Tag Archives: Search Engines

[Editorial] Should You Use Bing’s Disavow Links To Report Spam Links Pointing Towards Your Site?

The Penguin update, Google’s latest algorithmic tweak takes over optimization very seriously. To be precise, Penguin has been addressed to answer the ever expanding issue of link spam; this algorithmic change lowers the ranking of sites who use unfair means to gain higher ranks in Google search results. (e.g there are sites who try to rob the so called “PageRank” through repetitive anchor texts.)

Penguin, apart from filtering over optimized sites, also scans for possible violations of Google Webmasters quality guidelines. If you have a website which has been intentionally over optimized, has a good number of paid links / reciprocal links, the chances of getting hit by a forthcoming Penguin update is very high. In fact, almost unavoidable.

Probably the worst thing regarding Penguin update is that there is no way you can prevent the upcoming massacre, as you don’t have control on who links to you. This has evoked the concept of negative SEO and many webmasters have this question – Can competitors harm my site through spam links? What is the procedure to tell Google that these links that point to my site are spam, I have not bought them and I dont want them to be associated with my site? I want to tell Google that I am not behind these links and my website should not be a victim of any algorithmic update.

Google: We Will Figure Out Spam Links On Our Own

Google’s classical reply is “You don’t have to worry about who links to you, we will figure it out on our own. We have our own judgement, methodologies and algorithms in place, as reliance on manual feedback from every single site owner is practically impossible. If some spam source is linking to your content and you see thousand of incoming links out of nowhere, you may want to file a spam report.”

However, Google Engineer Matt Cutts has recently said in a video that there are situations when a competitor can actually “behave like a competitor” and try to harm your site.


Matt said:

“Whenever we write an algorithm, e.g which looks at incoming links, we do think about what if a competitor tries to hurt someone else. We try to put in code to make sure that this practice is not easy to do, its not the case that someone can hurt someone else that easily. As a result, we haven’t really felt the need to add a feature in Google Webmaster tools which allows the webmaster to send us a list of links that Google should not trust or count upon. Maybe we will do it down the road but at least for the time being, we are not offering this feature.”

Bing: Tell Us About Unnatural Links From Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing has played white and made the first move, announcing a new feature in Bing Webmaster tools which allows webmasters to disavow links that are unnatural, spammy or completely created from “junk”.

Starting today, you can use your Bing webmaster tools account to tell Microsoft the sources who are maliciously linking to your website. There are situations when a spam site, a porn site or a low quality site rips you off and links to random pages on your site, so now you can tell Bing – “Hey, please do not count these low quality links, I don’t trust them and I have good belief they have been created by a spammer.”

An excerpt from the post:

Using the Disavow Links tool, you can easily and quickly alert Bing about links you don’t trust.  Using the drop-down, you can choose to input signals to us at the page level, a directory level or at a domain level.  We’ll note the “type” of location (page, directory or domain) and the date you told us of the action.

So if you’re paranoid about link spam and want to play it safe, you may want to send the entire list of spam sources to Bing. Please note that Bing team has clearly stated not to expect a dramatic change in search results, just because you’re using the “Disavow links” tools from Bing Webmaster tools. Your action will help Bing understand your intent and thoughts about links that are pointing towards your site, everything else will obviously be in Bing’s hand, not yours.

Verdict: Haters Gonna Hate, Spammers Gonna Spam – Just Do Your Thing!

If you ask me, I would not worry about it at all because this is something beyond my control. A hundred spam sites is okay but in reality, the number is quite high and keeps on increasing every single day. Reporting spam is a vicious circle and a complete waste of time, if your site is a bit old and has decent traffic.

But there can be situations when you’re left with no other choice. For example, your site got hit by a Penguin refresh, you analyzed the logs and found that organic traffic from Google and Bing has tanked. You can try and see if things work out but in general, I would not worry about it that much.  It is best not to worry about something which you can’t control but to make your own thing better, provide a good user experience and polish it until the shine returns.

Setbacks are part of the business, it is just a matter of time when you will take the right steps and the results will reflect on their own, without you having to knock doors of every other search engine on earth.

You know, Karma is awesome!

Can’t Touch This! MC Hammer Introduces New Search Engine – WireDoo

In an effort to show the world that he is still too legit to quit, MC Hammer introduced his newest endeavor – WireDoo! The announcement was made at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco yesterday. News.com.au reports that the rapper-turned-internet-pioneer’s company slogan is “Search once, see what relates”.

