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In this issue:

FEATURE:
Chaos Theory and Search Engine Optimization

BACK TO BASICS:
Avoiding Navigation Pitfalls

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.


FEATURE: Chaos Theory and Search Engine Optimization
One month ago, Edward Lorenz passed away at the age of 90. He was the primary benefactor to the idea of Chaos Theory, which explains how small initial actions can cause profound changes in a system. This idea has been dubbed 'The Butterfly Effect', derived from Lorenz' example that a butterfly's wings flapping in one area can make changes in the atmosphere so strong that they could force a tornado to develop somewhere else. His ideas have altered the way that we look at most scientific fields, and we would be wise to understand its importance in our endeavors as well.

BACK TO BASICS: Avoiding Navigation Pitfalls

Few pieces of a Web site have to serve as many masters as the site navigation. It has to work site-wide but still be page-level relevant. It should be search engine optimization friendly and user focused at the same time. With so many factors to take into account, navigation can be a tricky thing to get right. Most navigation is built into the template, meaning that changing one thing changes every page on your Web site. The impact of a minor wrong step in your navigation can mean big problems for your site. The available options for the look and feel of a site's navigation are nearly limitless. But there are a few principles that you need to keep in mind when embarking on your design.


Hot Topics

For the past three months all eyes have been looking, watching and waiting to see whether or not Yahoo would accept Microsoft's offer for acquisition and change the search game forever. Through the initial bids and the counter offers, to the "leaked" memos and straight heresy, the idea of a Microhoo has consumed the minds of search marketers everywhere. And last week we finally got our ending to the Microsoft and Yahoo soap opera. Or did we?

Microsoft Raises Its Bid For Yahoo

Just as the month was kicking off, Microsoft let it be known that they were willing to raise their initial bid of $31 a share to acquire Yahoo to $32-$33. While it was lower than the $37 a share number Yahoo was looking for, many hoped it would lead to further talks and that an agreement would be made. The increased bid suggested that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was open to taking a softer approach than the hostile takeover he promised in April. However, Ballmer was quick to assure the press that he knew exactly what Yahoo was worth and that he would walk away from the deal if Yahoo didn't agree to what he considered a fair deal.

Microsoft Withdraws Its Offer From Yahoo

And that's exactly what Microsoft did. Just a few days after Microsoft raised its offer, and alongside reports that a decision was imminent, a frustrated Microsoft retracted its offer, causing Yahoo's stock to plunge. In a letter to his shareholders, Steve Ballmer said that a deal between Microsoft and Yahoo was clearly not to be. Search Engine Land played devil's advocate and wondered if Microsoft was really walking away or if this was just a strategic move to deflate Yahoo's stock so Microsoft could get it for a lower price.

Meanwhile, Danny Sullivan wondered if walking away from Yahoo was a mistake, referencing how Microsoft has time and time again failed to leverage their brand or make a dent in Google's search market share.

What's Next For Yahoo and Microsoft?

With the proposed deal with Microsoft seemingly off, The New York Times got in line to weigh in on Yahoo's next move. Most people believe that Yahoo will now officially begin outsourcing their display ads to Google as the trial run was reportedly a major success. This also leaves Yahoo open to consider other strategic partnerships.

On the Microsoft side, there has been speculation that their now turning their eyes to acquiring Facebook. There have also been reports that Yahoo stockholder Carl Icahn is singlehandedly keeping Yahoo in play all on his own. Multiple sources have reported that Icahn has acquired a 2.5 percent stake in Yahoo in an attempt to gain a few more board seats and force Yahoo's hand into partnering with Microsoft. This one should play out pretty quick, so keep your eyes glued to the story to see if Icahn or Microsoft can stop Google's "natural monopoly"!


Shuffles

Facebook CTO Adam D'Angelo stepped back to take some time off, Elliot Schrage resigned as the vice president of global communication at Google to become vice president of communications and public policy at Facebook, and Chris Boggs was named Associate Editor of the Search Engine Watch forums.

In corporate mergers, acquisitions and redesigns:

  • Google began incorporating video into its Google News results and photos and video into Google Maps, introduced Google Friend Connect and relaunched Measure Maps analytics for bloggers.
  • Yahoo bought Apple Safari plug-in Inquisitor, launched blended search-esque Glue Pages, partnered with McAfee to form SearchScan, and closed their Search Ambassador program.
  • Microsoft issued a redesign to Live Search and its Live Search QnA site.
  • Natural language search engine PowerSet launched.
  • Search Engine Watch opened up comments on their blog.
  • Search Engine Land partnered with John Battelle's Federation Media advertising network.
  • SEMPO began offering agency training certification.
  • Robert Scoble redesigned his popular Scobleizer blog.

Shindigs

On Monday, May 19, the Pay Per Click Summit will begin in San Francisco and run to the 20th.

Our international readers will want to mark their calendars for the Page Zero Marketing Seminar on May 15 in Toronto, ON, SMX Madrid (page is in Spanish) on May 20-21, CeBit in Sydney on May 20-22, and the International Search Summit on May 22 in London.

Bruce Clay Australia will be exhibiting and presenting at CeBit next week in Sydney. If you're in town, please drop by the booth and introduce yourself to our Aussie team members!

Looking ahead to summer, SMX Advanced will take place on June 3-4, SES Toronto falls on June 16-18, the WidgetWebExpo comes to New York on June 16-17 and BlogHer hits San Francisco on July 18-20.

Programming Note: The Bruce Clay, Inc. UK SEO Training class originally scheduled for November has been rescheduled to 9-11 September. These are the confirmed dates, so if you're hoping to attend, make sure to reserve your seat today.


Attaboys

Facebook and MySpace both launched data portability offerings with Facebook Connect and the Data Availability Initiative, respectively.

Andy Beal kicked off the third annual SEM Scholarship Contest. For full details, including entry requirements, deadlines, and what's in the $10,000+ prize package, visit Marketing Pilgrim.

Search Engine Strategies announced the categories for the first annual Search Engine Strategies Awards. The inaugural awards ceremony will take place Aug. 20 during SES San Jose.

Hitwise revealed that video search engine Blinx achieved a year over year growth of 1,000 percent.

After a devastating cyclone ran through Myanmar killing more than 15,000, Google launched a campaign to help raise money for the victims.


Word on the Wire

Over at Marketing Pilgrim, Jordan McCollum speculated that a non-denial from Google's Marissa Mayer hinted that Google may look to monetize its Image Search with display ads, while Andy Beal hailed that Apple and Google Are Up To Something!

After withdrawing their offer to Yahoo, the Economic Times wonder if Microsoft was now gearing up to make an offer to Facebook.

Dave Naylor posted screenshots of Google ads appearing on Yahoo Answers, causing many to ask if Google and Yahoo had officially signed a deal or if perhaps the screenshot was falsified.


If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc.