BrightEdge Awarded Patent for Operationalizing SEO

BrightEdge, a company that provides enterprise SEO, has been awarded its first patent issued by the United States Patent Office. The patent, #8,135,706, is titled “Operationalizing Search Engine Optimization,” and grants BrightEdge the ability to use its unique method for measuring share of voice in search engine rankings.

According to BrightEdge, “Share of voice is an innovation from BrightEdge that helps companies understand how their search rankings stack up against the competition. This unique and now patented capability allows companies to discover the entire competitive landscape for a group of keywords, what percentage of the keywords in the group they rank for, and the number of keywords for which they rank. This patented capability helps companies discover new competitors and create winning competitive SEO strategies. [Read more...]

Search Engine Technology Patent Portfolio Up for Auction

ICAP Patent Brokerage is auctioning off a patent portfolio that enhances search engine functionality from Jason A. Denise. This search engine technology patent portfolio discloses search engine technology that can “significantly enhance functionality and user interaction compared to current conventional systems.”

Here are a few highlights:

– User interface enables concurrent viewing of multiple options from a set of search results.
– Displayed search results are automatically rearranged or reformatted with regard to such characteristics as font, size, and description.
– Using this search engine system, a user can provide comments or tags to search results, determine relationships, and link them accordingly.
– Further, these relationships can be stored for future analysis by the user.
– Displayed results can be expanded to display additional user comments.
– Advertisements associated with a result can be displayed or updated on the user interface when the result is clicked by the user.

One of the patents, called “Electronic search interface technology”, patent number 7934161, is described below:

Techniques are described for displaying a representation of a list of electronic search results while a user is reviewing content linked to by electronic search results included in the list. While the user is reviewing the search results, the user may jump between content linked to by different search results using the representation of the list of electronic search results displayed. The displayed representation of the list of search results may be updated based on the user’s browsing activities in reviewing the search results, user input manipulating the list of search results, and supplemental information added to the list of search results by the user.

What I find interesting, is this summary:

An electronic search provider may enable a user to submit a search query related to information in which the user is interested. In response to the submitted search query, the electronic search provider identifies electronic documents that match the submitted search query and displays the matching electronic document as a list of search results.

This particular patent portfolio is part of the 15th ICAP Ocean Tomo IP Auction on March 29, 2012, at Terranea Resort near Los Angeles, California.

Ginzametrics SEO Software Integrates with SEOmoz Data

Ginzametrics, an enterprise-level SEO management and analytics software tool, is now integrating with SEOmoz’s Site Intelligence Service API. Through the SEOmoz API, Ginzametrics now provides detailed metrics on more than 58 billion pages and over 617 billion links.

Ginzametrics is using the SEOmoz API as a complement to its own intelligence data platform. Links to customer sites are being actively re-crawled in order to develop custom recommendations for link building efforts as well as in-depth reporting and alerts. Enterprise customers are receiving the first access to the SEOmoz-driven data, with all Ginzametrics customers gaining access in the coming weeks.

Launched in early 2010, Ginzamarkets offers the Ginzametrics SEO dashboard for mid-size and enterprise level clients. Ginzametrics presents complex data into actionable recommendations on a page-by-page basis. The complete solution covers all aspects of SEO including server configuration, broken link notifications, improved crawling and granular keyword recommendations.

Maximizing Conversion Rates through Targeting

This is a guest post by Craig Smith. Craig Smith is the founder and CEO of Trinity Insight, a leading eCommerce consulting agency that provides multivariate testing.

Conversion rate optimization is both and art and a science. To grow your percentage of buyers, your business must be proactive to the user segments and varied needs and goals of your website visitors. When your website presents targeted content that speaks to these needs, your website will be much better positioned to drive incremental orders or other actions.

Usability is a key element to conversion rate optimization. Making sure that your user paths offer as little friction as possible while making users think as little as possible is a proven recipe for driving conversion improvement. There comes a point though when your site is in line with usability best practices. Outside of secondary factors, such as price, at this stage how can your business continue to grow the conversion rate metric?

The answer is in targeted content. Targeted content could be defined as messaging, promotions, and imagery that is strategically delivered to the web user based upon intelligence that a website is able to gain.

