Facebook Graph Search Not a Google Killer

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, Latest News, SEO News, test

Recently, Facebook unveiled Graph Search, its new search engine. The early beta application does not work in the same way that Google works – but Foursquare and Yelp might have cause for concern.

Full disclaimer first: I was not one of the lucky ones who actually got to try Graph Search. When I finally got the Graph Search page to work, after multiple attempts, the button I got at the bottom of the page was for joining the waiting list. Instead, I sifted through a lot of commentary and reviews that demonstrated how the search worked and speculated on its future. I concluded that, in principle at least, Graph Search is neither better nor worse overall than Google; it’s simply different.

So how does it work? Facebook Graph Search taps into the various “likes” and other data that users have entered into the social network, and then returns answers based on what it knows about you and your friends, and what information has been made public. So if you typed in “friends who live in San Francisco,” for instance, you’d get a list of all of your Facebook friends who live in that city. That’s great if you’re planning a visit to the area.

Where the search shines, however, is with all of the modifiers you can attach to it. This reminds me ever so slightly of the search engine Blekko, which uses hash tags to modify its searches. Facebook Graph Search seems to use natural language, however, and seems to be trying to reach a different market.

So how would Graph Search work in a real life situation? I live in the Orlando area, but later this month I’m going to see the musical “Wicked,” which is playing in Tampa. I don’t get out to Tampa very often, but I do have a number of friends on Facebook who live there. I could use Graph Search to look for the restaurants in Tampa that my Tampa friends liked, so I can get a nice dinner before the show. Similarly, in a video posted on TechCrunch, Josh Constine demonstrated that one could use Graph Search to find dentists liked by your friends. That’s genuinely valuable information – much better than you can get from Google.

You can also use Graph Search to look for photos, posted by your friends or publicly available. You don’t have to limit yourself to recent photos, either. Remember that awesome Grand Canyon trip one of your beer buddies took five years ago that he keeps talking about? Search for photos taken at the Grand Canyon before 2008 and you just might find his pictures. Or perhaps you’d like to see pictures that are even older? Believe it or not, you can find those, too. The article I linked to recommends somewhat whimsical searches such as “photos of me taken before 1990” or “photos of my parents between 1970 and 1979” (if you’re wondering what they looked like when they were “cool”).

You can also search based on interests. So if you want to form a local bicycle club, say, you can search for people in your area who like bicycling. Or if you’re a big Star Wars fan, you can search for friends who share that interest. You can even combine interests, to search for friends who enjoy both Star Wars and costuming (to invade your next science fiction convention in group costumes, perhaps?).

And of course, you can search for places. This is why I said that Foursquare should be worried. You can search for places your friends have been. You can search for photos of places, as I’ve noted above. You can even just search for places by city.

But what if your filtered Facebook Graph Search doesn’t yield any results? The social network has negotiated a deal with Bing . Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he would love to work with Google, but the search giant wasn’t quite flexible enough to protect Facebook’s members’ privacy. To do that, according to Zuckerberg, you need the infrastructure in place to quickly take down photos and such when users change their privacy settings. Apparently Bing offered that, and Google didn’t. (If any of this sounds more than a little fishy or laughable to you, well, you’re not alone).

Just how well will Graph Search work? Steve Cheney points out one of the social network’s stumbling blocks: dirty “Likes.” How many times have you wanted to compete in a contest or get a free sample from a company, but you could only do it if you “liked” the firm’s Facebook page? I’m pretty conservative about that myself, and I know I’ve done it a number of times. But those aren’t real “likes,” if you know what I mean. What kind of answers will Graph Search return when it’s full of dirty data like this? Not very good ones, I’m sure…which is one reason I said that it’s not a Google killer.

On the other hand, advertisers will no doubt appreciate Graph Search, once Facebook figures out how to monetize it. Right now, though, I’d look at it as one search method among many for finding the kind of information you need. Cheney said it best: “Offline we consult different places, people, and resources, and you will do the same with social networks and web services online.”

The post Facebook Graph Search Not a Google Killer appeared first on SEO Chat.

SEO Ultimate WordPress Plugin Surpasses 1 Million Downloads

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, Latest News, SEO News, test

Today our team rejoiced as SEO Ultimate (the Swiss-army-knife of SEO Plugins) surpassed the 1 Million download benchmark from WordPress.org.

SEO Ultimate Reaches 1,000,000 Downloads

As critical milestones go, this represents a crucial turning point for our firm as we move away from the SEO service model into an SEO software business model allowing us to provide access and training to our most coveted WordPress tactics and tools.

The latest addition to the SDS family (scheduled to unveil later this year in mid February) is our SEO Design Framework for WordPress dubbed WP Ultimate.

