Natural Search Blog


Texas Stadium Demolition Case Study – YouTube Still Tops For Video Promotion

Texas Stadium Implosion - Time LapseWhenever I know I’ll be near some major spectacle, I try to photograph it or video it. Not only are such events great practice for a search marketer, the content is great for getting links from individuals and from newspapers. So, when I heard about the scheduled Texas Stadium Demolition, I couldn’t resist, even though it was painfully early in the morning (7:00 a.m.).

I’ve written here before on how Flickr introduced videos in order to compete with the popular YouTube. Flickr’s owned by Yahoo, while Google owns YouTube.

Both services have a huge usership, however, (more…)

Google Image Search – Second Only To Web Search In Size

This post is based on the interview between Eric Enge and Peter Linsley, Google’s Product Manager for Image Search. It reveals some interesting aspects of image search which is growing at an accelerated pace.

A recent survey by Hitwise in February 2009 shows Google Image Search as part of the troika of top web properties owned by Google in terms of traffic and revenue.

(more…)

Speaking at Dallas WordCamp 2009

Wordcamp Dallas 2009I’m speaking at this year’s WordCamp in Dallas again later this week.

WordCamp is a mini-convention for WordPress and blogging enthusiasts. Some of the content is WordPress-centric, but other content is applicable to bloggers in general, such as how to promote your blog and other stuff.

I’ll be speaking on how to use social image sharing services for promotion. Social media sites such as Flickr allow people to publish and share their photos with many other people, and the site is well-constructed in terms of search engine optimization, so posting images there helps get media distributed all over. Using Flickr can help one gain more attention, inbound links, and overall search rankings.

I’ve spoken on using Flickr for promotion and optimization before, and I’ve written on details of image optimization here a number of times.

I’d further recommend blogging to everyone – I first started blogging here on the Natural Search Blog as a guest, after Stephan Spencer invited me, and it eventually changed my overall career path. Be sure to check out Stephan’s articles on blog optimization, btw, since he’s pretty much the top authority out there on the subject.

There’s still a few seats left for Dallas WordCamp – sign up before they’re all gone!

Flickr *IS* Good for Search Marketing – Despite Naysayers!

I’ve seen a recent article or two claiming that Flickr can no longer be leveraged for SEO purposes. As frequent readers here know, I’ve long been a proponent of using Flickr, both for its great Web 2.0 features, but also for its marketing/promotional value. I’m sure I’m one of the people that article writer was thinking of when he mentioned hearing recommendations for use from other articles and search marketing conferences.

Flickr can still be a valuable source of internet promotion, and a great tool for the purposes of Image Search Optimization. Read on and I’ll explain. (more…)

Google Photos To Compete With Flickr?

The Google Operating System blog reports that Google is likely changing the name of their Picasa photo sharing service to “Google Photos”.

A few other features are due to rollout as well, including licensing options, email photo uploads, and tagging of people in pics. (more…)

New Ranking Methodology for Google Image Search

The New York Times is reporting on a new research paper about Google’s new image ranking algo which apparently associates an inferred linking relationship between images and uses the PageRank method of iterating ranking values across the graph to come up with final ranking values. This “VisualRank” method was presented in a paper at the International World Wide Web Conference in Beijing this past Thursday, and the process was also reported at Techcrunch.

Coast of Santa Catalina Island, facing San Clemente
Google’s advancements in Image Search
could help keep high-value image results
like this coastal pic stay high in the SERPs
for apropos keywords, while making less-
important images rank far lower.

The new methodology is apparently very adept at weeding out less-important and less-useful images from the search results.

I have earlier reported on Google’s research into Supervised Multiclass Labeling (“SML”) which can assist with associating keywords with the actual content found within digital images. See also Search Engine Land’s article on Google’s VisualRank Paper.

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Flickr As New YouTube Killer?

Michael Arrington at Techcrunch reports that video is coming soon to Flickr.

This is great news, and I think it could become an overnight major competitor to YouTube — having both types of media available via one site/service makes for a lot of convenience.

Though, people may not realize that it’s already been possible to a small degree, if you upload an animated GIF to Flickr (see this example where I uploaded an animated sequence of a glider’s movement from Conway’s Game of Life).

Google’s Ranking Advice in Blended Search at SMX West

David Bailey at SMX WestJust a quick post here on some simple tips that David Bailey of Google advised in this morning’s session on “The Blended Search Revolution” at the SMX West conference in Santa Clara:

Flickr Starts Nofollowing

Solitary RockA couple of my colleagues, Brian Brown and Jeff Muendel, identified that Flickr has begun NOFOLLOWing hyperlinks in their photo profile pages. I’ve confirmed this and have a few more details to add. (more…)

Google Hiding Content Behind an Image on their SERPs

Tamar Weinberg at Search Engine Roundtable reports that in a Google Groups forum, a Webmaster Central team member stated that you could use something like the z-index attribute in DHTML styles to hide text or links behind an image, so long as the text/link being hidden is what’s represented in the image.

I think it’s a good thing that they do allow this sort of use, because it appears to me that they’re doing this very thing on their own search results pages! If you refresh a search page, you can see what they’re hiding under their own logo:

Google hides textlink behind logo
(click to enlarge)

…a text link pointing to their homepage.

Now, the interesting question I’d have for the Google team about this would be: this is straightforward if the image itself contains text, but what would be allowable if the image doesn’t contain text, but say, an image of a lion? There’s many different ways to express what that lion is from “lion” to “tawny, golden-furred lion king”.

Or, should we be assuming that images that are written over text and links are only allowable when the image contains text?

The Google Webmaster Tools contributor states that you could be using image’s ALT and TITLE attributes to essentially do the same thing. This is sorta funny, because one could say the same thing of Google’s use of this on their own page — why are they doing it?

One immediately wonders how Google polices this, since they’re apparently not frowning upon pages drawing images over text/links in all cases. They can detect text written over images, but would they have every instance checked by a human? Or, are they using optical character recognition algos to automatically check the text within images against the text being hidden?

In any case, the fact that Google is doing this on their own site could be taken as more confirmation that they don’t consider the technique to be bad in of itself — as long as the practice is conservative and the text/link just describes the text content within the image.

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