What type of intelligence are we talking about? When referencing intelligence, I am referring to information that a web browser is able to pass and store. This data, primarily stored within cookies, will provide details that can allow your site to provide a more personalized experience to the web visitor and help drive your conversion metrics.

The following are the main types of targeting that takes place online, most of the time unknown to the end user.

Geographic

Geographic targeting is when your website shows messaging that associates to a user geographic location. Your website is able to derive where a user is from by assessing an IP address and cross-referencing that IP address against a backend database of zip codes.

Let’s say I am from Philadelphia PA and I go to a site looking for information about a new mortgage. If the site is leveraging geographic targeting within their overall site management efforts, the website will deliver to me targeted messaging and creatives referencing Pennsylvania mortgage rates and other information such as a local branch. The targeting technology is reducing the clicks that users have to execute to find localized information, hence making the experience more intuitive and likely impact conversion in a positive manner.

New versus Returning

New visitors to your site (prospects) likely have different levels of knowledge than returning visitors (customers). This visitor segment should be spoken to in a different manner as new visitors should be exposed to messaging around your core unique value proposition more so than a returning visitor who is already familiar with your brand.

By creating two versions of your homepage, one for returning visitors and tne for new visitors, and by serving these versions based upon targeting technology, your website will have greater overall effectiveness.

Source & Search Term

Where a user is coming from and what term a user utilizes within search to find your site are crucial variables that can be leveraged in targeting efforts. A user from your Facebook page to your site has different motives than a user that found your site from an un-branded keyword within organic search. Look at your referring traffic and isolate the top sources and their performance. What types of tendencies take place? Derive varied models into what type of site changes and content would be best suited to these segments and craft these as segments within your targeting plan.

As a marketer, these tools and practices are a great way to increase your overall site effectiveness and impact your conversion rate in a positive manner. By being proactive to the varied user segments on your site, your business will drive more valuable and profitable user sessions through personalization and your business will be better positioned for futuregrowth.

Best of luck with your conversion optimization efforts!

Schema.org Use May Infringe Upon Search Engine Patents

As you probably know by now, Google, Bing, and Yahoo! got together recently and formed Schema.Org, that will help you, as a webmaster, web designer, or search engine marketer, standardize your html code. Standardization is good. However, I have to admit that I became a bit concerned and flustered about the terms of service that have been posted on the Schema.org website.

Take a look at some of the language being used in the Terms of Service:

…patent claims that are necessarily infringed by including markup of structured data in a webpage…

By using the code that the search engines–collectively–are recommending that you use, you may be a patent infringer. You may be infringing on the patents that are owned by particular search engines.

Overall, I am really glad that the search engines are doing this–to help us standardize the code we use when creating web pages. Standards are definitely needed. But, I am kind of leery about the fact that the Schema.org is telling us–in their Terms of Service.

However, I have to admit that I became a bit concerned and flustered about the terms of service that have been posted on the Schema.org website. Here is the section that I have an issue with:

In addition, if the Sponsors have patent claims that are necessarily infringed by including markup of structured data in a webpage, where the markup is based on and strictly complies with the Schema, they grant an option to receive a license under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms without royalty, solely for the purpose of including markup of structured data in a webpage, where the markup is based on and strictly complies with the Schema. The license may be conditioned on reciprocity, defensive termination, defensive suspension, and/or other reasonable terms. In some cases, this website may indicate that some but not all of the Sponsors have recognized a particular extension to the Schema; in those cases, as to that extension, the above rights are granted by only those recognizing Sponsors.

The terms of service goes on to say that “The license may be conditioned on reciprocity, defensive termination, defensive suspension, and/or other reasonable terms.” Does this mean that at some point one of the patent owners, Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo!, decides that they don’t want us to use certain code on our website (which may be unlikely), that they can tell us to remove it and stop using it? Even worse (which may be unlikely), does this allow them to potentially sue us for infringing upon their patents?

We are, though, granted a license to use the code on Schema.org under Creative Commons. But really, is that enough?