If SEO Ultimate is the Swiss army knife of SEO, then WP Ultimate is the Adobe Photoshop of WordPress Framework’s boasting a dynamic range of unparalleled design flexibility(able to accomplish stunning visual design feats via multiple mediums) depending on the strategy or tact required.

The plugin (SEO Ultimate) was originally designed as part of an advanced SEO toolset for our own sites and our clients’ websites – and over the years we’ve steadily enhanced its scope to replace the functionality of dozens of other SEO plugins from autolinking, optimizing slugs, removing the category base, integrating social sharing, micro formats, rich-snippets, link masking, mass meta editing capabilities, theming / content siloing and more.

We genuinely hope you’ve enjoyed using SEO Ultimate as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing it and look forward to adding new and exciting features for you to dominate search engines with push-button ease.

If you haven’t already, feel free to watch the comprehensive SEO Ultimate Video tutorial to learn more about each feature in detail.

If are one of the 60% of active users who currently have the two most recent versions of the plugin installed, make sure to either leave a comment, testimonial or log in to WordPress and vote to share your appreciation.

Have a comment? Let us know or pass this along to others so they can enjoy the pure on page power of SEO Ultimate.

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Another Cutts Video on Negative SEO: Deciphering the Subtext

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, Latest News, SEO News, Social Media News, test

Heads up, my interweb amigos! Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, has just released another Webmaster Help video on YouTube. This time, the topic de jour is negative SEO and ways in which webmasters can fight back against the practice.

You may remember the subject rearing its ugly head a few months back. What am I talking about? Many of you likely remember it vividly given the sheer volume of threatening e-mails sent to webmasters before the “disavow links” tool made its belated appearance.

For those of you who dodged that bullet, let me bring you up to speed. Blackhat SEOs would target a site doing well in the SERPs and point links from “bad neighborhoods” to it. Then, the blackhat would contact the webmaster and demand a ransom payment in exchange for removing the offending links.

Sketchy, right? But wait, it gets worse.

In another case, competing webmasters would do a little “Google bowling” by knocking out sites ahead of their own in the SERPs. How? Simple – they’d point dirty links to the site until it dropped into Google oblivion.

And it worked. Really well.

Regardless of the method of attack, negative SEO had definitely become a monster of a problem. Webmasters the Internet over bemoaned the practice, and those who enjoyed even a small amount of search engine success lived in fear that a blackhatter would come along and rip away all their hard work overnight.

Never fear, says Cutts, Google’s got a tool for that.

Negative SEO: A Thing of the Past?

In his video, Cutts first notes that Google designs every one of its new algorithms defensively – that is, they have many different safeguards in place to protect webmasters from bad guys who want to manipulate the changes to hurt them. G constantly tests, he says, for holes or security flaws in the algos that spammers could potentially use to hurt others. Google’s system is not perfect, of course, which is why each and every algorithm has a wave of changes and updates that follow its initial rollout.

Google’s maturing as a company, and it’s becoming much better at what it does. Matt gives the example of the great blog network takedown earlier this year – he says G is becoming more sophisticated at determining link quality and deciding how to rank sites accordingly.

For those times when Google fails to get it right, however, Cutts says to look to the “disavow links” tool to save your site. If you discover that some creep launched a negative SEO attack against your website, don’t fret. Simply log into your Google Webmaster Tools account and use the handy little tool to disavow any links that you deem untrustworthy or don’t recognize. Once you do this, Google will no longer count those links toward your site’s ranking. Translation: you’re officially free from the negative SEO attack.

There is one thing that the spammers will be able to steal from you, however, and that’s your time. If an attack is massive enough, you could potentially lose days cleaning up the mess in your Webmaster Tools account. No sweat, says Cutts – for cases such as these, you can request that Google ignore entire domains. That way, you won’t need to waste even more time disavowing each link individually after an attack.

A Warning to Negative SEOs

Spammers aren’t the only ones who turn to the dark side of search. A few grayhat SEOs have been known to dabble in negative SEO from time to time to manipulate the SERPs. Before the tool, it was a case of low-hanging fruit looking a little too easy to pick. Now, though, Cutts says those considering the dark path need not bother.

For those of you tempted to continue with the practice – don’t. It’s now a waste of time – time that would be better spent building up your own website and succeeding in the SERPs aboveboard. Remember, rankings fluctuate 24/7, and the websites in the top 10 for a term today may not be the same bunch tomorrow. That’s why directing a negative SEO attack at a website is counterproductive. Imagine you do pull it off, only to discover a whole new set of websites you need to attack a week later, after a new algo rolls out.