Tweet

MC Hammer admitted that the world didn’t need another search engine but that WireDoo is “about relationships beyond just the keywords”. Apparently, this new service will strive to find content surrounding the key words entered. It will use “deep search” and “relationship search” technologies to get better results. At this time, the details are vague. As you can see from the picture below, WireDoo is not yet available. You can sign up for their beta test and they will notify you when they are ready.

 

Sign Up

MC Hammer is currently CEO of Alchemist Management, a mixed martial arts management and marketing company. The “About” section of their website describes him best, saying, “Legendary music icon and master of reinvention MC Hammer is CEO of Alchemist Management. Most recently, Hammer became one of the most influential personalities on the social media platform Twitter with over 1.8 million followers.” Wow, who would have ever thought that. I guess that rebel spirit of his is the secret of his success.

MC Hammer
Courtesy of Alchemist Management Website

There is a disappointing lack of information on the Web 2.0 Conference’s website. I am not sure if there are legal issues that surround posting videos of the rap mogul, or whether they are simply not taking him seriously. I am very curious to see where his newest endeavor takes him. It may not reinvent the web, but I think it will be fun to watch.

What do you think? Will this new endeavor go the way of parachute pants, or will it be a roaring success?

 

Looks Like Bing and Twitter are Renewing the Search Deal

So, this one’s fresh off the Web’s water-cooler that is Twitter. Bing and Twitter did a Twitter conversation that hints at a renewed search deal between the two, or at least some announcement around the same.

(Read from bottom up to the top)image

While this is also a dig at Google who lost the search deal, it could just pave way for a fresh announcement around Bing-Twitter deal. While Bing has made good strides in several search verticals like travel, it struck a fine deal with Twitter two years ago that allows it to use Twitter data for its real time search queries. Twitter’s search, for all it’s worth, is far from being useful allowing searching only past few tweets. Bing had earlier also integrated social information from Facebook within the search results making them more relevant.

image

While this conversation was on, Stefan Weitz, Director of Bing at Microsoft added fuel to the fire by posting a message to Jessica Verrili who handles Business & Corporate Development at Twitter.

While Twitter and Bing do the harmless flirting in the preview, I’ll grab some popcorn and wait for the show reel.

Move over, Yahoo Yodel. In Europe, it’s Time to Bing.

As part of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance, from August 3, Yahoo! search results in Europe will be powered by Bing. Yahoo! will be migrating organic search results for its European properties to the Bing search index.

Yahoo - Microsoft Search Alliance

Organic (also referred to as algorithmic) search results are the non-paid listings found on the main body of the Yahoo! search page. This transition will happen for Yahoo UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. At this time, Yahoo! is not transitioning paid search results to Microsoft Advertising adCenter and companies can continue using their Yahoo! Search Marketing accounts.

In August 2010, a similar transition happened for Yahoo.com. After the transition, there were no changes in the branding or search experience, except a Powered by BingTM‘ text in the footer of the search page.

If you are a webmaster and organic search results bring traffic to your site, you are advised to compare your organic search rankings on Yahoo! Search and Bing for the keywords that drive your business and check for any potential impact to your website traffic. You might also want to check if you need to modify your paid search campaigns. Also, if you are not using the Bing webmaster tools, it is a good idea to do that now to ensure your site is prominently listed in both Yahoo! and Bing organic search results.

Facebook Comments Plugin Could Deprive Your Site Of Google SEO Juice

recently launched a new commenting system for websites and blogs which allowed website owners to add a commenting system to their blog posts.

No SEO Facebook Comments

The idea is very good considering that Facebook now has around 600 million users on the web and it would allow a user to comment with ease while allow them to also post those comments to Facebook itself. Facebook comments plugins also has a lot of other nice features like automatic plugin ratings based on likes and comments among other things.

However, the new Facebook commenting system also comes with a catch. The comments are only accessible to Facebook and cannot be indexed by Google or any other search engines for that matter.

Facebook Comments Bad for SEO and Webmasters

Commenting plays a big part on any blog allowing users to discuss a topic or add their own opinions to one. However, in addition to that comments are also a important part of SEO for a website, because they add value to it and Google often uses them while rating a webpage in their search results.

