Postscript, February 17: The CBC article cited below has reworded its article and now says the Canadian government is “reviewing” rather than “investigating” Buzz. A semantic distinction, perhaps, but there’s apparently no formal government investigation happening in Canada at the moment, so we’ve updated our headline, too. We’ve also received a statement from Google on this, and that’s appended at the end of this article. ————– After a “challenging” first week for Google Buzz, week number two has begun with still more concerns over privacy, not to mention a government investigation in Canada and the potential for one in the U.S., too. CBC News is reporting that Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner has opened an investigation into Google Buzz: Valerie Lawton, a spokesperson for the office, said on Tuesday that Buzz is being investigated to see whether it violates Canadian privacy … [Read more...] about Canadian Government Reviewing Google Buzz; U.S. Govt. Next?
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For years now, there has been some discrepancy between statements from Google Local engineers and general optimization advice from some local search marketers where reviews and ratings are concerned. So, what’s the skinny? Rating values may simply not affect your rankings. Read on to see why. Ratings Vs. Reviews A rating is usually a qualitative measure — essentially, a numerical score which a consumer selects when critiquing a business — such as on a 5-point or 10-point scale, or one to five stars, grades between “A” or “F”, or some other qualitatively measured scale between “poor” and “excellent.” A review is typically some text one has written about a business. The two are often used in the same breath when talking about rating or reviewing businesses, and the two activities are often combined in the same process when users are encouraged to provide feedback about a business. In this article, we’re primarily … [Read more...] about Should You Count Reviews & Ratings Out In Google Local Rankings?
In 2007, I took some heat for pointing out that Google Trends showed declining searches for “yellow pages” while theorizing that this indicated reducing consumer interest in print and online YP sites. About four years later, we can now look back and see whether this turned out to be a valid prediction, and also reflect on what value YP may still have for advertisers. When I wrote that earlier article, I was aware that connecting a major shift in overall consumer behavior to a graphed trendline of searches in Google was a little loose in terms of causality. There are many reasons why people search for a particular phrase, and many reasons why cumulative searches for the phrase can rise or fall. (Not to mention, there is uncertainty about what the actual volume of searches is in the graphs since Google obscures volume amounts, and there can be error in assuming that Google users reflect the same search patterns of users who may search elsewhere, such as in Bing.) I had some … [Read more...] about Are Yellow Pages Toast? Four Years Later We Review Ad Value
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a monthly series of book reviews by the Search Engine Journal editorial team. Join us each month to discuss our picks on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ using the hashtag #SEJBookClub and via the comments below. For our second SEJ Book Club, I read Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business (affiliate link) by Chris Ducker. For me, it was one of those books that you start reading and don’t put down until you’re done. I read it in two days between my regular work load and a road trip to see family, and it was a quick read with a ton of brusquely highlighted excerpts and dog-eared pages. I’m glad I bought the paperback version so I could refer to it later down the line. I learned a lot, but I thought sharing the road I took, how the book helped me, and where I am now would be a great way to showcase the book’s impact. My Experience With VAs … [Read more...] about Building a Virtual Staff: Virtual Freedom Review #SEJBookClub
After today’s iPhone 5 launch event, I had a chance to play with Apple’s new phone. So far, I see plenty of reason for me to upgrade. Below, what I like and what you may wish to consider. How Android Won Me Away From The iPhone First, some background. For the past two years, I’ve been primarily an Android user. I’ve owned an iPhone since the iPhone 3GS, upgraded to the iPhone 4 and currently have an iPhone 4s. But in 2011, the 4G LTE speed of the Droid Charge wooed me away to making that my primary phone in 2011. The iPhone I use as a secondary phone (I live a strange multiplatform life, I know). How The iPhone Started Winning Me Back In 2012, I moved to the Galaxy Nexus, and it hasn’t been an enjoyable experience. It still gives me the 4G speed I want, as well as turn-by-turn navigation I’ve found so handy. I hate to leave home without that. But the email client with the Galaxy Nexus is horrible (email, not Gmail – see my detailed explanation … [Read more...] about iPhone 5: First Impressions Hands-On Review