What if some website owner or webmaster comes up with the idea for a type of website and uses some of this code as part of their site. And that site at some point becomes a competitor of Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. Would one of these patent owners have the right to sue? From what I can tell, they do acknowledge that using code in referenced by Schema.org could make you a patent-infringer.

Let’s say, for example, a site like Facebook uses code from Schema.org that is patented. Although we are granted a Creative Commons license, if a site like Facebook infringes upon the search engines’ patent, they could potentially be a target. Especially if they are a competitor.

At this point, I still highly recommend use of Schema.org and it’s contents–it’s a great step in the right direction towards standardization. But, just so you’re aware, there is code there that is patented.

Keyword Advertising Search Patent Portfolio to be Auctioned

A patent portfolio related to keyword advertising and conventional search will be auctioned off on March 31st, 2011 in New York City. The patent portfolio discloses a content-based method that enhances conventional search. This portfolio will be available at ICAP Ocean Tomo‘s upcoming Spring 2011 Live IP Auction March 31st in New York City.

The collection of patents that will be auctioned off disclose the following:

– A content-based method that enhances conventional keyword based advertising approaches produced by a search query.

– This method displays online advertisements to users based on information provided by both the user and derived from the search engine results.

– The technique not only utilizes the keywords used in the user query, but the content from the search’s website results as well. From these sources, it identifies topics that are associated with matching advertisements and displays them to the user.

– This advanced, content-based process allows for more accurate targeted advertising than conventional methods.

– The technology in this patent lot organizes the search results into an aggregated content page, which can be mined to find topics, subjects, etc. that match against advertisements relating to such topics. By further relying on the search results, rather than just the query keywords, the displayed ads are more closely related to the needs and interests of the user.

– Early on in the user’s search, the user is presented with useful advertisements relevant to their intended search goal, as opposed to being presented ads that were bid on by advertisers and may be irrelevant to the user’s current search needs.

– This system improves the user experience by considering correlated topics such as related or complimentary services or products that are relevant to the current search.

– This technique benefits both customers and advertisers, ultimately increasing ad or site click-through rates and customer satisfaction levels. Moreover, it allows advertisers to more accurately test and measure the performance of advertisements.

– The applications also disclose that the tests to measure and rank ad performance can be modified based on the type of user, the time of day the advertisement is viewed, or the topics related to the search query.

– Advertisers using this method will be able to optimize their ad selection according to real user information and market needs.

It’s not very often that investors have an opportunity such as this to invest in a series of patents related to internet search. This method (the patents) were developed by John Nicholas and Kristin Gross Trust. From what I can tell, Kristin Goss Trust is named on two patents:

System and method of delivering RSS content based advertising
System and method for determining right of access

The second one appears to be pretty interesting, you can read it here:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN%2F7856445

System and method of delivering RSS content based advertising
A system and method is disclosed for presenting relevant advertising to user search queries. The RSS content is processed as part of a search query. The results of the query are further selectively processed to identify concepts/topics therein. The resulting web page topics/concepts can then be mapped to advertisements (or keywords) based on correlating topics/concepts which are in common. Thus the ads can be selected by reference to an underlying content presented in RSS feeds.

Thumbplay Chooses Attivio Enterprise Search

attivio thumbplay

Attivio, a software company that specializes in enterprise search solutions and information access, has been chosen to enhance the search functionality of Thumbplay, the top mobile entertainment destination in the USA.

Thumbplay chose Attivio’s Active Intelligence Engine(TM) (AIE) because Thumbplay needed improve its ability to support massive search query volumes and frequent, low-latency updates, while reducing costs and expediting development. Attivio’s Active Intelligence EngineTM (AIE) provides a universal index that aggregates the information you need from documents, media and data stores, regardless of the format.

attivio-intelligent

Attivio’s Active Intelligence Engine is the first Unified Information Access platform to provide a complete view of the relevant information landscape, ensuring that all daily decisions are based on current, complete, strategic information derived from all important sources, regardless of their native format. AIE lets you integrate information from internal and external source systems to support multiple applications for web portals, site search, discovery and data analysis.

