Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Microsoft releases REAL updates for Windows 7

Today was supposed to be the day that Microsoft was going to test Windows Update for Windows 7 Beta users by releasing several 'test' updates.

It turns out that several of the updates delivered to beta testers today were, in fact, real updates.

Note: Users were not 'automatically updated'.

In Windows 7 (Build 7000 with a valid key) , it's a simple matter of opening the Control Panel, then opening the integrated Windows Update screen and tapping 'check for updates' in the upper left corner.

Most users will be greeted with a quick 10.9 MB of system updates.  While some are the promised 'test updates', others include fixes for non-compatible programs as well as a security update.

This latest 'Update Tuesday' also included are variety of updates and patches for Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and even an autorun fix for Windows 2000.

In the US, you can check out the list already posted in the Microsoft Download Center here.

Update 1:  Late Tuesday, Microsoft added an additional Windows 7 update (for Silverlight) which can be downloaded and installed in the same manner.

Gmail and Methadone? Huh?

Apparently I was among several thousand Gmail users (or more) this morning that awoke to .... "huh?".

I did what I usually do in a case like this and came right here.  Google Trends has been in the right column for some time and last week I decided to embed TwitScoop there as well.

Here's what the two looked like at 7:15 AM Eastern Time today:

Apparently, the Jonas Brothers and Methadone are trending on Google too?
There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Methadone (or the Jonas Brothers) had anything to do with the morning's Gmail outage.
The good news?  Apparently Gmail is now returning (although Gchat seems to still be 'on hold').
The word from Google:

A few weeks ago, Sarah Perez posted this question on Friendfeed: "Do you trust the cloud?".

Update 8:30 AM:  Most US Gmail (and Gchat) accounts are now returning and Google has an informational post at the Official Google Blog here.

Update 2: Google has posted an additional update on this morning's outage to to the Official Google Blog here

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Google's Matt Cutts new video at Webmaster Central

Late yesterday, the Google Webmaster Central team posted a video by Matt Cutts to their blog.

The video is essentially a 're-cut' and updated commentary of Cutts' presentation at PubCon last November and includes lots of interesting info for those interested in the Google Index, Search and well, just Google.

It's a must watch for newbies as well as a refresher for others.

The 'State of the Index' video is embedded (and can be played) below or you can visit the page (with access to slides, etc.) at the Google Webmaster Central blog here.

So gather up your SEO team and take a listen.  It's a free mid-day seminar! :)

Update: On Monday, the Google Webmaster team started their own channel on YouTube , which leads with the video above.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recovery.gov goes live. SEO lacking?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Recovery.gov, the website promised by the Obama administration to provide transparency, feedback and information on the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has just gone live.

Better known to most as the Stimulus package, the new government website provides videos, the complete (actual) text of the Act, FAQ's, a contact form, and more.

One thing a few of you may notice is that, as of this writing, the site is seriously lacking SEO?
Hint: Start by looking at the page titles.

Hopefully the White House web team didn't read this (What was Dvorak thinking??) ..... and is still getting around to it.

Check out the newly launched stimulus website. Let your voice be heard if you wish.
That's what the website is there for.

Recovery.gov website can be found here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Getting your site included in Google News

So you have a great blog or website that delivers news. Your audience is growing. You've worked hard and you're proud of the results.

In our world (tech), you've already been showcased on TechMeMe, numerous social networks and Blogburst has delivered your content to a variety of mainstream media places.

Now, you're probably looking for more exposure.

The major news blogs didn't cover this story because, well, if you were them, would you? The last thing they want right now is competition.

How about getting your content spidered by Google News? With Universal Search, that might put YOU one or two clicks away from the main Google Search page!

Being included in Google News isn't tremendously hard. Staying there (or near the top) might be.

On Wednesday, Abe Epton delivered a great piece on the Google News blog:

Eight Ways to Help Google News Better Crawl Your Site.

Some of the suggestions can (and probably should) could be used in general SEO. The post goes on to explain a variety of 'Google News specific' things you should to to make your site easy for the Google News spider to read.

I've written a number of articles about 'each space bringing a potential new audience' but how about just one day at the top of Google News?