A very insightful post on Blind Five Year Old discusses this issue in depth and talks about how users comments are owned by Facebook. In fact I don’t think that even a webmaster has a way to export their comments from Facebook and integrate it in your own backend. This is a definite put-off for me since I would like to have control over data for my site.

Of course Facebook will more likely than not address these issues in the future, but it might take time. As of now, I feel that the Facebook comment plugin makes more sense on static websites which do not have a commenting system. I would definitely have loved to have tried out the Facebook comment plugins on the site, but these two pitfalls seem to be too big to ignore.

Do you use the Facebook comment plugin? Would you use it in future considering that you might lose out on Google rankings as well or not be able to re-import the comments to your blog? Do let me know through your comments.

Google Launches Instant Previews for Search Results

Looks like Google wants to go the instant way for everything. After launching , they have now added a new feature to Google search which will display instant previews to users for search results.

Google Instant Previews

Google had started testing Instant previews in early October, with more widespread tests in end of October. The feature was finally released to public earlier today. With Instant previews, users will be able to see a graphic overview of a search result which highlights the most relevant sections related to the search terms.

This is definitely a good thing because it will now allow users to preview pages before they actually visit it. However, from a webmaster point of view this might reduce the number of clicks you see to your website.

Here are some of the key features of Google Instant Previews:

  • Quickly compare results – A visual comparison of search results helps you pick the one that’s right for you. Quickly flip through previews to see which page looks best.
  • Pinpoint relevant content – Text call outs, in orange, will sometimes highlight where your search terms appear on the webpage so you can evaluate if it’s what you’re looking for.
  • Interact with the results page – Page previews let you see the layout of a webpage before clicking the search result. Looking for a chart, picture, map or list? See if you can spot one in the preview.

Instant Previews is currently not available for everyone and will be rolled out gradually to users across the world in the next few days.

Bing Real-Time Live Search Mocks Google Streaming Results

The world is waiting for Google to unveil the new real-time search as you type in the Google Press Conference scheduled in some time. You can also try out the Google Real-time search as you type, however, Microsoft Fan, Long Zheng has created a similar Live search experience using Bing’s API and Ajax.

Bing Real-time Search Results by Long Zheng

This is definitely a slap on the face for Google who have been working on the streaming search results for a while now, however, unlike the efforts Zheng put in, Google might have done a lot more.

So is the Google Streaming Search better than Zheng’s Bing Real-time live search? You can try both for yourself and decide by visiting Google’s streaming search results here and Zheng’s Bing Live Search here.

Try Google Real-time Search Results As You Type

Google will be holding a press conference today to unveil new search features including the Search as you type results. However, you do not have to wait till Google unveils it to the public to start using it.

google_instant_search_results

Google’s Instant Search results page is already up and you can use it to see how the new interface works by heading to this URL. Using the search box provided, you can type in your search query and the results will update as you type.

I tried it out for several queries and not only is it super-fast, it also is very useful when you might not be sure what exact search keywords you should use. This is fantastic, go give it a try here.

(Source: TNW)

Yahoo Starts Testing Microsoft Search Listings

Quite recently, we told you that Yahoo was going to start testing with Microsoft soon, and today, they have officially announced that Yahoo is now testing organic and paid search listings from Microsoft’s Bing powered search backend.

Yahoo has begun testing displaying organic and paid listings using Microsoft’s search engine Bing. The only difference between the older and newer search is that the results will no longer be served by Yahoo, however, the interface and design of Yahoo search will remain the same.

yahoo_microsoft_search_testing

As seen in the screenshot above, the organic search results in the yellow boxes are powered by Microsoft and include a mix of both organic and paid listings, the rest of the content on the page is still processed by Yahoo themselves. Right now, the Microsoft powered search listings will only be displayed on Yahoo web search.

However, Yahoo is also planning to include the Microsoft powered search listings on Yahoo! Mobile properties. Yahoo plans to roll out full Microsoft integration to all US and Canada users by August/September timeframe. More at the Yahoo! Search Blog.

Bollywood Songs Free Download Online

If you are a Bollywood music fan, you might love to listen to some of the latest and hip music from the new and old movies. Listening to music online is one of the best options these days because many people usually spend a lot of time online these days.

Bollywood Music Dhingana

Dhingana is one of the best sites to listen to Bollywood songs free, users can also download some free Bollywood music through Internet cache if direct downloads are not available. Dhingana allows users to listen to Bollywood Songs free online without any limits.

