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Google Under Review by Texas Attorney General

Written by Terry Van Horne   
Monday, 06 September 2010 00:38

Google Universal Search Reviewed for Bias Toward Google Verticals

Universal SearchLate Friday Google disclosed it is facing another probe into its business practices. The Texas attorney general is reviewing Google's methods for recommending websites in search results. The focus of the review seems to be on whether Google is manipulating its search results to eliminate competition. This complaint is another sign that every move by the Search Behemoth is raising the intensity and scrutiny by legislators and litigation worldwide.

Read more... [Google Under Review by Texas Attorney General]

Sphinn to remove voting; thoughts from a power user!

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 01 September 2010 21:49

Sphinn is dead! Sphinn is dead!... oh wait, I mean ..... the Sky is falling!the Sky is falling! Or at least that seems to be the consensus if you watch the twitter-sphere and blog posts that are popping up all over.

To my fellow Sphinners, I figured I would take a brief moment to post my thoughts. I have invested 3 years and many, many hours over there. Enough to be in the top 10 for pretty much every category. When things went south (engagement died after 2.0 launch) I even suffered the slings and arrows of mates asking, “Why do you still bother with the place”. In short, it is one place that has had a major affect on my life from many angles.

Sphinn kills voting!

Read more... [Sphinn to remove voting; thoughts from a power user!]

Sorry Twitter, You Are Not a Search Engine

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 01 September 2010 13:24

Nothing to see here my SEO brethren

(Guest post from Marc Bitanga)

As anyone NOT living under a rock would know, there has been all sorts of hype around Twitter, and rightly so. Recently Danny Sullivan reported from Twitter’s Chirp conference that Twitter has reached 19 billion searches per month. Wow. Not bad! That’s a big number for a 3 year old company. Here are some staggering stats:

  • Twitter is processing over 50 million tweets/day
  • The 3 year old social network has over 100 million users
  • There are over 70,000 registered apps that use Twitter’s API
  • In 3 short years, they’ve reached over 10 billion tweets
Read more... [Sorry Twitter, You Are Not a Search Engine]

Google Buys SocialDeck: Cross Device Social Gaming Developer

Written by Terry Van Horne   
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 00:00

SocialDeck: The Key to Cross Platform Gaming For

SocialDeck Homepage

Yesterday I wrote Is Google's Social Gaming Strategy a Facebook Killer? and today with the purchase of Waterloo Ontario based SocialDeck the Search Giant moved further along in its' plans to create a cross device Social gaming platform. SocialDeck’s experienced engineers have been porting games across multiple devices and developed a non-game product called Spark which provides social networking for players across Blackberry, iPhone, and Facebook.

Read more... [Google Buys SocialDeck: Cross Device Social Gaming Developer]

Did Google Just Kill ORM?

Written by Anthony Verre   
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 00:00

The new Google algorithm Brand Update

Recently Google confirmed that they updated their algorithm for, as a Google spokesperson stated, “for searches that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain.Barry Schwartz and Matt McGee had some excellent write-ups on Search Engine Land and are certainly worth reading.

How does this affect SEM on the brand-orientated SERPs?

The obvious answer is this update makes impossible to offer alternative suggestions to the “brand”. Not just organically, but through paid search as well. It has effectively blocked others from competing with a brand on Brand-SERP*. This is a very aggressive version of the “Vince” algorithm update. Bing is doing this as well.

Bing Brand SERPs

Closed-Out Brand SERPs

Read more... [Did Google Just Kill ORM?]

Is Google's Social Gaming Strategy a Facebook Killer?

Written by Terry Van Horne   
Monday, 30 August 2010 12:10

Google Vs Facebook?

Facebook Vs Google.meAfter I wrote Does Google & Verizon Framework Agreement Save Net Neutrality? I searched on Google for the phrase 'Eric Schmidt Social gaming' and got a very interesting result! We've said for weeks on RadioDojo that Google has a Social Gaming strategy in play. Why wouldn't they? Social gaming is what is driving the increased usage on Facebook. Smart phones are enjoying brisk growth and Google's Android flavor is at the head of the class.

Read more... [Is Google's Social Gaming Strategy a Facebook Killer?]

Google Buys Ångströ

Written by Terry Van Horne   
Sunday, 29 August 2010 22:41

Google Buys Social Startup Ångströ

Google Acquires Angstro
Enlarge Angstro Home Page

Friday Seems to be Announcement Day At the GooglePlex

Since July Google has been on an acquistion spree buying Social Networking services including its  3 rd consecutive Friday Purchase of social search startup Angstro, In the post announcing the sale there are a few hints about the reasons for and what the the fit is with Google. The bolded text below was added by me for emphasis.

Almost four years ago I set out to solve a deceptively simple problem: 95% of the Google Alerts I received about the entrepreneur Adam Rifkin were about the Hollywood movie director instead.
I worked with Salim Ismail, another “pub/sub” pioneer with a disturbing doppelgänger to co-found Ångströ and unlock the power of your social graph.

With the help of investors like CommerceNet and advisors such as Avery Lyford, our team shipped apps to discover hot new photos on Facebook, improve Caller ID by using LinkedIn profiles, adding style and links to Twitter, create a real-time social address book, and a slew of other services (some of which are open source).

