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Monday, June 30, 2008

Flash SEO Coming: Spammer Exploits Follow?

Flash SEO may soon be a service offered by search marketing firms and in-house teams will be scrambling to learn and leverage the latest tricks of SWF optimization. Adobe says:
We are releasing technology to Google and Yahoo that enables them to crawl and index SWF files. They are now searchable. This will open up millions of Flash files to search.

Google claims they developed the technology, but either way, it's clear that Adobe doesn't want the public to know what is in that technology made available to "Google and Yahoo" (What? No Microsoft?). I believe I'd like the opportunity to make technology available to Google and Yahoo to effectively search my own sites and those of my clients so I could sell more products to the public.

OK, Adobe owns web video format and isn't likely to sell Flash Optimization tools to the public that just happen to help optimize Flash which work well with that tool they released to Google and Yahoo as a part of their Flash Studio Suite - are they?

Enough cynicism - let's look at the effect this may have on SEO for Flash. White text on white background keyword stuffing in SWF files will be a lot harder to discover without that proprietary tool released to the search engines - but do you think anyone will attempt to game that?

Sorry I meant to drop the sarcasm - it snuck up on me again. Well now search engines will be able to "see" the text in Flash files and index it as though it were plain HTML on the page. Most SEO's know how hard it is to get their clients to actually USE the phrases they want to rank for on the page in plain text on the page (Sorry no javascript, no image based text, no AJAX, no "display=none" in CSS).

Well how likely is it we can get those same clients, now freed from the "No Flash" restriction we handed to them in regard to their navigation links and body text - to actually use their keyword phrases in indexable text in Flash? We'll have to have long conversations with Flash developers about best practices for Flash SEO, one group we didn't need to train in SEO previously.

Sorry to say, SEO's will all now need to purchase Adobe Flash Studio to deconstruct the text inside those flying, bouncing, twisting, spinning, turning letters, only to find out there is very little readable text in those files anyway. The links may be crawlable, but how does the custom Adobe algorithm treat hypertext embedded keyword phrases in Flash versions of image files?

Adobe, I see higher sales in your future.

Google and Yahoo, I see a lot of indexed spinning text under hyperlinks exposed to your flash indexing tool from Adobe.

Fellow SEO's, I see a lot of silly discussions with clients AND their flash developers about Flash SEO best practices and how they don't apply to image based text or double spaced spinning letters or white text against a white background in those Flash files. And I have to buy new software to have those conversations.

I have a headache already!

Adobe Press Release Here

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Washington Post Running Old Jerry Yang Search Ads

This is an interesting case of what appears to be a forgotten SEM Campaign at the Washington Post. I've been intrigued by Adwords campaigns which promote newspapers through headline keywords in search ads. Clearly they are meant to gain readership for those publications running the news-focused ads.

Since virtually all major pubs cover big stories like the Yahoo vs Microsoft acquisition fight, it isn't that odd to see search ads run against news. Here's an Adsense ad that popped up on a blog post I wrote pondering why everyone is out to lynch Jerry Yang. The ad simply uses the headline "Jerry Yang" and the copy reads "Yahoo CEO steps down, cofounder takes his place"

Now that isn't so odd that the Washington Post wants to advertise against news, but the odd thing is advertising against OLD NEWS. Did they forget this campaign? Who's managing those ads guys?

My headline on the post that produced that contextual ad was "NY Times as Yahoo Armchair CEO for Jerry Yang" so it is well targeted, just old, since it is currently pointing at the story about Terry Semel stepping down and Yang taking his place - which ran exactly one year ago at the Washington Post.

When I saw the ad, my heart sank, as I'm seriously opposed to Yang stepping down. I hope he displays as much fortitude against the rising tide of opposition to his leadership as he did against the monster Microsoft as they distracted him for 5 or 6 months from running his company. But when I visited the page the ad linked to, I felt relieved since it was inaccurate.

Should it be journalistically acceptable to run ads against news that is completely wrong? Yes, I know if you read it carefully, you'd figure out it's not likely Filo stepping in to fill Yang's shoes - but those ads are not meant to be read carefully - they rely on impulse. My immediate response was "Oh, NO! Say it ain't so!" when I looked at the display URL in the ad and it said

Fortunately, that ad was not what it seemed. But this suggests to me that search ads that are run against news headlines should be VERY carefully managed.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

NY Times as Yahoo Armchair CEO for Jerry Yang

The New York Times columnist Joe Nocera gives Jerry Yang a good talking down to in this week's "Talking Business" column titled, "Oh Jerry, It’s No Longer Your Baby". Lots of smug armchair CEO pretend-you-know-best blather here. Nocera may believe he understands search - but his expertise is corporate business affairs.