Yes, it could be HUGE.

There are a variety of tips which include formatting, sitemaps and more.

If your content is really good, hopefully unique (or a unique perspective), why shouldn't you be right up there with 'the big guys'?

The Google News blog post can be found here.

Check it out.

Who knows. YOUR byline could be next.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Must reading for SEOs. A new tag is here.

Yesterday, word came from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft on a cooperative effort, and a brand new page tag, to help eliminate indexing of duplicate content.

If you've ever run large websites, particularly those using content management systems, control of these pages in many cases has been somewhat difficult.  On the other hand, Search Engines have warned repeatedly about duplicate content and rankings, so the new 'canonical' page tag is a significant development and should be noted by ALL in the SEO world.

Rather than duplicating content myself, an excellent piece by Vanessa Fox including links to the posts from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! can be found at Search Engine Land here.

This is must reading.  Period.

Great weekend all!

Update 1 - Google's Matt Cutts just posted an in-depth explanation of the new canonical tag here.

Outspoken Media and Teachstreet launch new websites

Search vets were busy launching new websites this past week.

OutSpokenMedia.com is the new venture by Rae Hoffman (aka Sugarrae), Rhea Drysdale and Lisa Barone. If you don't know who they are and are involved in search at all, I would probably wonder a little about you ??!! ... but the bios can be found here.

If you've read these ladies in the past, the new company name speaks for itself. 
(So far, the launch website appears rated PG :)

Best of luck to all!

Natala Menezes (formerly Microsoft AdCenter) was literally twittering an (excited) countdown to the launch of TeachStreet.com yesterday.  The site, now live, is the brainchild of Dave Chappelle and is definately worth checking out.

More than a 'how to' or DIY project, this new venture takes it to the next level 'bringing students and teachers together' and can be found here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Excited about Google Power Meter (and you should be too)

Yesterday's announcement from Google.org on the Official Google Blog about their new PowerMeter initiative caught me somewhat off guard.

It was very exciting for me as I've been watching and learning in this space for the past few months.  I even e-mailed a few Googlers to find out more, and see if there was any way I could remotely get in on the 'closed beta'.

Some of you may remember last month when I threw a free plug to a friend who is literally all over this stuff.  In fact, he posted a video a while back to the President and also a blog post to Google, urging them to get involved.

Since then, it may have appeared that the website, HomeEnergyResource has been stagnating.

It hasn't. 

Peter is (very) passionate about this space but I didn't know if the new re-branded website was OK to talk about yet.  (There's still a bunch of products and numerous features to be added).

The purpose of this post is to let you know how HUGE Google's initiative actually is (for all of us) .... because, well, I've already been there.

I've not only been using one of the currently available energy monitors (cool video) but I also bought some of the other products as well.

Those who have read this blog know I'm basically cheap ?! ... and I don't 'throw money away' :).

Up until the last few days, it's been a very (very!) cold winter here in beautiful Central Pennsylvania.

My electric bill AND oil consumption are a fraction (no exaggeration) of what they were last year.

It'll be a while until Google manages to roll-out this project in various parts of the country (or the world?) but similar inexpensive products are here now.

They work.

Improvements in technology have made power meters, energy monitors, smart powerstrips and many other fuel (and carbon) saving devices incredibly inexpensive.

I phoned Peter this morning.  I very simply wanted to catch the buzz and tell my readers that the technology is here.  He gave me the green light to unleash EnergyCircle.com.  It's is open and can be found here.

(For you SEO types, the old site will become a 301 later this week ....)

I've used a little less than 200 gallons of oil this year (hot air), and, well, 60+/- electric bills?!

Yes the lights are ON and I'm NOT freezing .....

Proof! Here's a quick (rather bad) photo of the current monthly electric bill :

Yes, it says $66.29!

In these times, I know there are many of you looking to save wherever you can.

Peter's team was outright excited about the Google announcement.  It'll take some time but it's a HUGE step in the right direction. His personal focus is larger and encompasses fuel consumption and many other areas where the average person can save and he's got a great team working with him.

So kudos to Google (and personal thanks to the one Googler who responded on the spot last night!)

