Thursday, June 2, 2011

Google Adds +1 To Blogger Pages and Speech Search!

Earlier today, Google announced the widespread availability of it's '+1' recommendation button for blogs and websites.  In the announcement, the company said it would be available in other Google products such as Blogger.

Despite the fact that I have been off doing other things and haven't haven't the time to write as much as I'd like in recent months, I decided to mess with the +1 documentation and see how easy it would be to try it out right here.

I went to the notes .... and there was nothing about adding it to Blogger.


They already did.

Alongside the Twitter, Facebook and other buttons at the bottom of each post (here), '+1' was added and turned on by default!

Sure, it can't hurt, and you are using Google's software for free (Blogger), but it still seems like a pretty bold move.  Shades of the early Buzz implementation within Gmail?

On another Google note, the company has been testing a search by voice 'microphone' on the main Google page almost all day.  I've been waiting for someone (anyone?) to write about this but apparently it's being overshadowed by the coverage of D9.

Curious? You won't see it in IE Explorer or Firefox.  You will see it at the right of the search bar (at least here in the States) using the Dev-M version of Google's browser Chrome.  I looks like this. 

Click it and it scan your hardware for a mic ... and tests it.

Pretty neat stuff.

Update: June 2 1:30 AM ET - Apparently you will only see the 'mic' currently on the Dev version for Windows according to a brief note I just received.

Update 2: Blogger Buzz has a video about +1 and using it in Blogger.  It appears that since I had the 'other' sharing buttons turned on, +1 now goes along for the ride.

Update 3: Don't rush to install the Dev version of Chrome to see this.  The test is apparently over.  The 'mic' is gone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Google Gaming Debacle - What's Next?

For those of you that haven't already read it, the weekend tech news brings us a piece from the NY Times about a major retailer who apparently simply hired the wrong SEO firm.

Nobody really knows why thousands of links (as evidenced by this article by Vanessa Fox) landed around the web, making for a classic case of what is known in the industry as 'Black Hat SEO'.  It could have been anyone, inside or outside the company, a subcontractor, or even an employee trying to look good to his (or her) boss.

Some of the comments on this morning's take by TechCrunch are (very) disturbing as well.

Anyone that has corresponded with Matt Cutts or Vanessa Fox over the years knows they're simply trying to do the right thing.

So here's a story for those doubters out there.

It's one of the primary reasons I left the industry a while back, and yes it is a serious problem for Google that is going to get harder to tackle as the Internet continues to grow and coders (and spammers) get even smarter.

It was about 5 years ago that I dropped in on a 'major' SEO company.  At the time, I was debating going to work for them rather than staying independent.  The company was well known in the industry and the CEO highly respected for a number of ventures he was then successful at.

As I entered the 'SEO area', I was introduced to ONE person who seemed to have a very general knowledge of White Hat SEO.  Then I was introduced to the staff.  There was a row of college students that were, yes, planting links.  They had a program and were hitting all kinds of discussion boards, comment areas, and just about anywhere else they could land a subtle link without bing noticed.

I brought it up with the manager and the response was "Hey ... it works".

It didn't work for me.  I left having found exactly what I expected and that's really sad.

Keep in mind this was about 5 years ago.  Webmaster Central was alive and well and they had to know exactly what they were doing.

Then there are the 'rocket scientists'.  The coders that sell themselves to companies with that 'super script'  that'll make them rank in Google in two weeks under 500 or a thousand search terms.  I watched one of these scenerios years ago. The company DID get caught by Google's spam team and over 45 sites (that I had worked years on) plummeted to position 60 or lower.  Google caught it almost immediately.  The company suffered big time.

We have an industry where there are now thousands (not hundreds as the Times piece says) of well-intentioned SEO companies and individuals working hard to do the right thing.  They work day and night hoping to wake up the next morning and see that their efforts have worked.

In many cases, the fruits are short-lived and replaced by a Black Hat effort.

Should they all start using the reporting tool?  Probably not.

Even this blog which has been mostly dormant the past month gets spammed every day.  Seriously, you may not be seeing comments and that's because Blogger and Disqus are catching them.  99% spam ?!

Everyone loses in the end.  Inevitably, Google finds these 'invasions' and weeds them out but, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars have been paid to the wrong people prior to the discovery.

The SEO industry doesn't need to be regulated as has been mentioned by some over the years .... but SEO's do need to start self-policing.  If your 'friend' is gaming the system, it's time that you tell him.  If that doesn't work, the reporting tool isn't a bad idea.

Google (and Bing) NEED SEO's to help the algorithm.  Nobody ever writes that but it's a fact.

With a HUGE Internet out there with no end in sight, bringing solid content to the attention of the two major search engines is important.  Very Important.

So all of this is really nothing new.  It's not Google's fault.  It's probably not even the company's fault that got caught.

Social Media won't do it all.  If you haven't notice, it's a bit saturated.

If you hire an SEO firm, put it in the contract.  Tell them you want 'White Hat' techniques within the guidelines of the search engines.

It's a start.

You may be surprised that it may take a tad longer ... but it will work just as well.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Where Did SEO and Tech Daily Go?

In response to (more than) a few e-mails, I'm making this brief post to keep you up-to-date on this blog and future plans.

As some of my friends know, I made a rather radical career change last year embracing another one of my passions ... cars.

It's all probably more than you want to know but suffice to say, it's required all my attention and left little time to do any unique or interesting here.

There have been many times I've been tempted to post an opinion, prediction, or my own take on the 'next chapter' and the hyper changes we continue to see not only in tech, but how those changes are changing many other industries on a wholesale basis.

Frankly, it's all mind boggling and I doubt if anyone has the answers 5 or ten years down the road.

Like many of you ... I still visit Techmeme each morning (and sometimes evening) for the breaking 'take' on what's happening and Gabe Rivera's team continues to do an awesome job aggregating the world's tech and Internet news.  The most recent implimentation on Twitter within the Techmeme landscape makes a great deal of sense considering as any tech author knows, that's where most of these stories break to begin with.

So what's next?

While I continue to put most off my efforts in making a comfortable living for my family, I haven't yet decided whether to merge SEO and Tech Daily with my (currently dorment) personal blog, or just take a break.

There are many fine online publications reporting 'the news' and others giving great hints on the latest in SEO and the world of Search Engine Optimization.

The bottom line is I'm still here, reading a lot, working hard, and for some reason more of you are following me every day on Quora than anywhere else.  I LOVE Quora but I've been a 'fly on the wall' if anything.  Just crazy stuff.

So Yes. Happily, I'm still breathing :)  My wife and I are just getting settled in to our new home here in Central PA and all is well .... and I more than appreciate those e-mails!

What's next?  We'll see ... in a few weeks.

Thanks you guys as always.