It’s been an exciting week in the search & technology world. Here’s this week’s summary from the top sources, including the iPad launch, the Pope & Obama, RSS feeds in Google reader, HTML 5 and SEO for topic pages, amongst other things.
Unless you’ve just emerged from a vacuum, you will have noticed that Apple’s iPad was released this week. There was live coveragefrom Mashable and there’s since been much discussion, mostly highlighting the fact that it didn’t live up to the enormous amount of hype. Robert Scoble published a 16 year old’s view (his son) of why it was a failure, WebProNews agreed and Funny or Die featured the obligatory parody video of Steve Job’s announcement from Peter Serafinowicz.
In other Apple related news, Mashable’s article on the new Google Voice web application discussed how the new application uses HTML 5 (no doubt the first of many to do so) to create a solid interface for the iPhone (and Palm webOS). By being web based, they didn’t need to jump through Apple’s hoops to sell it as an app through iTunes. Presumably it will also work on other mobile browsers.
Talking of mark-up, WebProNews published an interesting article about how RDFa could have implications on SEO, following Google’s recent announcement about rich snippets for events. This, along with the semantic definitions in HTML 5, is rather exciting and in my opinion could start shifting SEO focus toward the ideal of the ‘semantic web’ over the next few years. Watch this space for a forthcoming Great SEO article about HTML 5, microdata, microformats & RDFa.
Obama uses social media
As mentioned on Mashable, it was interesting to see Obama using YouTube to ‘broadcast himself’ and answer questions posed from the public on YouTube this week in his State of the Union speech as broadcast live on the White House website. Mashable posted a rather interesting Jobs vs Obama article comparing the web-wide reach (in terms of tweets) and reaction to Steve Jobs’ iPad presentation versus that for Obama’s speech – the conclusion being that Jobs had a far bigger reach, but Obama had a more positive reaction. Almost surprisingly, Tony Blair’s Iraq War trial this week wasn’t streamed live, but then at 6 hours long, it may have been a little dull.
The Pope uses social media
The Pope says priests must blog, leading by example. He’s been using Facebook for a while, but has now released a You Tube channel and a Facebook & iPhone app (which I will affectionately refer to as PopeBook and iPope). Not really a surprise, as the church has always been good at spreading the word and harnessing the latest techniques to persuade. Lucky for us that today (in a good proportion of the world at least) social media is more powerful than scaring people into following by hitting them with sticks.
As social media starts to become more stable & be used in more considered ways, Mashable posted an article about a survey showing it to be the top priority for marketers in 2010 and the maturation of social media ROI. At the same time, it would seem Twitter use is falling.
Other highlights reported by SEORoundtable from the forums were some stats on whether Google is Paying AdSense Publishers Less & Less, a piece about how Google are handling duplicate content between HTML and PDF pages and how a 410 status code can be more effective than a 404 code to tell Google a page is not present at a given location forever.
Optimising topic pages
SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Friday this week discussed topic pages and SEO. Marshall Simmons (in charge of SEO strategy for New York Times & About.com) talked about how to use sites as a resource and hub, being a jumping off point to other sites. He and Rand talked about how the concept of ‘link journalism’ and sang the praises of linking out to appropriate pages externally (i.e. search engines reward you for having relevant links, if you’re not stingy people will be less stingy linking back and it’s obviously useful for users). I’m obviously in agreement, this weekly news update being filled with links. Simmons also talked about how content must be updated & curated frequently and the benefits of categorisation (in topic pages) and internal links.
SEOmoz also announced the launch of their improved free API, which they state is powerful enough to build their recently released Open Site Explorer in its entirety (and indeed OSE is built using it).
RSS feeds for sites without RSS
Google’s blog mentions you can now get RSS feeds on any website with Google reader (also mentioned by Matt Cutts). RSS feed technology is not new and easy enough to install, so it’s hard to see the benefit for webmasters, who can already easily expose content they wish to via RSS. On the contrary, it means you now have to ‘hide’ content that you don’t want to expose via RSS. Fortunately there’s a handy set of tips on how to block this functionalityat SEO Roundtable.
Google social search live
Google social search has been promoted from Labs to Beta which WebProNews says makes social more of a factorin the SERPs. SEO Roundtable’s coverage of this news suggests that this won’t actually affect live search results unless social is specifically chosen in your search options, but of course this could change. I mentioned in a post a couple of months back how Google’s social search could be useful for research, but indeed it could pervade further and have more widespread SEO implications if it becomes integrated by default (like personalised search).
WebProNews wrote an article about whether Google has begun changing how it indexes the web with the launch of Google Caffeine getting closer and super blogger Ted Ulle (who’s written over 26,000 SEO related posts – ouch) wrote an article for SearchNewz about cracking the google algorithm, which has some pretty in depth information about past & predicted future Google changes.
Annotations added to GA
Collaborative analysis of stats just got a little easier as Google Analytics added an annotation feature that allows you to share comments on your stats.
Sick bathroom scales
Last, but not least, in some random news, a pair of wireless bathroom scales have been created that automatically updates your weight on Google Health and also tells all your friends via Twitter. There’s an incentive to avoid the pies.