Search engine giant Google has acquired semantic search start-up Metaweb.
Metaweb and its Freebase
Founded in 2005, Metaweb Technologies is a Californian-based company that develops Freebase, a free, massive, and collaboratively edited database of cross-linked data, in order to create a system for building the semantic web.
Freebase allows anyone to contribute, structure, search, copy and use data. The database has information on over 12 million things, including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, companies and more.
Metaweb actually helps site owners, bloggers, and developers make their sites richer. It enables them to easily and intelligently add content from across the Web. In this way, they can access third party content from leading sources like Twitter, Hulu, and many more.
Check out this video presenting Metaweb and its Freebase:
Google to improve search
By acquiring Metaweb, Google clearly wants to improve its own search offerings. Metaweb's Freebase contains millions of tagged data which will help make Google search smarter.
Understanding queries and web pages is necessary to improve search. As you know, the web isn’t only words, it’s information about things in the real world. Google wants to understand the relationships between real-world entities in order to deliver relevant information more quickly.
A few weeks ago, Dassault Systèmes acquired French search engine Exalead also involved in semantic processing.
Google AdWords will remain incompatible with foreign URLs in the short run according to Google AdWords team.
Google AdWords doesn't support foreign URLs
As you know, only latin characters are currently used in URLs. This restriction doesn't enable any URL to be written in Chinese, Japanese, Russian or Arabic for example.
The situation will change soon after Internet's chief domain name authority ICANN approved International Domain Names (IDNs). It means that websites will be able to have their URL using foreign characters.
For the time being, Google AdWords doesn't support IDNs. For instance, if you want to place an ad for domain names such as 中国.com, your ad will be considered as invalid.
Google AdWords isn't ready to list IDNs
When will Google allow IDNs to be listed in AdWords? The question has been asked to Google AdWords team on their forum. It took them a few months to reply but here is their response: Google Adwords has no plan to support foreign URLs in the "foreseeable future".
They explain that there is currently a very low demand for the ability to advertise on domains using foreign characters. Enabling IDNs avertising would require too many resources compared to the number of potential advertisers.
What's Google waiting for?
In the future, it's clear that online advertising will have to support foreign URLs. There is an inevitable language shift on the web: foreign languages like Chinese are going to be more and more spread over the Internet and URLs. Online advertising platforms would undoubtedly miss some business if they don't allow IDN's ad listing.
That's why Google's response is quite surprising to me. I can understand that Google isn't eager to invest plenty of resources right now in order to allow ad listing for international domain names. However, having no plan at all is something different.
Google's saga in China continues
As you know, latest January, the US company announced its willingness to stop filtering its search results in China. In March, Google decided to redirect all queries from its Chinese site to its Hong Kong site.
Google's ICP license expired June 30th, and the US company had to renew it in order to continue operating in China. However, the automatic redirection to the Hong Kong site was seen as 'unacceptable' by the Chinese government. The search giant decided to stop automatically redirecting its Chinese users and created a dedicated page on google.cn in order to have more chances to get its license renewed.
The move was apparently well accepted by the Chinese government which gave Google the permission to continue its activities in China.
Google China: what's next?
Google accounts for about 31% of the Chinese search market. However, Google has been loosing market share against its main competitor Baidu which took full advantage of Google's moves.
The question is now to see what Google's next moves will be. Its current Chinese page offers few services: search (on Hong Kong site), music, translation and shopping. But Google promised to add other services to the page very soon.
Google has acquired airline IT and services provider ITA Software for $700M.
Google enters travel business
The acquisition enables the US search company to enter the travel information business.
Founded in 1996, ITA Software is a travel industry software company providing flight information to airlines, travel agencies, and online reservation systems.
Travel market is a huge segment of both search and eCommerce. ITA Software's acquisition should be a first step for Google to launch a travel search on its own. Nevertheless, Google said it didn't want to sell airlines tickets to customers but create "new flight search tools".
Bing to pay for Google's services?
