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October 22, 2007

Weekend Update: In the Headlines

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How was your weekend?

Mine was super awesome. On Friday, I met Boyz II Men, there were pumpkins and pumpkin bread on Saturday and on Sunday, my Red Sox earned a spot in the World Series. Can you say huzzah?

But now it’s Monday and it’s time to revisit all that search engine optimization stuff. Let’s do it.

Google News Facebook Application

There’s a Google News Facebook application. Do you know what they call it when the two gods of the Internet join forces to give you free stuff? They call that “awesome”.

According to Google, once added, the Google News beta application will allow Facebook users to choose from a bunch of pre-selected topics (Entertainment, Technology, World News, etc), identify some keywords, and then browse and share stories with their friends. Depending on how many categories you choose, you’ll typically get between 1-3 stories per topic. It’s basically a Google Alert plugged directly into your Facebook profile.

I’ll never use the application but I do find it interesting that Google is now developing official applications to work inside Facebook. They do seem to be bumping up their socialness lately, don’t they? I wonder what we’re going to see next? Will Google relaunch Orkut as is rumored or will we instead see more pairing of the Google and Facebook awesomeness? You’ll have to stay tuned to find it if the two Web powerhouses combine their powers for good or for evil. I’m sure it will all be in our Facebook News Feeds in no time.

WebmasterWorld Members Bothered by New Ask Commercials

Over at Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz tells us that some members feel that Ask’s “Instant Getification” commercials are taking a shot at Google. Personally, I don’t think they are. They’re simply showing you that the experience you get from using Ask’s blended search outfit is considerably richer than the ’10 blue links’ you get from the other engines. At least one WebmasterWorld member, however, disagrees with me. Member Rj87uk thinks Google “would have something to say” about these commercials.

What are they going to say? That the Ask commercials are right and perfectly illustrate the kind of search experience you get from Ask.com? They’re not saying anything untrue and they’re really not picking on Google. Just a white label search engine. Users will interrupt that engine as being whatever engine it is that they currently search on.

Props to Ask.com for releasing some awesome new commercials. I’m sure you’ve seen them. After all, they’re everywhere!

Jakob Nielsen: First Two Words Most Important in Headlines

Passive voice is the key to writing good headlines, according to Jakob Nielsen, who says because users scan Web content in an F-pattern., those first two words of a paragraph are absolutely vital. Get rid of those filler words and hurry up and tell readers the most important things up front.

I suppose that makes sense, considering that most users are scanning your pages and not actually read them. Jakob argues that the first 2 words of your page title could be the highest-impact ROI-boosting design decision you make for your site. Yowsa, no pressure now. This is why I often ask Susan to help me write my titles. I still haven’t mastered that skill.

On a similar note, you should also read Matt Bailey’s post on Content v. Creative – Where does the Customer Count? It’s a very good read.

Fun Finds

In case you don’t live on the West Coast and haven’t yet been hit by a newspaper, California is on fire, causing much of the state to smell like a giant fire pit and my lungs and eyes to be coated in ash. (There was also that branch the Santa Ana winds put through my bedroom window, but we won’t even go there.) If you’re looking for some eerie pictures of what’s been going on over here, Danny has them over at Daggle.

Social Media Explorer offers up 8 Things Conference Officials Don’t Advertise. My favorite was number 8:

“No matter how comfortable the chairs, your butt will be numb.

There’s a lot for the conference organizers to cram into a day. Count on breaks that are too short, sessions that are too long and chairs that make you Google “sciatica.”

So true.

BlogHerald tells us that b5media will be hosting an additional teaching day at BlogWorld & New Media Expo next month in Vegas. I’ll be doing some liveblogging at the event so I am super psyched about this.

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5 responses to “Weekend Update: In the Headlines”

  1. handsome rob writes:

    You’ve got to figure that Google has some insight into MySpace’s traffic, so maybe their love affair with Facebook gives further merit to all these stories about users migrating from MySpace to Facebook.

    PS: Bucky Dent.

  2. Bob Weber writes:

    Your Sox are going DOWN like the Rockies computer ticket sales.

  3. pat writes:

    Lisa, while I am impressed that you mentioned the new training day at blogworld, I am somewhat dissapointed that you didn’t mention the title of the first session…

    "How to Use Digg to Assplode Your Blog"

    That is a good title and should merit inclusion.

    I should also note that Motown Phillys back again, and how the hell did you meet the guys “Doin’ a little eastcoast swang”???

    I want you to explain this to me at some point.

    I gotta go.

    Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD

  4. Lisa writes:

    You are all very lucky that your comments somehow end up in the spam filter and we just now retrieved them.
    Now, allow me to get caught up:
    [clears throat]
    @Handsome Rob: Don’t you dare start with the Bucky stuff. I don’t even want to hear it! :)
    @Bob: The Red Sox are going to wipe the floor with that little Colorado team. You just wait and see. Our Green Monster will take care of them. Huzzah!
    @Pat: I agree that the title and description of that session are both very awesome. However, I was trying to prevent the slap Susan would give me if I were to write “assplode” in the blog. I thank you for putting it in there first!
    As for the stellar photo, Boyz II Men put on a small concert at a local club. I was lucky enough to be able to attend. Even though there are only three of them now, it was heaven.

  5. handsome rob writes:

    Motown Philly back again…



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