Articles in The 'Search Engines' Tag


May 9 2008

While Microsoft walked away, Yahoo worked to make search safer.

by Michelle Stone

Despite the fact that Microsoft finally walked away from its takeover bid for Yahoo (a subject we’ve touched upon previously… not to worry, we’ll talk about the fallout as well), Yahoo continued with their “business as usual” approach. Yahoo Search partnered with McAfee, a leading web security company, to scan search results for dangerous websites.

While this step is new for Yahoo, it’s not new to the world of web search — Google introduced a similar protection in 2006, though the Google SafeSearch feature was aimed at screening for sites that contain explicit (i.e. adult-oriented) material, removing such sites from search results. Yahoo’s SearchScan feature takes safety to the next level.

Yahoo SearchScan uses McAfee’s SiteAdvisor technology to warn users about “potentially risky sites”. The service, which is switched “on” by default within the Yahoo Search page, warns users if they are about to click on a website that hosts viruses, spyware and spam. The warning appears as an on-screen alert, as shown here:

Yahoo Search Engine Results

The service is currently available as a free beta for Yahoo Search users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain

Yahoo’s SearchScan alerts users to the following security concerns:

– Browser Exploits / Hacking Risks — These types of sites can harm a user’s computer or install malware simply with a visit to the site. Such sites may use methods like browser hacks to infect a computer without any action on the user’s part.
– Dangerous Downloads — These sites may offer downloads with dangerous software like viruses or spyware embedded in them. This often comes bundled with other free downloads like screensavers, ringtones, games, or other software. SearchScan will display warnings next to search results for sites that offer such potentially dangerous software.
– Unsolicited Email — Users sharing email addresses with these types of sites may result in unsolicited or spammy emails. These sites may request users for their email address but then either send them unsolicited email, or in some cases, make users email addresses available to multiple domains to send users email. SearchScan will alert users to scanned sites that send unsolicited e-mails or inappropriately share e-mail addresses with third parties

Industry analysts at research firm IDC estimate that 67% of all computers have some form of spyware installed without a user’s knowledge . As viruses, spyware, adware, and other types of malware programs are often “hidden” inside innocuous-looking programs such as screensavers and toolbars, the Yahoo SearchScan feature helps to educate search engine users and web surfers in general to sites that may expose their computers to a security threat or may flood their inbox with spam. This enhancement to the Yahoo search engine, along with the dust settling from the Microsoft takeover falling through, can help Yahoo Search users surf the web a little more easily.

May 1 2008

The Search Engine Algorithm Stakes – Alexa and Dogpile Enter the Race

by Michelle Stone

As the big three search engines (Google, MSN, and Yahoo) have been so active of late, with advancements and proposals and deals flying back and forth between them, news on other search technologies available might have been missed. We’re going to take the opportunity now to welcome Alexa and Dogpile to the search algorithm stakes.

Ask anyone involved with search engine optimization about the web traffic monitoring and rankings service Alexa (which is a division of Amazon) and you may have the answer preceded by an exasperated sigh. While the downloadable Alexa toolbar has been used by many Internet users, from the casual surfer to webmasters, the fact that the ranking site had based its statistical information from the toolbar users alone was frustrating. Some of the functionality that Alexa offered with the way it served up this data was good, but the fact that the data was, for lack of a better word, “skewed” was the cause of much frustration. It was Alexa’s heavy reliance on user data that led to the sighing and grinding of teeth.

But this is no more. Alexa recently announced that it had completely revamped its ranking protocol. Alexa said it would be moving away from releasing data based solely on users of the downloadable toolbar, to ranking sites based on info from multiple sources. The new Alexa rankings are now based on more sources of data. This provides a much better indicator of website popularity, which in turn leads to better rankings as site popularity is more accurately reflected in the new and improved algorithms. Additionally, Alexa has introduced an improved methodology to provide consistently accurate rankings for all countries.

Not to be left behind, Dogpile (owned by InfoSpace) has also made improvements. Dogpile has not only updated their updated search algorithm, but also their site design and they now offer new partner content.

Dogpile’s updates include improvements in the blending of results (the importance of blended results has really come to the fore as a result of Google’s Universal Search), the addition of tabbed search categories on the home page, the launch of a “SearchSpy” social networking widget for Netvibes or iGoogle, deep links (which are along the lines of Google site links), and integrated content from new partner agreements

While the big three search engines continue to one-up each other in terms of relevance and functionality, the smaller search engines and web ranking tools are doing the same. Alexa and Dogpile have shown that they are listening to their users and are serious about continuing to upgrade their offerings and providing their users improved features and technology. As Google, MSN, and Yahoo push one another to be bigger and better, their advancements also serve to inspire the other ranking and search technologies in the market. It will be interesting to see who will be the next entry to this stage of the race.

April 28 2008

Having a website is only half the battle!

by MoreVisibility

In today’s era of internet savviness, it is almost unheard of to operate a business without having a website. Consumers are apt to feel as though your company is more credible when you have a professional looking website to reference and/or direct them to. That being said, having a website is only half the battle. There are a few mission critical items to consider if your intention is to maintain a long-term presence online:

Search Engine Marketing (SEM). You now need to market your site and make it visible in the search engines. A Cost Per Click (CPC) campaign will help to promote your site in the various engines such as: Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK, etc.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In conjunction with SEM, simultaneously incorporating SEO into the mix will help to supplement the cost of your paid efforts. Remember, all organic results equate to FREE traffic and who doesn’t want FREE traffic?

Return on Investment (ROI). Now that your site is visible and searchers are finding you through your SEM/SEO efforts, you need to determine how they are finding you and which specific keywords and search engines are giving you the best ROI. This is where a critical piece of the puzzle comes in place = Analytics. There are a number of analytic tools available today to measure online marketing performance. These tools will afford you the ability to make very educated decisions with your initiatives. Most tools will offer the functionality to ensure you are spending your advertising dollars wisely. Just a few variables an analytics tool can provide you with: bounce rate, conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment rate, percentage of new visitors versus returning, etc. Paying for clicks that do not convert into sales (or generate valuable leads) is a huge waste of money; especially given the state of the economy today.

Feel free to check out our Analytics Blog, which provides helpful tips and techniques to better understand web analytics: https://www.morevisibility.com/analyticsblog/index.php

A professional looking website + SEM +SEO + Analytics = $$$$$.

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