Feb 232015

Scott Stouffer offers a great read via the Search Engine Journal website about “Using Artificial Intelligence to Solve #SEO”. While it is pretty technical, it allows us a glimpse on the algorithmic scale on whiy SEO is so difficult and what can be done on the search engine level to resolve this.

Mr. Stouffer talks about Particle Swarm Optimization in relation to birds flocking which is an interesting concept.

According to Mr. Stouffer, one of the biggest reasons SEO is so difficult, “In fact, typical optimizations have to go through four layers: crawling, indexing, scoring, and finally the real-time query layer. Trying to correlate this way is fools gold.

“In fact, Google actually introduces a significant noise factor, similar to how the U.S. government introduced noise to its GPS constellation, so civilians would not be able to get military-grade accuracy. It’s called the real-time query layer. The query layer is currently acting as a major deterrent for SEO correlation tactics …

“…The query layer is the user’s view of what is going on, not the brand’s. Therefore, correlations found this way will very rarely mean causation. And this is assuming that you are using one tool to source and model your data. Typically, SEOs will use a number of data inputs for their modeling, which only increases this noise and decreases the chances of finding causation.”

Mr. Stouffer offers a solution that search engines can take in order to more closely match queries to results (you’ll have to read the article to find this nugget). This may well be the future of search, which will positively impact users, so it will be worthwhile for SEO’s to be familiar with these concepts.


External References




Jun 242014

Some people have asked, for the past several years, if the heyday of search is over. And the answer is that for the past 6 months, this apparently has been so.

Shareaholic has tracked the organic search traffic to the top 5 search engines from December 2013 through May 2014 and found declines in ALL of them. In fact, the declines have been between 17-percent and 32-percent.

So, what has replaced the search engines? Well, social media (especially Facebook and Pinterest) have been in the driver’s seat in regard to increased traffic quarter over quarter. Twitter is also starting to creep up in delivering traffic.

But, Linkedin and Google + while owning a very small percentage of the traffic pie, tend to drive more engaged users. And this is something that marketers need to be aware of as well.

So, is search dead? No, not dead, it’s just not peaking month after month like it used to do. And social media continues to expand its place at the table.


May 152014

If you’re a search user who doesn’t like being tracked, you could use the Firefox browser with its no tracking privacy option, or you could go to DuckDuckGo and search away. One of the claims to fame of DuckDuckGo is that it doesn’t track people and share their info with the NSA (what would be the point in that?).

DuckDuckGo has a clean user interface like the Google of old. And a bow tie on a duck for the logo, that’s just mar-ve-lous! DuckDuckGo needs to have their own Penguin and Hummingbird updates just so they can stay with the bird theme.

The results may not be as robust as those of Google, Bing or Yahoo, but for simplicity sake you may just want to flock together (birds of a feather) and check out DuckDuckGo.


Sep 102013

Twitter Tweeters soon learn the shortcomings of the search feature in this popular social media destination. Do a few random searches on Twitter and you’ll soon find not what you’re looking for but rather results that are akin to those that may have been served up from one of the search engines in the 1990’s (the ones that didn’t make it).

Now, in steps an Internet company called Topsy, which fills the gap in Twitter searches. While the Fail Whale falls short, the Topsy search engine delivers relevant Twitter results. In fact, Topsy will deliver every Tweet ever uttered in 140 characters or less since Twitter began in 2006. That’s about 425 billion chunks of content for you and me.

Now, if you want to see something really cool, just type in “from:username” and you can check the history of your own tweets or the tweets of others. Of course you’ll also have to click on a date range on the top left panel, but that’s a no brainer. While Twitter is cool, it’s easy to see how one goes topsy turvy over Topsy, too.







Jul 022013

For those who weren’t into search on the Internet before Google became King, you’ll need to say goodbye and pay homage to a search engine you may have never heard of which is Altavista.com.

Sure, Altavista is now powered by Yahoo (or Bing actually) and even in the title bar of the website it says “Yahoo Search – Web Search.”

The fact of the matter is that before there was Google there was Altavista and a handful of other search engines (Webcrawler, Lycos, Go, Magellan, Excite, Inktomi, Hotbot, Ask Jeeves, Northern Light) to name a few.

