Ask.com abandons competitive Internet search space

Ask.com is largely abandoning the search engine effort and will now become a question-and-answer service.  The e-commerce company IAC/InterActiveCorp, which had paid $1.85 billion in 2005 for Ask.com and then invested heavily to make the search engine more competitive against Google.

With this change in strategy, Ask.com  will avoid competing against companies with far greater resources while also reducing the cost of maintaining a search index with billions of pages, Doug Leeds, Ask.com’s president, said in an interview

Ask.com will lay off 130 workers and close its offices in Edison, N.J., and Hangzhou, China. The remaining employees will be consolidated at the Web site’s headquarters in Oakland, Calif.

Ask.com would continue to offer search on its site, but it would no longer compile an index of the entire Web. .Ask  will cease developing its own search technology based on computer algorithms, and will instead rely on algorithmic search provided by an undisclosed partner.
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Google Instant Previews to help your organic search

Google announced today in its official Google blog release of Instant Previews. You will be able to see it in action in google.com, but not in all country specific Google versions.

With Google Instant and Instant Previews, Google hopes searchers will find what they see faster.  As you type your query, if Google Instant is activated, you will see results matching the partially entered query. You will now also see a magnifying glass icon next to each result. If you click on the icon, a preview image will appear on the right.

It will cover the sponsored results, but Google claims it will not affect advertisers since if surfer sees instant results and then clicks on magnifying glass icon, it implies that paid ads are not f interest to her. The preview image can be closed to reveal the PPC Ads once again.
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Techniques for Local SEO in 2010 2011

New Integrated Google Search : Local  + Organic Results

Google has started rolling out its new SERP which has Google place search  integrated with organic results. It has started with Google Chrome browser, and has now rolled out to other browsers including Firefox and in several countries.

Up to now, if you did a search involving location, either with our without including location, such as ‘book stores new york’, you would be shown results like the following, with Google map and local business results at the top, Adwords Ad listings to the right and organic/universal results below:

Now, when perform the same search in Google, you will see a floating map at the top of the Adwords column with markers for Google Local Listings, you will not see any local business listings, and pages  from Google Places integrated into the organic results.
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SEO using synonyms and google tilde operator

One of the key SEO factors to rank high in SERP is content.  The page should have compelling, high quality content  that not only attracts interest, but motivates visitors to link to the page and share the link through social media plug-ins like digg, facebook, Delicious.

One of the ways to create great content for search engines is optimized ‘Keyword Targeting’, which  helps a search engine understand what a page is about.

Keyword Targeting’ is not about more usage of a keyword term/phrase or keyword density.   The Number of Keyword Repetitions on short pages is 2 to 3 and on longer ones, it is 4 to 6.  Do not use more or stuff content with keywords than makes sense in the context of the copy.

Watch Matt Cutts on balancing great content with Link popularity

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Bing Search now leverages Facebook’s Social Data

In April 2010, Facook announced three social plugins: Like, Activity and Recommendations plug ins, Open Graph Protocol, and Graph API.

Facebook “Liked By Your Friends” feature is now integrated into Bing organic search results. To see the integration at work, you have to be logged into your facebook account.  When you search in Bing, depending on the search terms, you could see a new Liked By Your Friends section within your search results. In this, you will see links which have been “Liked” by your connections or friends on Facebook.
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