I tried a search for the keyword “George” at Thumbplay.com, because I wasn’t sure of the particular country music star’s last name. Thumbplay and Attivio’s search delivered results rather quickly:

thumbplay-search-george1

I was surprised that George Gershwin and George Bush made the top of the search results, perhaps it’s because of the George Bush ‘funny noises’ ringtone. There are two “George the Janitor” videos, from the Muppets, which I think are great. I love the “George The Janitor Complains” video.

Thumbplay contains mostly licensed content from some of the world’s largest entertainment companies, including EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Pictures Television, as well as several independent labels and artists and video game companies. Thumbplay’s mobile entertainment catalog is integrated into Clear Channel Radio, AOL and MSN Mobile sites, as well as iLike.com, one of the Web’s leading social music discovery services. Moreover, based on Thumbplay’s reputation for exceptional customer care and technological innovation, MTV recently tapped the company to power personalization content for the music giant’s mobile content site.

Thumbplay also recently launched Thumbplay Open, a site that provides independent music and visual artists, application developers and web site publishers the opportunity to package and sell our own digital media to millions of mobile customers.

Ixquick.com Search Engine Stops Recording IP Addresses

ixquick homepage

Ixquick, a meta search engine who claims that their search results are more comprehensive and more accurate than many other search engines out there, has completely stopped recording users’ IP addresses. This new policy further highlights their commitment to privacy.

Privacy on the Internet is becoming more of a big deal, especially because many search engines are continuing to record your IP address so that your searches are more “personalized”. Search engines such as Google appear to be headed in this direction, saving your data so that they can “personalize” your search results, which they claim brings us better search results.

ixquick-searchresults1

While you are searching the internet, many search engines also register the time of your searches, the terms you used, the sites you visited and your IP address. In many cases this IP address makes it possible to trace the computer, and in turn the household, that carried out the search.

Previously, the Ixquick search engine deleted the privacy details of its users within 48 hours. As of today – Data Protection Day 2009 – IP addresses are not recorded at all anymore. The technical need to store IP addresses for 48 hours – blocking automated use of Ixquick’s servers – has been overcome by recent technological developments.

Ixquick enhances your privacy by offering a secure connection using the https protocol which prevents eavesdropping on Ixquick users and expects to launch a so-called “proxy” service in the next few months that makes it possible to browse the Internet in full anonymity.

aolstalker-homepage

AOL Search Data Fiasco
As you might recall, data from the AOL search engine was made public (on purpose through their research arm) in 2006. AOL actually released three months’ worth of aggregated search data from 650,000 of its users, publishing all the details in an online database.

According to a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_search_data_scandal”>Wikipedia, “On August 4, 2006, AOL Research, headed by Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, released a compressed text file on one of its websites containing twenty million search keywords for over 650,000 users over a 3-month period, intended for research purposes. AOL pulled the file from public access by the 7th, but not before it had been mirrored and distributed on the Internet.

While none of the AOL records on the file are personally identifiable per se, certain keywords contain personally identifiable information by means of the user typing in their own name (ego-searching), as well as their address, social security number or by other means. Each user is identified on this list by a unique sequential key, which enables the compilation of a user’s search history. The New York Times was able to locate an individual from the released and anonymized search records by cross referencing them with phonebooks or other public records. Consequently, the ethical implications of using this data for research are under debate.

AOL acknowledged it was a mistake and removed the data, although the files can still be downloaded from mirror sites. Additionally, several searchable databases of the report also exist on the internet.”

aol-search-database1

This AOL database is still searchable from various sites. Just enter a search query and you will find out who searched for it. Then, click on the User ID and you will see what else they searched for. This data may be helpful for keyword research purposes (marketing purposes), but it’s not very private: the data is still available to the public over 2 years later.

So, if you’re concerned about your privacy, you might take a look at Ixquick, the search engine that does NOT save your data. Ixquick is an international award-winning search engine with an industry leading Privacy Policy. Launched on the Web in 1998, Ixquick is owned by Surfboard Holding BV, a Dutch company.

Universal Search – Not only for Public Consumption

If you use Google to search, then you have probably seen their universal search, which shows more than just html documents in the search results. Major companies are now seeing the benefits of using universal search to search their internal resources. Professional services firms, especially law firms, are using universal search tools to instantly locate content, wherever it’s located.