In 2003, Yahoo bought Altavista along with Overture Services. It was rumored a couple of years back that Yahoo would finally be putting the nail in Altavista’s coffin. But, with Marissa Mayer as the newish CEO of Yahoo it is finally time to say as of July 8, 2013:

“Altavista, Hasta La Vista Baby!”






Apr 012013

Google and Microsoft have teamed up to create the first open-source Post-Apocalyptic search engine. The new search engine code named “Bang!” heavily prioritizes results towards the walking dead, cockroaches, preppers and oddly enough Adam Sandler.

Bang! took years of preparation and teamwork by the two search giants who are rivals in most cases, but have come together to provide a specific helpful search appliance in case doomsday does befall us soon. The Armageddon algorithm relies on its “Prepper-Rank” coding and is top secret of course and even the FBI, CIA and NSA don’t know the content of the programming.

Now, let’s look and see if a worldwide natural or manmade disaster were to occur how the Post-Apocalyptic search engine would help. First, the Maps section would help those in all affected communities find food and shelter quickly.

The artificial intelligence portion of Bang! will quickly help one to decide whether to bug out or bug in. Local guns and ammo resources will quickly be outlined with the Bang! mobile app. And with the push of a button, any pending gun legislation in Congress will automatically be ejected from Washington DC.

And of course the Chuck Norris hotline and call center will be at one’s finger tips for rescue operations (and personal counseling). The local portion of the Post-Apocalyptic search engine will show where to get vaccines for radiation and pandemics plus the GPS coordinates of old, abandoned missile silos worldwide.

Perhaps the coolest feature of the Post-Apocalyptic search engine is that it was totally programmed by zombies. And of course the finish date on the project was April 1, the most foolish day of the year. :)


Mar 062013

Okay, so printed dictionaries and encyclopedia are almost ancient with the advent of the Internet. When is the last time you’ve used either? The same goes for the phone book.

Search engines, Wikipedia and different spell check software have replaced a lot of print. But what about search engines being better than the FDA in researching side effects of common drugs? Well search is now excelling in this area as well.

According to CNET, “So it may come as no surprise that scientists at Stanford, Columbia, and Microsoft have used Internet search data to uncover prescription drug side effects faster than the FDA’s current gold standard, the Adverse Event Reporting System. After all, the data miners had the activity of some 6 million Internet users at their disposal, whereas the FDA relies on physicians to notice and report problems.”

So, I may be preaching to the choir here, but search engines have become such a part of our daily lives that sometimes it’s time to take stock and take notice. Yes, there are constant algorithm changes that SEO’s like myself and online business owners and entrepreneurs have to be mindful of, but search keeps improving and continues to help people get the info they need faster. Look for search in the health / medical sector continue to grow at a rapid pace.






Oct 152012

There is a new search engine that is catching a lot of eyes recently. It’s called Million Short and it reaches out to smaller websites.

The theory behind Million Short is that major search engine rankings are dominated by larger, older websites and thus many smaller, yet quality websites are all but invisible. Million Short changes this by letting you the user drop out the top million or top 100k, 10k, 1k, 100 search results.

This means that long tail rules on Million Short. The little guy finally has a chance to show. In one of my last blog posts I had talked about why handling your website as if the search engines didn’t exist was a bad idea. Well, Million Short changes the playing field (somewhat) in that you don’t have to have a 10 year old, well branded, authority domain with a mega million dollar budget to rank well.

There are a couple of other aspects of Million Short that I like. First, you’re not claustrophobic with advertising surrounding you on the results pages. Second, on the right panel instead of ads is a list of the results of the major websites that were removed from the listings.

Results for websites such as About.com, Amazon.com, Cafepress.com and even Wikipedia.org are removed, though with a click of a button you can put them back in if you like.

The one downside that I observed was that sometimes when I type in an exact domain name into the search box (such as yourdomain.com) Million Short doesn’t pull up that website.

But, all in all, Million Short is one of my favs to pop up in recent history in regard to new search engines. Give it a test drive yourself and let me know what you think.