Natural Search Blog


Relationship Between Link Growth And Indexation

With every passing day, the number of websites and hence the number of web pages are growing at an explosive rate on the internet. This can cause a major headache to the search engines as they gear up to meet the challenge of crawling and subsequently indexing the new sites popping up everywhere in the cybersphere.

Today, when a new web site is launched, it will take a while before its pages get crawled and indexed in Google. With the increasing strain on hardware and resources due to the rapid growth of new sites, Google has become very strict in its policy of admitting sites and retaining web pages of sites in its index. It is a case of survival of the fittest in cyberspace.

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Link Building Through Social Media – Is It That Difficult?

The post today deals with link building using social media. Most SEO practitioners love to use social media to build backlinks to a site. It is a powerful method and can gain numerous inbound links in a short period of time.

For this, the content has to be of high quality along the lines of linkbait and capable of going viral. It gets picked up by various social media properties and earns lot of link love. Yet, there are people who complain that they are not having success in using this technique. One of the major reasons for failure is the inability to build relationships.

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Measuring Link Bait

Last week, Stephan Spencer talked about The Social Media Underground over at Search Engine Land. While the broad brush strokes of the article were across social media, the technique of link baiting however was very much at the center. Of course there are endless ways to paint on the link bait canvas, but in many cases, there will be an element of social media involved, which may also mean time and/or money.

Link bait can be a powerful tool, especially when used in conjunction with a powerful social media network. Like many things however, it generally comes at a cost. Even if there aren’t any direct costs, such as engaging writers or paying for services directly, there will at least be direct time if you or your company creates the link bait yourself, and potentially in-kind costs, such as helping to return the favor or similar for someone else within your social media network.

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Fantastic Linkbait: Google doesn’t need to find Chuck Norris for you!

This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while – I saw this mentioned on John Battelle’s blog. Type “find Chuck Norris” into Google’s search form, and then hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button, and you’ll get this:

Finding Chuck Norris
(click to enlarge)

The result is a Google search results page with no listings and the message at the top states:

“Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.”

But wait! This result page is actually a hoax, only pretending to be from Google! It’s actually produced by Arran Scholsberg. Arran is a student at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and is a web designer and photographer. (more…)

The Simpsons & Great Participatory-Viral Marketing

Kwik-E=Mart SignThis past Saturday, I mosied over into central Dallas to check out the Kwik-E-Mart that was created to promote The Simpsons film, set to air nationwide later this week. The Kwik-E-Mart was created out of a 7-Eleven convenience store – surely the first ever instance of the subject of a satire being remade to more closely resemble the satire itself. The Dallas Kwik-E-Mart is one of the eleven created nationwide out of 7-Eleven stores, and it’s a simply fantastic piece of viral marketing, participatory marketing – and yes, linkbait.

Kwik E Mart sign, Dallas
(click to enlarge)

Read on for more details…

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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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Blog Tag – You’re It!

Okay, so, I’m late to the Blogtag game, but better late than never, right?  I’m not sure who came up with this, but the idea behind the game is that you have to tell 5 things about yourself that most of your readers might not know, and then “tag” five other bloggers by linking to them. Stephan tagged me back around Christmas timeframe, and I was so busy vacationing, and then getting back into work-groove that I neglected to play out my piece in this cool little SEO meme. So, here goes.

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me:

1. – I’m fascinated by the Voynich Manuscript. It’s compelling to me as an enduring mystery — likely one of the top seven mysteries in the modern world. Many cryptographers and linguists have attempted to decode it, and failed!Voynich Manuscript, Cosmology Page If I thought it was more than an antique hoax, I’d be writing my own Perl scripts to try to break the code down. My first decoding book was written by Martin Gardner, and I used what I learned from it in third grade to break a coded message I found in my great-great-grandmother’s autograph book. I guess the takeaway is that I’m just damn compelled by puzzles. I used to compete with people in high school to see who was the fastest at solving mixed-up Rubik’s Cubes. I think my record was right around 42 seconds. (I’m not that fast anymore, but I’m obviously still a geek.)

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MicroSoft’s Ms. Dewey Linkbait: Avatars for Blogs & Other Uses

MicroSoft has launched an avatar-fronted search interface called
Ms. Dewey, in order to promote their MS Live search service. An avatar is a term coopted from virtual reality which is used to describe the graphic representation of a person within the VR environment.

Ms. Dewey

The Ms. Dewey avatar is a clever piece of Flash engineering coupled up with various video files and the MS Live search engine. Ms. Dewey is played by an actress named Janina Gavankar, who apparently prerecorded a bunch of video snippets which are queued up contextually for various responses to search terms that are typed into the submission form field. After you submit a search keyword, she says (and sometimes does) something witty, then the MS Live search results scroll down in an AJAX menu beside her.

Try out these particularly funny search terms on Ms. Dewey:

Congress
gmail
President Bush
Dick Cheney
weather forecasts
Yo Mama
Painting
Lord of the Rings
UFOs
MySpace
FireFox
Halo 2

A “share this with a friend” link is included, making this qualify even more as some nice linkbait, as some online marketing folx refer to it. While quite a few folx have turned their noses up at Ms. Dewey as not being a serious search service contender, they’re perhaps missing the point that she’s pretty fun to interact with, and as a promotional effort goes, it’s probably pretty effective linkbait. Within just a short timeframe, many people will have emailed links to Ms. Dewey to their friends, getting a whole lot of people to use MicroSoft’s search engine who otherwise wouldn’t have tried it out.

I’d only say that the design group has dropped the ball a bit by not highlighting their MS Live brandname on the search results. (They also dropped the ball by advertising Ms. Dewey’s email address through the interface, ms-dewey@hotmail.com, because it’s inoperative, at least when I tested it. “Status: 5.0.0 – Remote SMTP server has rejected address”. They should have had someone responding to those notes, or they should’ve created an intelligent agent to respond to submissions to it.)

It’s maybe mentionable that Ask dropped the Jeeves butler mascot from the frontend of their search earlier this year, and here MicroSoft is adding a human mascot onto their search. Ask was never this attractive, though, and this ploy doesn’t seem in the least retro. Slick!

Interfaces like Ms. Dewey actually aren’t all that hard to do, and there’s one company that has made it really easy to incorporate interactive avatars similar to this within your blogs and other websites. Read on and I’ll describe how you can use avatars.

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