Interwoven

Back in August 2007 I talked about Interwoven Universal Search, an “intuitive search solution uniquely designed to meet the demands and expectations of professional services firms”. Now, in 2008, we’re seeing an increase in demand for these types of search appliances.

Universal Search

Interwoven Universal Search has a fairly simple web interface where you can search, access and use any content in any system in your organization, from document management to mail, to time and billing. There’s no problem with maintaining systems security. Interwoven’s Universal Search is architected for “today’s content-intensive enterprises”. It’s actually much faster and more accurate than using other search engines that might spider PC’s content.

Interwoven Universal Search screenshot

With Interwoven’s Universal Search, their “personal alerts” and “role-based” search increase its effectiveness. The Personal alerts allow you to save a search query–and get an mail alert when new information is identified based on your original search query. Role-based search gives you more of a “customized” search experience. It essentially tunes” results to be more specific for your group. If you’re in HR, for example, you’ll see one set of search results–which would be different than someone who is in IT.

Interwoven Universal Search screenshot

Interwoven Universal Search – Professional Services Edition is an intuitive search solution uniquely designed to meet the demands and expectations of professional services firms. By providing professionals with a solution for instantly locating important content throughout a firm, Interwoven is delivering a powerful tool to improve firm efficiency and enhance the client experience. Interwoven Universal Search – Professional Services Edition is powered by Vivisimo Velocity.

Interwoven is a global leader in content management solutions. Interwoven’s software and services enable organizations to effectively leverage content to drive business growth by improving the customer experience, increasing collaboration, and streamlining business processes in dynamic environments. Our unique approach combines user-friendly simplicity with robust IT performance and scalability to unlock the value of content. Today, more than 4,200 enterprise and professional services organizations worldwide have chosen Interwoven, including: adidas, Airbus, Avaya, Cisco, DLA Piper, the Federal Reserve Bank, FedEx, HSBC, LexisNexis, Microsoft, Samsung, Shell, Samsonite, White & Case, and Yamaha. Over 20,000 developers and over 300 partners enrich and extend Interwoven’s offerings.

ShipGooder Shipping Search Engine Proves that Milliseconds Matter

ShipGooder logo

When it comes to web search applications, milliseconds matter. The faster you get your search result the happier you are. ShipGooder is introducing new courier search technology that is revolutionizing the way that packages are shipped.

ShipGooder.com is a search engine that allows you to search FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the USPS (the U.S. Postal Service), as well as local couriers for the best shipping rates. The ShipGooder.com service is free and does not require you to create an account or register any personal information.

As you can see from the screen capture below, the web designers of ShipGooder.com chose specifically not to clutter it with advertising.

ShipGooder home page

ShipGooder.com was developed because the courier search market has always been limited by sites that have typically been very slow to respond. Therefore, they came up with a way to provide search results in as little as 15 milliseconds. To give you an idea of how much faster this is, you can compare this with most other shipping rate sites that take up to a minute or more to respond with a shipping rate.

As an example, I performed a search for sending holiday gifts to my parents. I am in Dallas, Texas (zip code 75248) and I need to send a 10 pound package to Darien, Connecticut (area code 06820):

ShipGooder search

The rates took 0.36 seconds to get, which I would say is pretty darn fast. Since there is plenty of time before the holidays to get the package to its destination. Here are the costs if I choose the Ground option, which is 1-6 days:

$ 7.54 FedEx Home Delivery
$ 7.54 FedEx Ground
$ 7.54 DHL Ground
$ 11.00 UPS Ground
$ 12.84 USPS Parcel Post

Three months after ShipGooder.com was launched, their Rapid Rate Search (RRS) technology has put them at the top of the list when it comes to speed and ease of use of their site.

ShipGooder.com’s Rapid Rate Search (RRS) technology combines an AJAX-based front-end with search servers that give you search results that are almost virtually instantaneous.

ShipGooder, Inc. is located in Toronto, Canada and was founded in October 2006 after many years of preparation and planning to develop a multi-carrier rate engine that allows users to quickly compare services from national, regional and local couriers in the U.S. and Canada. ShipGooder.com provides an easy, fast rate engine to obtain the best shipping rates.