While it may seem like a sort of fun exercise in word play which treats a major CEO as a poor dumb shortsighted child, it is far more powerful when published in an International publication like the New York Times.Yang could be ousted by the board Monday morning because Nocera has verbally abused him (and therefore Yahoo) on that very big stage. So while Jerry can take his billions and retire comfortably as suggested in the column - Nocera can grin and gloat that he spoke his mind.

Yahoo search may be brought to it's knees if they have yet another leadership change before they can get down to business accomplishing all the things initiated under Yang in the past year since he took over for Terry Semel. I've liked what I've seen since Yang took over (despite the massive distraction of fending off Microsoft for 5 months). Give the man some time to implement those ideas and prove the value of his new initiatives.

I've said here on several occasions that I believe the new Yahoo Open Strategy (YOS) will have a hugely positive effect on the company and strongly believe that the new "Social" Yahoo is promising beyond all previous initiatives there.

Now that Ballmer and company have stopped, we can only hope that the proxy fight promised by Icahn will be dropped and if smug columnists who would run a major corporation remotely from their office 3000 miles away would back off and stay out of the mix - perhaps Jerry could do his job.

I see YOS as the best hope for massive success for Yahoo and not one person at Microsoft, nor nasty corporate raiders, nor smug columnists has any concept of how powerful an idea it is. They need to stop trying to bomb and burn down the house of Yahoo and give Jerry some space.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Twellow People Search for Twitter by iEntry

Interesting concept from iEntry Network appears to be a search engine for Twitter people which categorizes Twitter profiles and shows their last tweet, along with when it appeared (23 hours ago), your city, number of followers and that all important link to your site. That logo though, why does the smiley face (the "O" in Twellow) appear to have a wide-eyed embarrassed appearance, almost as though he were caught doing something inappropriate?

I'd argue for a winking Trickster characterization - who might be saying, "You are only as good as your last tweet." I guess since they now have the name and color scheme suggesting some kind of tie-in with the "Yellow" - it's gonna stay a yellow happy face, but that startled "Oops! You caught me!" look seems to almost suggest people say things they shouldn't on Twitter.

I had to laugh at my categorization too, it appeared under "Food" as well as SEO, I think because I say in my Twitter profile "Eat, Drink, Dream SEO" and it must use your self provided details to categorize people.
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

iEntry is promoting the site through a house ad in their emailed newsletters, or at least that's how I found it. The database seems to have been building since April as that is when most long-time Twitterers were added to the Twellow site. So the inevitable question of why - or "How do you monetize this?" We have Summize to search tweets, now we can search people at another place.

The site is still being crawled by Google as it only has 288 pages indexed as of this writing - if the entire catalog of users is indexable, it would exceed that little "315,795 people, and counting" in number of pages displayed in the upper right corner and would include more than just the current categories showing in a Google "site" limited search. Could use some SEO as well, since "User Profiles" are currently not showing title tags to match - simply "". At least they aren't putting "NoFollow" on the links to your site at this point. ;-)

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yahoo Open Strategy Unchained as Microsoft Wilts

Microsoft is backing off of the takeover attempt on YAHOO! So glad to hear it. The cultures clash, the combination would have been absurdly bad for search and Yahoo can now fully embrace and promote the YOS! (Yahoo Open Strategy) concept they've been discussing since the San Francisco Web 2.0 conference about six weeks ago.

I'm also glad to see that the silly Carl Icahn tantrum is over, and they he probably lost big money on the dumb proxy fight move. What was he thinking?

I've not been a fan of Yahoo due to their odd monetization and content corralling practices in which they insist on hosting content produced by others so they can advertise around it - and not even link back to the content producers in most cases. No wonder they weren't liked by most SEO's - they won't give links. They bought dozens of companies to gain the audience share, but let them die over time.

BUT! I've been excited by the prospects discussed at Web 2.0 by Yahoo around opening the network to developers and the ideas of others. It's a social network play that deserves to succeed in it's own way - a way that will be mostly determined by how freely those external developers and partners are allowed to create and explore the Yahoo network through YOS!

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