Many travel actors rely on ITA Software: Microsoft's Bing, Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz and many more. Google's rivals even tried to counter the offer because they didn't want the company to be out of Google's hands. Too late, unless US regulators say that Google-ITA deal doesn't comply with US anti-trust law.
Google promised to honor its existing agreements with partners. In that case, it'd mean that Bing will pay Google for travel information. Not sure Microsoft is ready to do so...
Google I/O 2010 hosted a SEO site review on May 20 in San Fransisco. Google I/O is an annual web developer-focused conference.
SEO experts, Matt Cutts, Tiffany Lane, Greg Grothaus, and Vanessa Fox reviewed several websites and gave SEO tips in order to optimize the websites for search.
Here is the video of the session:
Matt Cutts gave very simple SEO advice as well as more tricky SEO tips. Here are some reminders on how to optimize your website for search:
- Think what users will type when searching for your services and put those words on the page (entering text on your website pages is something you should always keep in mind).
- If you have pages with many images but without any text, it can be a good idea to allow comments and reviews, so that it generates content in your pages. Users will enter keywords in the comment for you ! See also our previous post on how to optimize your images for Google image search with 'alt text' and 'title tag'.
- Provide original content, so your visitors would like to come back to your website. Pages with duplicate content will rank worse than pages with original content. However, does Google really detect duplicate content ?.
- You can also stand up from the crowd by choosing an orginal domain name that can be more more brandable. It doesn't have to be the same kind of name as anyone else.
- Web CMSs such as WordPress and Drupal provide keywords in your page URL by default and this is very good for SEO. However, keep your version up-to-date to avoid getting hacked.
- When you write a page URL, prefer dash (or period) over underscore. If you write a_b, Google will index one term, but most people tend to type 'a b', not 'a_b'. Read also our article about how to optimize Chinese URLs for Baidu.
- Having backlinks to your site is crucial for good ranking. However, you don't have to fight for each individual backlink. The best way to get backlinks is to provide content with value that differentiates yourself from the crowd and lead people to link to your pages.
Google has just published a SEO Audit (Search Engine Optimization) which analyzes 100 Google product pages, and the results are not as good as expected... it seems Google is not so good at optimizing their own websites (at least, not like seo pros).
Title tags: "html <title>" is one of the most important part of a webpage SEO, well, only 10% of their product pages actually follow "SEO Best practices". Indeed, most of their pages contain only the product name without any keywords or relevant tagline.
About meta-description tags, 67% of them are missing. That's why some of Google products appear on search engine result pages (SERP) without any relevant information or keywords.
To be efficient on search engines result pages, it is necessary to use the right keywords on title tags and put relevant content on meta-descriptions. Without these elements, it's difficult to understand what is the aim of your pages, and in this case, what is the Google Sky service all about? ;o)
About headings, Google say that 43% of their "<h1>" tags need improvement. h1 tags are important for SEO and usability because they state what a page is about. Many Google pages use "<h3>" or custom font styling tags instead of "<h1>" !
Google's SEO audit also points out some issues in their permanent redirections and most of them are linked to the trailing slash. Indeed, some of their product pages are accessible through "www.google.com/PRODUCT1" and some others with "www.google.com/PRODUCT1/" without redirecting. So when those 2 URL are crawled by search engines, that content is indexed twice creating a duplicate content issue.
The audit from Google shows that 39% of their logo images don’t link to appropriate URLs, furthermore, some of them link to nonexistent URLs (404 error pages!). Additionally, 18% of Google’s products logos don’t have an "alternative text" tag, which is required by the W3C coding standards.
Google likes SEO now !
Google seems to be more and more interested in optimizing their own products so we guess that they will fix these mistakes very soon. However, optimizing the "on page factors" (the text and content on your web pages) is not enough.
If Google decides to follow our SEO practices, they could rank on the first position for queries like "search engines" on Google.com...
That’s why I invite Google engineers and everyone who is interested in SEO to subscribe to our RSS feed and to follow our blog.