Which would seem they mostly bought Ångströ out for their experience as engineers. There definitely seems to be a pattern to what Google have been buying the last three or 4 months. Small social startups with experienced engineers at scaling Social platforms.

Google made its 25th acquisition since CEO Eric Schmidt’s declaration nearly a year ago that the company was looking to make a purchase a month. Google’s early purchases were spread across many businesses—from mobile to video compression. The company is on an even brisker pace of acquisitions if you include the mobile and other assets being purchased in VC's held by Google or Google Principles.


We made it through another year

Written by David Harry   
Friday, 27 August 2010 17:24

4 years geeking and still yakking away!

Another year has passed which means it's… blog-iversary time. If you’ve ever wondered about the screwed up domain name (HuoMah = FireHorse) well....

Huo Mah (or Ma) = Ho-ma : (or if you feel adventurous = Who-oh-ma) - It means of course; Fire Horse - and the Blog, inventively enough; the Fire Horse Trail

It stems from my years as an avid practitioner and student of the Martial Arts and Chi-kung. It is merely my Chinese astrological symbol – more on that here.  This should also help clear up my penchant for eastern flavours and honorable offerings as well….

Anyway... on with the party!

To date we've put in some 500+ posts from myself and the guest bloggers and over 3800 comments. Over the last year we had more than 160 000 (unique?) visitors and over 200 000 page views (not including the Dojo).

"I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit, I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”" - - Hemingway


Some high points of the last year

SEO Training Dojo – probably the biggest news, not to mention labour of love, was the launch last fall of our ass kicking SEO community. And the best part? I have probably learned more than I have taught. If is nothing short of AWESOME (inside joke). Here's our mantra!

More SEMMY awards! - We (myself and Dojo peeps) had 14 SEMMY nominations and I was fortunate enough to win in the 'Technical SEO' category... which was super groovy!

WebMaster Radio – I managed more appearances there including once on SEM Synergy and Webcology a few times (3 on each total now)... Which is always a blast. I hope to do more again soon. (it also got me thinking... more on that shortly).

Trail on the grow – another, more recent development, is the addition of new full time writers here on the trail. I am quite stoked about the move and look forward

We Gypsies get around – I have also been writing in a few places including Search Engine Journal, SEO Bullshit, WordStream and coming soon, Search Engine Land. A huge thanks to those folks for having me on!

SEO Dojo Radio - we also recently decided to get vocal with the (Dojo Radio) SEO podcats which was born from the members prodding. We used to hang on voice after Friday Chat and peeps thought our ramblings would be worth sharing (crazy nutters they are). So we are 7 weeks into that experiment.(check it out)


And really, so much more. It might be my advancing age or just the massive amounts of 'awesomeness' that surrounds the place, but I am sure there more I've forgotton. Ultimately what is life without people? The ultimately goodiness that was the previous 12 months...365 days...8760 hours..525 600 minutes... is the great people I have met, and old friends enjoyed. WAY to long a list to put here.. but ya'll just make it worthwhile (and thanks to those special ones that pick me up when I want to give it up)


Popular Posts

Here are some of the more popular posts from the year that was... No, not ordering by what I liked, this is what was getting the most interest;

My Big Ass List of SEO Blogs – man, what a poor choice in title's. Ever since I have been getting search referrers for 'big ass' related queries...sigh.

The SEO guide to Google personalized search – an entry that seems almost an annual thing for me. We looked at how personalization works and where it is headed.

18 Must Follow Link Building Experts on Twitter – this was one of the most popular posts, and short and sweet at that! Much thanks to Melanie on this one.

Google re-ranking and personalized search study– this was a post where we went over some of the data from our last round of research into Google flux and personalizations. And have no fear, we're currently organizing round 3!

Google Analytics tips for SEO – while not really my forte, it was part of a 3 part series I had on some GA goodies for the SEO world. Certainly an area everyone should be up on by now.

YouTube Optimization and Universal Search – is a post from Terry that is still one of the best of it's kind. If you aren't up on Video and Universal, this is a great place to start.

SEO Benchmarks and KPI – back to the data again huh? Here we have a compiled list of measuring metrics that the entire SEO Dojo gang worked on a while back. Great stuff there is deffo strength in numbers! (get it?)

Understanding linking intent; the spam connection – one of the few geeky posts borne from patents/papers to actually make the list of 'most popular' posts from the last year. Come on folks, I know it's boring, but there is GOLD in them thar hills!

Facebook and SEO – and of course, how could this one miss even if it just pood poo'd the whole thang? It has search AND social in it... duh... no brainer. But I did actually anjoy the ride... A worthy addition.

And there are some of the more popular posts from the past year. I say 'popular' because I can't really choose my favs since they're like children to me; I love them all euqally.

Looking ahead

Guess WHo?
It’s a safe bet that the Trail will continue to be active with more uber search geekiness and plenty of new guest riders to keep it interesting. While there isn’t as much ranting going on a there once was, surely something in this whacky industry will get me going at some point as well.

Thanks again to all the fine folks that have supported us, the thousands that promoted the trail and of course the MANY wonderful peeps I have encountered over the years, (easily the best part o’ blogging).


Cya next year…same time, same place – m’kay?

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