Instead, focus on creating great content, adding to your site, becoming known as an authority in your niche and networking with your peers. These are the only lasting ways to generate truly organic traffic. Then, once your site is popular, you will begin ranking without even realizing its happening. Search engine traffic will be nothing but gravy on top of a full meal of referral traffic. That’s when you’ll know you’ll never have to worry about negative SEO again.

Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the ‘net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Another Cutts Video on Negative SEO: Deciphering the Subtext

Is Mobile the Glue that Cements Brick and Mortar to the Internet?

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Latest News, SEO News, test

A friend of mine who is a genius at learning languages once told me that when it comes to learning a language, “point integrators” are the best, meaning those who just grab words and phrases and start using them, much like a child would, versus the less effective “line integrators,” those who can start using new words and phrases until they understand the underlying structure of grammar and syntax – how it all fits together. In the world of learning languages, the point integrators are the geniuses and the line integrators are “challenged.”

I’m not sure which one I am, but I know in the fast-evolving world we live in, it’s necessary to sometimes do things before you fully understand how everything fits together or you risk missing the bus. Certainly the rapid evolution of mobile technologies has been a bit like that. For some, it’s obvious that there are advantages and benefits to be had, so we start grabbing what we can and using it for whatever benefit is available. But are we seeing the big picture? Do we see how mobile relates to the other aspects of the business, not just as a “new thing” but as a game changer that can and should alter the way we look at the whole picture?

Increasingly, it seems to me, mobile technologies are playing the role of bridging the gap between an enterprise’s Internet presence and its physical brick and mortar presence.

Major retailers like Wal-Mart, who just won a major award as the ‘Mobile Retailer of the Year’, are beginning to “get it.” When a Wal-Mart customer walks through the door of the store, the store knows he or she is there, in-store, by monitoring the arrival of the customers’ cellphone via its GPS. Think about what that means – in walks Tracy. The store instantly knows. It checks her account history and sees what she has previously purchased and immediately filters for specials and/or promotions that fit her buyer profile. By the time she has her cart or basket in hand, she’s received a text with a list of “check this out” specials, including which aisle to visit to find these specials. Is Wal-Mart all the way to where it wants to be with this technology? Not quite, but they’re getting there and they may well be just where they want to be very shortly because they are indeed the trendsetters and the innovators.

Although Wal-Mart will most certainly take its fair share of licks, stumbles, bumps and bruises while figuring out the best procedures for implementing mobile technology to enhance customer experience, its efforts should continue to keep the company in the top spot in the retail marketplace.

Now let’s consider what mobile can do for many other merchants. Instead of just a text message only, digital signage can be used separately or in conjunction with SMS to broadcast tailored ads to individual shoppers. Shoppers’ names could even be used as they approach the digital signage video monitor, which has a sensor in it (although that might start getting creepy, at least at first when people aren’t used to it).

We will soon see in-store interactive monitors delivering promotional messaging and even answering questions, giving directions and more. The business’ website or portions of it will be displayed on an in-store monitor while simultaneously delivering digital signage messaging and enabling online-onsite purchasing via insertion (or swipe) of a credit/debit card on the spot via the mag-stripe or smart-chip card reader that is mounted on the touch-screen monitor.

Geo-fencing can also be used to draw customers into the store. Using the Wal-Mart example again, the store could become aware of the customer’s physical presence anywhere within, say, a mile’s radius of the store, and can automatically text her news about tailored specials, in effect using that customized message to lure her into the store, even if she had not planned, on that particular day or time, to be there.

Another example – scan and go, where customers can simply scan an item with their Smartphone and bag it on the spot, reducing the checkout process to a single step of making the payment, rather than having to scan-in each item. Any item in the cart or bag that has not been scanned will trigger an alarm on the way out, so no worries on that score. Meanwhile checkout times are decreased dramatically, the number of checkout personnel required is reduced, and the customer experience is enhanced.

We can expect this service sector and the technology, commonly known as MPOS, ‘mobile point-of-sale’ to mature and morph into adding a valuable set of benefits to our daily lives. Convenience is the biggest benefit. This technology saves us valuable time by providing an easy, even a unique buying experience that enables us to quickly get on our way.

How far will this go? And how quickly?

And are these sci-fi level innovations available only to the major retailers? Or can SMB’s avail of them as well? And at what price?

These are items for discussion in upcoming articles. For now, the point is this: the dots between Internet, mobile, and brick and mortar are beginning to connect. Ain’t that grand?

Rick Berry is the president/CEO of ABC Mobile Pay, a Valencia, CA based provider of mobile POS payment technology and solutions.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Is Mobile the Glue that Cements Brick and Mortar to the Internet?