A summary of search related news items that occurred this week including SEOBook launches free SEO guide for blogs, Yahoo!’s merchant solution fails to deliver, crashing on Cyber Monday, AOL combines acquisition of Relegence with a newly redesigned Money & Finance site, Google caught experimenting with Digg style voting features on search results and finally, Facebook modifies Beacon advertising program in light of overwhelming concern over privacy rights.
- SEOBook Offers Free Guide To Optimizing Your Blog – Aaron and Giovanna Wall have put together a free SEO guide for blogs. Topics include “What Google Knows About Your Blog,” “Writing Clear & Compelling Headlines,” and “Use Push Marketing After Launching Your Site.” Why a separate guide for blogs? In their own words, “SEO for a blog is different than SEO for most other websites, largely because of the social elements baked into blogging technology. SEO for blogs is less about buying links or tricking inadequate search technology. SEO for blogs is more focused on giving people something to talk about and creating something worthy of attention.”
- Yahoo!’s Merchant Solutions Fails To Deliver on Cyber Monday - WebProNews reports that heavy holiday traffic crushed Yahoo’s Merchant Solutions service on Cyber Monday, leaving merchants angry and customers frustrated. “Some merchants are reporting that shoppers are receiving an error message indicating ‘system unavailable’ during the checkout process. We are aware of this issue and are currently investigating,” Yahoo advised merchants. One merchant had to post a telephone number for customers to call to place orders. Others waited fruitlessly for the situation to be corrected. The report did not say exactly when service was restored. The term “Cyber Monday” refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, Cyber Monday symbolizes a busy day for online retailers, but unfortunately not for those using Yahoo! e-commerce solutions.
- AOL Launches New Money & Finance Site - AOL is finally utilizing the acquisition of Relegence whom they acquired nearly a year ago in a redesigned Money & Finance site. Greg Sterling reports that the new site presents huge volumes of public data in a more dynamic, visual form, including a range of interactive charts and graphs. Included in his report is a review of the redesigned site complete with screen shots. One of the most interesting features is the “news search” capabilities that the Relegence acquisition brings to the new site, allowing users to customize news and data feeds that are updated in real time. From a consumer standpoint this free, real-time data is unique among consumer-oriented financial sites. Other sites offer somewhat comparable information but on a paid-subscription basis.
- Google Caught Experimenting With Digg Style Voting On Search Results - According to TechCrunch, Google was caught experimenting with Digg style voting features on search results that allow users to vote up or bury search results they see. This experiment, which is part of Google Labs, allows users to influence their search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results. When searching for the same keywords again, you’ll continue to see those changes. If you later want to revert your changes, you can undo any modifications you’ve made. At the moment the results of the program will only be stored per user and to tell you the truth, I don’t see it going beyond that as it would allow too much room for abuse.
- Facebook Modifies Beacon Program in Light of Overwhelming Protest - The New York Times reports a change in Facebook’s Beacon advertising program due to overwhelming criticism regarding users’ privacy. Within the last 10 days, more than 50,000 Facebook members have signed a petition objecting to the new program, which sends messages to users’ friends about what they are buying on Web sites like Travelocity.com, TheKnot.com and Fandango. Members wanted to be able to opt out of the program completely with one click, but Facebook would not allow them. Now that has been reversed. While the Beacon program will still function the same way, users have to “opt in” as opposed to having to “opt out.”