Follow that link to download the Google SEO Audit
Let’s think as a search engine.
Let’s think as a search engine.
1) Do you use analytics on all your websites with the same google account? Then google knows all these sites are more or less yours.
According to the Business to Business Survey 2007 by Enquiro, 65.3 percent of b2b buyers say they would start their research for a company with a general search engine. So, it is important to be high ranked in search engines (but this, we all knew it before).
The new thing is that search engine optimization is changing, because search engines are changing. Google now integrates google maps in its natural (organic) SERP (search engine reponse pages). So if I am in a location, and I type that location, I can find the closest service to me.
If I type hotel Beijing, he’s gonna show me google maps with hotels in Beijing, instead of just giving me web sites with the words hotel and Beijing in them.
Yes, it sounds cool, and the service for the user is improved… but it also means that if you have a company, you have to appear in these google maps reponses. You want an example, check the picture at the bottom of the post.
Yes, them.pro website is second when you type web development company in Beijing, and they are right, because… we are a web development company in Beijing! (Actually, the first company is not a web development company, so we should get rid of them soon ;o)
Question : what happens if you lie about your address? Say I am an offshore company in india, but I want customers from silicon valley, what if I indicate that I am in silicon valley, how can google find out? There is no answer yet … or maybe you do have one, then please put a comment to let me know.
After social media, I bet this is gonna be the next BIG THING in online marketing. Now when you think of Search Engine Marketing, also think about Geo targeting and geo localisation (but you were doing this also before right?).
Search engines are changing, SEO is changing, are you changing?
The goal of a search engine is to give the best answer to a search query in the minimum time. That is their reason TO BE, and AltaVista died because Google came with more ... accuracy. That’s it, that's the business.
Now, in the "assemblee nationale" the French most important chamber of representatives, they voted a new law which says "search engines have to give a better ranking to legal offers".
It's an attempt to decrease online music and movies piracy. i say an attempt, because of course, it cannot work, and here are SOME of the reasons why :
1) You are asking the search engines to change their... algorithm! You touch the very essential, the core of what makes their glory or their doom. And of course, they won't change it to please the French parliament. if
They become less accurate, they lose customers, so they lose money...
2) Who will decide what to promote and what NOT to promote? the new HADOPI structure? the French government? on which objective element?
- Elysee (French president office): hello Google, please give more importance to "la fnac" and less importance to "dailymotion" because la fnac has no copied content...
- Google guy : sure no problem mister president, do you want us to rank elysee.fr higher than whitehouse.gov for your convenience as well ... :o)
I just speak here of the SERP (search engine response pages) aspect, without talking of the many MANY other problems this law creates
(by the way, wasn't it supposed to solve problems.... hum, anyways).
You're guilty of spamdexing when you use several forbidden technics to trick search engines like google or baidu, to be ranked among the firsts while you shouldn’t.
Let’s take an example : say you sell cars. But you’re eager to have the maximum traffic you can have on internet, even though you just sell cars. If you try to be first on “chocolate”, if you use shadow pages “pages just with keywords”, then you do spamdexing.
I don’t want to show all the technics you can use here, I just want to explain than you should NOT be doing it for several reasons :
- The traffic you get is NOT targeted traffic, so it costs you bandwith and brings you NOTHING. So why the hell would you bother.
- You can be banned from SERP (search engine response pages), and sooner or later, you will be if you do spamdexing. Yes, you’re website will not appear on google for the keywords you were hunting, but for pretty much all the other keywords as well. And this hurts doesn’t it …
- You deceive visitors, and therefore you also hurt your brand. Is it really worth it?
You have to think as a search engine first. The goal of a search engine is to give the most accurate response. If you’re not, if you’re website is not, then, no need to appear in those pages. Focus on your customers to grow, and yes, I bet you what you want that “NO, you don’t reach all your potential customers yet”. So leave spamdexing behind and start the smart and hard work.
It’s not easy… but this time, it definitely worths it…