Other than that, you can also listen to free Online radios online where you can listen to lot of the latest songs including many new English songs. If you are a Indie music fan, check out some Fantastic sources for Indie Music. You can also search and download Songs free using some excellent MP3 search engines.

If you are looking to watch Bollywood movies online, check out some ways to watch Bollywood movies online. You can also watch Hindi channels from India Online Free or on the and last but not the least also see 7 Ways to Watch Movies on Internet Free legally.

Get a Customized Browser Start Page and Search Experience With Favitt

So you have got a search engine’s home page bookmarked as your browser start page. You are not alone, most of the web users have a tendency to bookmark Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines as their browser start pages. This is because they want one click access to an interface where they can search for anything they want.

Why not customize the search experience a little bit and take it to the next level? Why not tweak some settings, add the features you use the most, remove those whom you don’t need and create a personalized search experience ? Favitt is one of the few sites which lets you do exactly that.

Favitt lets you completely customize your search experience and gives you a personal browser start page. You can add multiple search engines, popular websites and other sources in the Favitt start page and quickly use the tabs to search a particular site.

Imagine a scenario: You want to search Amazon for products, Google for blog posts, YouTube for videos, Flickr for images, Wikipedia for research and so on. You have to open all these sites in different browser tabs, type the keywords one by one and hit search. Favitt reduces this clutter and lets you search multiple search engines from one place.

When you go to the Favitt homepage, you see a search box, a list of search engines and a nice background, as shown below, you can also customize the  by uploading your own image and using it as a background.

favitt-browser-start-page

Type the keywords and select the search engine from the list to search a specific search engine. You can add or remove sources by using the More button placed at the right of the search box.

Once you perform a search, simply click the links of different search engines from the sidebar and the search results from these sites are fetched in the same browser tab. You don’t have to open multiple tabs and type the same keywords over and over again.

search-multiple-search-engines

If you sign up for a free account on Favitt, you get a personal browser start page for free. A personal browser start page has several advantages. First, your browser start page is accessible from any computer, you don’t have to install any extension or plugin to get started. All you have to do is type the vanity URL of your Favitt account and the start page is ready to be used.(see example)

Second, you can add a list of favorite sites in the start page and can access them with a single click. You don’t have to use an online bookmarking service like delicious or Google bookmarks.

Favitt also lets you upload images from your computer or a web URL and set them as the background of your start page. Upload a set of images and Favitt will automatically rotate these images on a daily basis. Cool!

Overall, Favitt is one of the best sites to customize your search experience, add or remove sources, spice up the page with backgrounds and more.

Fake Warnings and Hoaxes on Facebook – Are You Smart Enough to Avoid Them?

joker Every time I hear about a new scam or hoax on Facebook, I have to wonder how people can fall for these. Don’t be fooled, a few minutes of research can save you some embarrassment. Here’s an example of one of the hoaxes that’s been going around.

Fox 4 news reported… ATTENTION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! do not join the group that runs currently on facebook with the title “becoming a father or mother was the greatest gift of my life” This is a group created by pedophiles whose aim is to access your photos!!!!!!!…!!!!! Please rotate …this post to all Your Friends on Facebook xx

In truth, there were no groups started by pedophiles. It was all a big hoax, but it got passed along in Facebook and email so often that it took on a life of it’s own. Originally, there were no groups with that name or a similar name, but some other pranksters created similar groups, just to see how much trouble they could start. It even got to the point where people were creating groups to protest the original (hoax) groups. I was tempted to laugh when I read about this hoax, but I’m also sad that there are so many people ready and willing to post stuff like this in their Facebook page or email.

Read the truth about the Pedophile Group Hoax

Here’s another one – would you pass on this picture and description?

Whale swallows man in kayak

kayak-in-mouth-of-whale

Find out the truth behind this photo.

I found out about these hoaxes from an old friend of mine, Brett Christensen. He runs a website, newsletter and Facebook page that reveals the truth and the lies behind many of the rumors, hoaxes and scams you see in email and Facebook.

If you don’t want to be fooled, it only takes a minute or two in a search engine to find the truth. I recommend going to three different sites to perform a quick search before you pass on the next fantastic message you get.

Search Hoax-Slayer

Snopes.com

Scambusters

I also recommend signing up for the email newsletters from Hoax-Slayer and Snopes.