Go on over to the new Energy Circle website.  Take a few minutes to watch some of the videos.  They're really excellent ...  You'll be glad you did.

We can all do our part.  The cool thing is, in the long run, we're saving money.

Update 1: Peter has chimed in with his own thoughts on the energy savings landscape and Google PowerMeter.  The blog post can be found here.
Update 2:  March 3, 2009 (Me ... a disclosure?) Being excited about the prospects, I will be doing some 'light consulting' with Energy Circle soon..... and yes, the 'no follow' tags are in place :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Be Careful with those Gadgets!

As some of you know, I've been running a few experiments with a variety of Google Gadgets, and others widgets, on this blog and others.

Blogger in Draft allows access to a host of gadgets for use on your blog and for the most part, many could be useful (depending on your content and target audience).

It's important to realize that many of the gadgets are produced by independent sources and I learned a quick (maybe obvious) lesson this past week.

There was a pretty cool looking gadget that provided direct links to almost all of the TV network full length online videos.  I was actually looking at it more as a shortcut for myself (especially for when I forget to set the DVR for 24 :).

After having it on THIS blog for about a day, I decided I'd click on the provided link to 'vote' for it as cool, as the author requested.

Instead of a 'voting platform', I was presented with a store selling a variety of drug paraphernalia.

Not exactly the kid of stuff we talk about here (or anywhere else).

Lesson learned.

Before you launch a gadget, test it.  See where it goes and what it does .... and check back occasionally.
The economy may lend itself to people doing some pretty weird things.

There's a few bad boys in that space ..... like anywhere else.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Five Free SEO Resources that you can count on.

There are thousands of SEO blogs and websites on the Internet.

A question I get often is 'Who do you trust?'

It's difficult to answer but the fact remains that SEO IS an important part of your marketing mix (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with helping the search engines find websites that belong in the top-10).

In the past weeks and months, there have been a few notable articles and papers published on the 'net as well as other free resources, many of which have withstood the test of time.

It was difficult to pair this list down to five but here's my take on a few you should visit:

1) Google published their own FREE guide to SEO a few months ago.  The paper (Note: This is a PDF) can be found here.  (Read it!)

2) This past week, Jill Whalen wrote a very concise piece at Search Engine Land. It's fast reading can be found here.

3) Within Jill's post, you'll find a link to Vanessa Fox's new 'Office Hours' on WebmasterRadio.fm .  The base page is here (and if there's one young lady that lives and breathes SEO and search, it's Vanessa).  More about Office Hours can be found at NineByBlue.com here.

4) One of the original aggregators of major SEO websites is called SEOmash.  Check it out here (Every day isn't a bad idea ...).

5) Finally, AllTop, the mega-aggregator from Guy Kawasaki and company has an SEO category here (and you may even find this piece .... there :)

Have a great week all ... Hope this helps!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Multiple Inboxes for GMail - New in Labs

In a post a few moments ago, the Gmail Team announced a new feature in Labs : Multiple Inboxes for Gmail.

A quick survey of a few colleagues here in the states and in several other countries revealed that apparently the feature is already rolled out in many places.

To access the new Gmail add-on, simply click on the small 'lab bottle' at the top of your Gmail screen and then scroll down to page to this graphic:

Note: It may be quite a way down the page in some cases.

From there, the set-up is fairly straight forward and, at least in my case, provided one of the best new offerings from Labs (in Gmail) to date.

The complete post by Google's Octavian "Vivi" Costache can be found here.

The only question that remains .....

When is Gmail coming out of Beta ?? :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Live Answer Suggestions - Now Live in IE8

Beginning today, Internet Explorer 8 users (both IE8 Release Candidate 1 and Windows 7 versions) will notice a change in the integrated Live.com Search box.

'Answer Suggestions' has been turned on by default for all users (and testers) and essentially provides search suggestions on the fly as you type your query into the toolbar.

Yahoo's home page began providing suggestions some time ago and 'Google Suggestions', a similar service, is already live in the IE8 toolbar as well (if you added Google Search).

Tested side-by-side with Yahoo's home page (and IE8 inline Google Suggestions), the results are different across a variety of spaces, and could potentially be used by web designers to ferret out keywords that search engines are familiar with (and/or 'see' most often).

