try and restrict the amount of "bad" publicity that is being communicated about your organization via the Internet.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, August 08, 2007   0 comments
Barry Bonds Hits Homerun #756 8:52 pm PST
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Barry Bonds has just hit homerun # 756 surpassing Hank Aaron. Well done Barry. Controversy or not, it is an amazing feat. They just showed the guy who caught the ball. What a moment.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 07, 2007   0 comments
NFL: Example of Advertising Gone Too Far or Brilliant Idea?
I was reading a recent post from Jackie Huba over on her Church of the Customer Blog. She had an interesting post about the NFL and how they generate $7 billion dollars per year. Seems to me that the NFL does is right when it comes to marketing. I mean everyone is aware of the cost associated with a 30 or 60 second spot during the SuperBowl (CBS was looking to charge a record $2.6 million for a 30-second spot), but just how does the NFL continue to increase revenues year in an year out? Especially when you consider that a number of the league's players are often shrouded in some manner of controversy (think steroids, weapon charges, illegal dog fighting rings, spousal disputes, bar room brawls, DUIs etc.) You would think that the NFL's reveunes would be suffering. (You would also think that they would be in the market for some positive PR and reputation management control.)

So getting back to Jackie's post, I ask the question, is the following an example of advertising gone too far or is this another great idea by the NFL's marketing team. According to the post:
The league is placing advertising space on the backs of photojournalists who cover the game. This season, photographers for local and national media will be required to sport red vests emblazoned with logos of Reebok and Canon.
Are you for real? Now we can't even enjoy a sporting event without advertising on the camera crew and photographers? Wow, walking/human billboards. There has been some uproar over this as the Chicago Tribune reports.

How effective does the NFL think this will be? Having a photographer wear a vest with Coca-Cola's logo on the back is not going to necessarily motivate me to go grab a coke. Are they going for the subliminal effect in hopes that the brands will register with audience? Last time I checked I don't even pay attention to the photographers or camera crew. I truly would like to see how effective this will be for the NFL. Being the avid sports fan that I am, I might just get to experience this first hand as I attend my first NFL game in a couple of weeks during a pre-season game in Oakland vs. St. Louis.

The NFL is all about marketing. Case in point, the league even went so far and initially refused to allow two head coaches to wear a suit and tie for games because of its tie-ins with Reebok, which supplies the coaches' apparel. So is this an example of advertising gone too far or is this a brilliant move by the NFL? Well judging by the fact that the league generates $7 billion per year in revenue, I'm not so sure. My initial reaction was "you really must be kidding.." and I am still inclined to feel this way. As Jackie Huba puts it,
The photojournalists are not employees of the NFL. Why should they be made to follow the NFL's field-level marketing machine?
This really is a case of advertising gone too far. If you feel the same way, feel free to let your voice be heard here.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 07, 2007   1 comments
MSN Windows Live Search: Indexing Guidelines
Are you having problems getting indexed in Microsoft's main search engine, Windows Live? The easiest way to get indexed is to ensure that your important site content is well linked from your other site pages. According to MSN, one of the best ways to ensure that their spider, MSNBot, finds your website is to include valuable content that other site owners want to link to.

Here's a look at what you need to do to get your site indexed in MSN/Windows Live.
  • Use only well-formed HTML code in your pages. Make sure that all tags are closed, and that all links open the correct web page. Avoid broken links!

  • If you move a page, set up the page's original URL to direct people to the new page. The best way to do this is with a permanent 301 redirect.

  • Make sure that your haven't restricted MSNBot from crawling your site. (Check your robots.txt file)

  • Keep your URLs simple and static. According to Microsoft' s indexing guidelines, URLs that are complicated or that change frequently are difficult to use as link destinations.

  • Content is king with Live Search - The best way to attract people to your site, and keep them coming back, is to design your pages with valuable content that your target audience is interested in.

  • When creating content for your site, try to keep it to one topic per page. Focus the keyword density of this page towards this one topic.

  • Make sure that each page is accessible by at least one static text link.

  • Don't put the text that you want indexed inside images. (Why do site owners continue to do this?)

  • Make use of a site map. A site map helps MSNBot to find all of your pages.

  • Site Architecture is important - each page should only be from one to three clicks away from the home page.
Generally, if you follow the above guidelines, you don't need to submit your URL to MSN/Windows Live for MSNBot to find your site. However there is an actual submission process that you can complete.

An interesting side note is that in the Live Search Help section Microsoft states:

Outdated pages are automatically deleted when we update our index. However, if other sites that link to your site don't update their links to your site, we might find those outdated links when MSNBot crawls those sites. To resolve this problem, remember the following when you change links:

  1. Determine the websites that link to your website.
  2. Notify the website owners about your changes.

To determine who links to your site, use the following syntax in the Live Search box:

link:

For example, to search for websites that link to www.microsoft.com, type link:www.microsoft.com in the Live Search box, and then press ENTER.

This function has not worked for months as we are anticipating that Microsoft may possibly be getting ready to release a product similar to Google Webmaster Tools where users can have access to a wide variety of tools that provide indexed page data, linking information and other diagnostic stats.

Regardless following the above guidelines is the easiest way to get your site and page content indexed in Windows Live. For more on indexing issues, visit Microsoft Windows Live Help.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, August 07, 2007   0 comments
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