Natural Search Blog

Superpages Launches New Redesign

I noticed that my old company, Idearc Media, just launched a major new redesign today for their primary web property,

Superpages new redesign

Read on for a few of my comments about it.


Superpages to Factor CTR into Ad Rankings

I noticed that Greg Sterling just reported over at Search Engine Land that Idearc Media’s Superpages is going to begin factoring in ad click-through-rates into the measures used for ranking ads on the vast networks of sites where Superpages content appears. I was aware of this plan prior to my departure from Superpages, and I think it’s one of the cooler things my old teammates are developing.

Naturally, this follows other major ad networks who do similar things. Google, for instance, has begun using quality scores to decide ad rankings and the pricing of the ads.


Subdomains for Local Directory Sites?

Earlier this week, my column on “Domaining & Subdomaining in the Local Space – Part 1” went live at Search Engine Land. In it, I examine how a number of local business directory sites are using subdomains with the apparent desire to get extra keyword ranking value from them. Typically, they will pass the names of cities in the third-level-domain names (aka “subdomains”). Some sites doing that include:

In that installment, I conclude that the subdomaining for the sake of keyword ranking has no real benefit.

This assertion really can be extended out to all other types of sites as well, since the ranking criteria that the search engines use is not limited to only local info sites. Keywords in subdomains really have no major benefit.

SEO firms used to suggest that people deploy their content out onto “microsites” for all their keywords – a different domain name to target each one. This just isn’t a good strategy, really. Focus on improving the quality of content for each keyword, founded on its own page, and work on your link-building efforts (quality link-building, not unqualified bad-quality links). Tons of keyword domains or subdomains is no quick solution for ranking well.


AMA Hot Topic Series: Search Marketing in San Fran

The San Francicso leg of the American Marketing Association’s Hot Topic Series on Search Marketing this past Friday was really great! The crowd was intimate, which allowed all of us speakers to mingle and have some quality discussions with folx, and the seminar/conference/workshop was excellently organized.

Read on for more details about the AMA Hot Topic Series day’s sessions.


Images & Search Session at SES NYC, 2007

As promised, here’s the copy of my preso from the Images & Search panel discussion at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York, April 2007.

Also, here’s the Image Sharing Sites Comparison Chart that I created while researching out the potential for improving sites’ traffic through integration with social sharing services.

I see that one blogger, Morpheus Media, posted a good bulleted summary of the Images & Search session.

My new company, Netconcepts, does SEO consulting and web development. As I mentioned, the area which I was hired to work upon is some software service that Netconcepts provides which I describe as a near turnkey SEO solution for dynamically generated websites. One area where I do research is in using image sharing sites like Flickr to improve rankings for sites such as online product catalogs which have lots of photographs. Contact me if you’re interested in these services, or if you have any questions about optimizing for image search or through photo sharing services.

I joined the Dark Side, or This In-House SEO went to the Out-House!

So, as many of you noticed in my online profiles or heard about at the recent SES Conference, shortly ago I resigned from my post as Head of the Technology & Advanced Development Department for Idearc’s (Idearc was spun off from Verizon in November of 2006).

Yes, I’ve moved over to the “Dark Side” and become an external agency Search Engine Optimization consultant! 😉

Read on for more juicy details!


SES Keynote with Steve Berkowitz had Surprise Appearance by Ms. Dewey

At the SES Conference in New York this week, Danny Sullivan’s keynote conversation with Windows Live Chief Steve Berkowitz featured a surprise appearance by Ms. Dewey – the beautiful avatar of the Windows Live promotional search interface.

Danny Sullivan, Steve Berkowitz & Ms. Dewey at SES NYC 2007

Ms. Dewey flounced onto stage in the middle of the interview, throwing out a number of cute bon mots and clever retorts to things that Danny and Berkowitz said.

As soon as I heard her voice and she went on stage, I started clapping, along with one or two others in the audience. I’m guessing that not everyone has actually been aware of who Ms. Dewey is, since most search marketers obsess more about Google and Yahoo!, in that order. So, it was sort of tragic that the audience didn’t really know who she was, or what was up when she invaded the stage.

When she heard my clapping along with the other few folx who recognized her, Ms. Dewey turned towards me and gave me a really enthusiastic “thank you!” Having the pretty geek poster-girl give me such a heart-felt thank-you really woke me up, I can tell you. The Ms. Dewey character is played by the gorgeous actress, Janina Gavankar.

I previously blogged about the Ms. Dewey Live Search interface as a cool, interactive avatar for the search service, and pointing out a bunch of the funnier responses that she has pre-programmed for various keyword searches — check them out for an idea of what she’s all about. This link-bait promotion was wonderfully built in order to promote Microsoft’s Live Search service, and to persuade users to submit searches through it.

When I saw Ms. Dewey come out, I grabbed the opportunity to snap a few pics, including the one above. Click on it to view some more in the same series.

Although she wasn’t widely known when she came on stage, I think the audience caught on that it was some sort of promotional stunt within just a few minutes, so by the time she exited, the audience was fairly captivated by her, and everyone applauded.

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New Research Could Improve Google Image Search

New research recently published out of University of California – San Diego could allow Google’s Image Search to easily begin using elements from “true image search” — that is, the ability for software to detect and identify elements appearing within the image itself rather than just relying upon external text metadata to associate keywords with the images. Read on for more details.


Coming Soon to NYC: The Googleheim Museum

[Source: SEO-AP] Due to budget cuts of the NEA and gross mismanagement by the Guggenheim Foundation board of directors, one of America’s top museums has been in danger of closing down in bankruptcy and selling off priceless artworks in order to repay debtors. However, Google [NYSE: GOOG] company has apparently made a unique sponsorship offer to the Solomon R. Guggenheim, and the deal is apparently set to initiate on June 1.

Secret image of Googleheim - Google internal documents
Source: Google internal documents outed earlier today on Natural Search Blog.

Information related to the deal was discovered by this reporter while browsing through 3D images of buildings created with Google Sketchup (while researching an article on Sketchup’s University Contest). Apparently, Google personnel had generated a new façade of the building in the application in order to use the images in a proposal to bail out the museum. Due to a temporary glitch, links to the confidential building diagrams showing a new exterior could be found for a short while in the application’s online data warehouse. These images showed a new logo reading “Googleheim�, apparently a cross between the well-known Google brand name and the Guggenheim name.

The proposed exterior showed the newly Google-ized logo broadly splashed across the museum, replacing the much smaller signature letters of the current museum name. Other information regarding the deal was leaked by a few unnamed sources within the company, and the deal was subsequently confirmed to by Google spokesperson, Erin Fors.


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