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Friday, November 28, 2008

SEO Accessibility for Visually Impaired Visitors: OdioGo

For years I've been interested in SEO as it related to web accessibility issues. After doing some initial research into how SEO was tied to accessibility, I wrote an article (linked above) suggesting that they are so closely linked they should be married. So far I've found little interest among clients in making their sites fully W3C Compliant for Accessibility, due to the low volume of blind visitors to their web sites.

Visually impaired web visitors often use special screen readers to allow them auditory access to web page text content. But today I stumbled across a tool that makes text content accessible, not only to visually impaired, but to anyone who'd rather listen than read. So there is actually little to no SEO benefit to the audio option discussed here.

This makes "Accessible" have another meaning - as in accessible to those who prefer auditory to visual content. As a matter of fact, you can subscribe via iTunes if you like, among others.There is a great audio subscription page hosted by OdioGo, which gives visitors the option of listening to a stream of all posts or downloading individual MP3's.

As you may have noted, there is a "Listen Now" link right below the post title above, which plays an automated "Text to Speech" version of this blog post. I doubt there is any SEO benefit to that and since it is displayed using javascript, it won't work for those who surf with javascript turned off. That's a bit ironic, since accessibility is often opposed to content displayed using AJAX or javascript.

I've been interested not just in accessibility though - I'm interested in availability to all who might be interested, including those who don't happen to speak my language. I've recently installed the Google Translate widget on several of my websites for the benefit of those who seek my content in other languages (in the left shoulder on this blog).

Again, no value to SEO there, and there are no cached versions of those pages to get indexed in foreign search engines, but it does make the content available and useful for more people - who may use the AddThis "Share" button to bookmark - which leads to more external inbound links and higher rankings.

I guess it's a great illustration of the concept "Just create great content" and your audience will find you. In this case, those who speak other languages, and those who would rather listen than read your blog.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Demand Media @ Web 2.0 Conference 2008

The video below is Richard Rosenblatt at the Web 2.0 conference presenting on Demand Media Social Media tools. Pluck on Demand discussed and explained.

Full disclosure: I work for Demand Media.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Google Mobile Voice App Live: iTunes App Store

Just saw that the google Mobile App is live on the iTunes store. Even though it isn't apparently available as an update through the Application itself. Problem is that the link here doesn't work through the iPhone itself. Grrrrr. Have to wait until I get home to download and test it.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

AddThis Social Bookmark Widget for Open Web Award

I have been a strong advocate of the AddThis widget to ease social bookmarking since I first spotted it in September of 2006 and did an emailed interview of co-founder Dom Vonarburg here at RealitySEO.

Since then, it has spread like wildfire to major media sites like, CBS, ABC and a long list of web publishers that needed a scalable way to do link building. As you can see from this blog, I use it here at the foot of every post.

For me, the single AddThis dropdown widget has always been preferable to what I've heard called "Iconistan" - where sites show a collection of up to a dozen social bookmarking site icons on every article page.

This single tiny social bookmarking widget allows visitors to any site where it is used to bookmark the landing page easily at up to 39 social bookmarking services.

Here is an example inline so you can view details by hovering as you read.

Since the beginning, AddThis has offered publishers new tools, like branding the popup window which results if users choose the "more" option on the dropdown, customization of the sites shown in that dropdown, and tracking for publishers of how many times the widget is used by visitors and for which bookmarking services.

AddThis has constantly added new services to the pop-up as they have become popular and this makes it easier on publishers to keep up with the ever-evolving world of social media. The single tool gives you access to 39 social media sites in a single widget and adds trackability.

AddThis is the perfect win-win - ease of access to social bookmarking sites for users and trackability and link building scalability for publishers. Recently AddThis was acquired by ClearSpring and those added resources and reach will no doubt allow improvement of the tool.

I was happy to see that AddThis has been nominated for the Mashable Open Web Awards and, as a big fan of widgets, I want to make it possible for readers to vote using the widget below. Simply enter your email address and you'll receive a follow-up email from Mashable to confirm your vote.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Google iPhone App Gets Voice Search Upgrade

A New York Times article this morning breaks the story of an upgrade to the Google Search iPhone App, to be released today (and a Twitter Post from CNet last night).

If the app works anywhere near as well as the Google Demo Video below, the search world may be turned on it's ear, or maybe we'd say, it's voice.

Can't wait to try this, and although I've tried, via the iTunes App Store, to find this app or get the upgrade to my current version of the Google Search App, it's not showing up in either place yet. Stay tuned and I'll post the iTunes App Store link as soon as I find it working.

Update from TechCrunch says the App will appear on tomorrow, Monday October 17th.

Just saw via VentureBeat that the google Mobile App is live on the iTunes store. Even though it isn't apparently available as an update through the Application itself. Problem is that the link here doesn't work through the iPhone itself. Grrrrr. Have to wait until I get home to download and test it.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Search Mexico Vacation Spot: Google Earth iPhone App

World search with Google Earth on iPhone is now possible. I sincerely wish I'd seen this the day before leaving on my vacation cruise to Mexico last week, expecially because I could have overcome some strange GPS issues on my iPhone 3g when checking location while at sea, the iPhone GPS showed me in British Columbia anytime I was aboard the ship from just out of the Port of Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta. A quick check with the ship internet cafe manager at the start of my Mexican Riviera cruise got an "I don't know" when I asked why is my GPS showing me in British Columbia while on the ship?

So now Google Earth comes out with an iPhone App, that would have let me enter the latitude and longitude readings showing in the location information on my stateroom television channel. I could have zoomed in on Google Earth from those coordinates to see my location on a map had I downloaded the app before departing Los Angeles Harbor.

Grrr! So I'd still pay the .99 cents per minute international charge on my AT&T bill to view the data, but wouldn't have wasted the time going to the internet cafe each time I wanted to view maps while on-board. Below is a video demo I found at the Google Latlong blog which shows the App in action.

This Google Earth App for iPhone is incredibly cool. It's tied into the "My Location" function of the phone's GPS and shows you where on the earth you are currently when you touch the "Current Location" button in the lower left corner of the iPhone screen. There are interesting tie-ins with the iPhone accelerometer which change the satellite view on the map to let you tilt the phone upright to see the horizon relative to your location, then flat to see the downward view of the map location.

Now comes the search functionality. You can search any business near your current location - or nearby - or in any city you choose. This functionality makes many Apps, like the Where App I use to find Starbucks coffee shops, a bit redundant. Both use your location data via the iPhone GPS, but the Google Earth App brings search, and all the useful Google Earth functionality.

There are Panaramio photos incorporated into the App as well - which lets me post my own photographs to the app after vacation, as well as seeing the photos contributed by others for that location! I'm definitely investing in that eyefi card for my Canon EOS and will be enjoying geek travel on my next vacation via Google Earth, the iPhone, and geolocation of my vacation photos.

Here's my first view of my neighborhood using the
iPhone Screenshot App

iphone screenshot app

and the GPS feature to locate myself in the Google Earth App.

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