Google Sneakily Ignored Noarchive With Instant Previews

Google rolled out Instant Previews three months ago in November. After I looked over the new utility, it struck me as very odd that I found pages in Google search results that had no cached view of the indexed content, while they did have this new viewing option of a screengrab of the page.

For instance, quite a number of newspaper websites choose to disable the cached views of their pages. Just search for “newspaper”, and you can immediately see an example such as the New York Times:

Instant Previews view of New York Times homepage

As you can see, the listing in the Google search results for The New York Times has no link under it for “Cached”. However, it does have a magnifying glass — the Instant Previews button — which, when clicked, reveals a screengrab of the NYT homepage from Google’s copy of the page when they last spidered it.

The reason the New York Times doesn’t have a “Cached” link is that they purposefully set up Continue reading

What Would Your Dog Tweet?

An over-the-top Twitter service brings us “Puppy Tweets” — an electronic dogtag that sends signals to your home PC which then Tweets messages to you as though from your canine. As the website touts, if you ever wondered what your pet is doing while you’re at work, the Puppy Tweets tag will detect it and send you a specific Tweet. You’ll get such intelligent messages as “Lunchtime – I’m having a working lunch…”, and “I finally caught that tail I’ve been chasing…”.

Puppy Tweets

While it seems like Puppy Tweets is proof that social media is inane and SM is finally going to the dogs, there is a serious takeaway for online marketers. Continue reading

Trust Seals Could Bang Up Conversions For Local Websites

Internet 500 Retailers have been in-the-know about one secret key to online success for quite some time: trust seals. Trust seals are graphic badges which adorn the websites of companies and are awarded based on whether the company and/or website meets certain criteria, such as if they meet security guidelines, quality measures or if they have honorable business practices. There are a handful of better-known trust seal organizations which usually provide the assessment and seal service in return for a fee.

For internet marketers, there’s a really compelling reason why one should seriously consider paying the fees and going through the steps for obtaining a trust seal: they can inspire consumer confidence.

Some of the more popular website trust seals include Trust Guard, ValidSafe, Merchant Safe, TRUSTe, VeriSign, McAfee Secure, and VeriSign.

Trust Seals, Trustmarks

There have been a number of different academic researcher studies which have found that trust seals can improve rates for online purchases. In one research paper from 2001, Myth or Reality: Effect of Trust-Promoting Seals in Electronic Markets,” Xiaorui Hu, Zhangxi Lin, and Han Zhang found that the seals can encourage consumers to buy from storefronts they are not familiar with, and that the seals that consumers recognized more influenced them more. David Gefen’s earlier paper, E-commerce: the role of familiarity and trust,” also found support for the theory that trust seals influenced online book purchase decisions.

However, online website trust seals decended from their offline counterparts, which already had a long history, if not track record. In 1894, due to faulty electrical parts causing fires, the National Board of Fire Underwriters started performing the first tests on the combustibility of insulation materials — their mark was the Underwriters Laboratory or “UL” seal of certification. But, even before that, seals of quality, certifications, trustmarks, and seals of approval have been in use by tradesmen or service providers. Royal seals of approval likely date back a few hundred years more.

Although there is not as much research on the subject, Continue reading

Google Local Search Ranking Keys: Relevance, Prominence & Distance

Google LBC Shop IconGoogle disclosed their three primary types of signals for local search rankings this past month in a blog post on LatLong. In it, they flat out stated that these are: Relevance, Prominence and Distance.

For those who’ve been following our articles and conference presentations for the past few years, none of these broad categories of signals come as any sort of a surprise.

Although Google LatLong declares in their post’s title that it’s about “How Local Search Ranking Works”, they’re still understandably obscure for the most part, and avoid providing all that many specifics. There’s a natural tension between informing businesses on how to provide Google with ideal information necessary for ranking, and providing so much info that search engine optimization specialists have “undue advantage” (from Google’s perspective).

So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to list out a number of more specific factors which could feed into Relevance, Prominence and Distance. Read on for a refresher on local search ranking factors which likely could contribute to each of these.
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Protecting Your Blog From Copycats

A writer friend recently asked me if there was a way to make it so that people couldn’t copy blog content in order to repost it elsewhere, and what the online marketing implications would be. If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, chances are you’ve run into this issue.

Plagiarists, Writing Thieves, and Copycats
Photo CC Attribution Share Alike 2.5 by DrL

For instance, the story of a plagiarized blogger who was told by Cook’s Source magazine that she should actually pay for being ripped-off by them outraged the blogosphere this fall, resulting in the editor ultimately choosing to shut down the magazine entirely. And, even seasoned politicians may coopt other peoples’ content, despite the fact they should know better.

So, copyright infringement is definitely alive and well in the 21st century, and it seems particularly rife in the blogosphere where the casual and ephemeral nature of blog pieces seem to tempt IP thieves into adopting text and republishing it in their own names.

It’s so common, however, that it’s not likely that each and every incident will turn into a blogstorm of popular outrage like the writer who was plagiarized by Cook’s Source magazine. So, what’s to be done if you’re a writter who doesn’t want their stuff taken and used without permission?
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