Hoax-Slayer newsletter (monthly)

Snopes newsletter (weekly)

In case you want up to date info, here’s the Facebook page for Hoax-Slayer that Brett maintains. Just post a question on his wall and he’ll probably answer back with all the facts he can find.

It’s not a sin to be fooled by an email or Facebook post. However, you won’t be gaining any friends and credibility by passing on stupid rumors and hoaxes. Take the time to check them out.

I’ve never been fooled by a hoax or a scam in Facebook (or email), have you?

Google Enables Encrypted Search Using SSL or HTTPS

Secure Sockets Layer which is regularly known as SSL is a norm for protecting data from being interpreted by third parties and has been in use for a long time. However, you might not be accustomed to seeing https on regular sites, but have come across them on a banking website.

To add to that, you can now also start searching securely using Google, thanks to the introduction of their new encrypted Google web search feature accessible at https://www.google.com

Google SSL Encrypted Search Beta

The search experience between the regular search engine and the encrypted search engine will almost remain the same, except for the fact that people will not be able to snoop in on what you are searching while using the encrypted search. A visible change users will see when using the encrypted search is the new logo as you will see in the image above.

So the next time you are thinking of searching for something and don’t want your neighborhood friendly salesman to know what you searched for, head over to https://www.google.com.

For more information on this, visit the official Google Blog post.

Google’s PAC-MAN Doodle Annoying Users To No End, May End Up Increasing Bing’s Market Share

I must start out with the fact that the PAC-MAN Doodle was probably one of the best I have seen in a long time, but for the next 48 hours there will be so many annoyed users who will switch from using Google to Bing, just because of the nuisance it creates.

Google Pacman Doodle

Google is no doubt celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday with a bang, however, the same bang can cause it to lose a good chunk of the search engine market in the next two days, which is how long the search giant is planning to run the Doodle on their home page.

There is no doubt that the Google Doodle is really cute and gives many people a chance to play the age-old popular game which is still famous, however, once everyone has had their fills, the annoying sound of the PAC-MAN game will come to haunt you when you want to search.

Take for example this recent comment where Julesc was so annoyed with the Google homepage that she decided to use another search engine, along with pointing us out to the fact that many users are now searching for ways to stop that annoying sounds.

This goes on to show that no matter what you do, you are bound to irk quite a few people on the way, however, I must admit that I personally don’t visit the Google homepage to search and use address bar to satisfy my needs, however, there will be several annoyed users who end up on Google.com and quietly make their way to Bing.com.

What was Google’s mistake in this, plain simple, they forgot to add an option to allow users to turn off the sound, which is forcing users to turn their speakers off. Now thanks to Google, you can expect Bing to rejoice with the sound :-).

Update: Google has now finally added a mute button to the home page, if you have found the PAC-MAN sound annoying just go and click the sound icon and the problem should be solved.

The Safest Search Engine on the Web

I would like to nominate WOT-SurfCanyon as the safest search site on the web. This might be debatable, because there are a few dedicated search engines for children. However, kid-safe searches will not show you search results that any curious adult will want to see.

I define safe searching for adults, as being able to see everything, and yet be protected against sites that deliver malware, trojans and spyware. If you follow my definition, the WOT-SurfCanyon site is a search service that you may want to use.

Here’s a look at some search results for the most dangerous item you can search for, screensavers.

surfcanyon-wot-search

Please notice that there is a little green circle next to each search result. This is due to the WOT (Web of Trust) service that SurfCanyon is partnered with. If those circles are yellow or red, the search result is either risky or dangerous for different reasons.

There are two options at the top of the search results page which exclude certain results by default. Un-checking the check-boxes will allow you to see those results.

surfcanyon-exclusions

SurfCanyon also includes an icon next to each search result. The SurfCanyon icon looks like a little target with a blue arrow in the bulls-eye.

surfcanyon-bullseye

Clicking on the SurfCanyon bulls-eye will show you recommended search results based on the result you’ve chosen. This is a very nice feature, but I have not found it as useful as the WOT icon. Clicking on the WOT icon will give you more details about the website behind that search result.

I recently wrote about the WOT addon for Firefox, IE and Chrome browsers. It provides this safe search feature, but it does require that you use the addon. If you don’t want to install an addon to your web browser, the WOT-SurfCanyon search is exactly what you need to stay safe.

Sometime soon, I’ll tell you how to set SurfCanyon-WOT as your default search engine in Firefox, IE, Chrome and Opera. Until then, search safely!