The announcement of the feature came this morning on Microsoft's Channel 10 blog.

Update 1: The Live Search Blog now has a detailed description here.

Staff edit Feb 4 5:40 AM

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Brief: Firefox moves to version 3.0.6

Although many are not yet seeing the automatic update as of this post, Mozilla just pushed out the latest stable version of Firefox.

Version 3.0.6 includes a variety of stability, security and other updates and bug fixes.

A complete list of changes can be found here.

Existing users (in most areas) can now immediately access the upgrade by clicking 'Help', then 'Check for Upgrades'.

Update: The full list of platform / language versions of Firefox 3.0.6 can now be found here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A nice surprise from AdSense

I had pleasant surprise last week as the 1099's began to roll in.

The one that caught me completely off-guard was the amount from Google's AdSense.  It wasn't shabby.  In fact, it was pretty good.

For the most part, I hadn't done much with AdSense since the beginning of last year.  Most of my time had been spent doing 'mini-consults' as well as having a little fun networking with others.

More recently, most of my time has been spent reading while this blog has been 'on hold'.  Reading, beta-testing and SEO experimenting is where my ongoing learning comes from.  I LOVE writing, but I made a concious decision to put that on hold a couple of months ago.  There was significant change in the Internet  marketing space and this guy doesn't like to miss anything.

Back to AdSense ...

I realized quickly that the AdSense income was from websites that I had discontinued editing last year.  My focus had changed, there's only so much time in a day and, if there's one thing I've learned in over a decade of doing this stuff, it's knowing when to close a chapter.

I visited my Adsense account for the first time in a while and made a few modest discoveries.

While many of you probably already know some of this, I felt it was worth sharing, as certainly in these times there's got to be more than a few of you that could use a few extra bucks.

The first thing I noticed was Adsense for Domains. Like many of you, I own more than a few 'legacy' web addresses that I keep for a variety of reasons.

In my case, they were parked at a reseller site (at ridiculously high prices :).  The reseller sent (a rather lame) check every once in a while.

My take on Adsense for Domains was two-fold.

1) I was outright telling Google that these were parked sites (I would guess) and that I wasn't doing anything weird (or harmful) with them. 
2) I was bypassing the reseller who was sending a (very) small portion of the proceeds while most likely using AdSense themselves.

The test.

I took 4 domains a couple of days ago and switched them over.  A few, in their time, were well-known domains and (despite my e-mails) still had many websites linking to them.

The result was immediate and more important, measurable.

Instead of waiting for a pitiful monthly report, I was able to see what was happening in less than a day.

AdSense's domain system first set them up using the URL's as a keyword source but later (after approval), let me add the corrections as needed.

While, over a day or so, they haven't yet generated enough to go to a nice dinner, it's the concept of bypassing the reseller that I thought some of you might be interested in.  No spam.  Playing it straight with Google ... and maybe, some measurable income along the way.

The other cool observation I made during the process was a post to the Google Adsense blog a few days ago providing some useful Firefox add-ons that I hadn't used before.  Web Developer 1.16 has definately come a long way. It's easy and non-invasive.

I suppose the most interesting part for those of us that follow this stuff was the mention that work was underway for add-on's to Chrome, Google's own browser.

As for SEO and Tech Daily (for those of you that have dropped notes....), it won't be 'daily' for a little while.  I'm (thankfully) busy with all kinds of stuff.  My immediate intention will be to post helpful hints and tips (like this one) and to share some of what I've been reading lately as the Internet landscape, SEO, Social Media and online marketing in general, continues to change at a 'more than hyper' pace.

It's really incredible, at least for me, to be watching.  It also boggles my mind that there are tens of thousands of companies that still have absolutely no clue what SEO is (for another article..).

So ... there it is.  I'm still breathing.  I hope this piece helps a few people, and yes, there's more to come.

Stay tuned :)

Have a Great Week!

Update:  Apparently a few other blogs have noted AdSense for Domains over the past month.  Nice to know it was relatively knew and I wasn't totally out of touch :)  The actual page to find out more is here.