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In a much anticipated move, on February 18, 2004, Yahoo unveiled a brand new search algorithm, dropping the formerly Google-powered results that had dominated the search engine for the last year. Yahoo is now using its own index and ranking system.
This is a move that the industry has been expecting ever since Yahoo went on its buying spree last year. At that time, Yahoo acquired Inktomi and Overture, who had recently purchased All the Web and Alta Vista. The biggest surprise of the move is that Yahoo did not merely replace Google results with results from Inktomi, as was expected. Instead Yahoo used the technology acquired through last year's various acquisitions to create a completely new proprietary search mechanism.
This month, we are featuring www.tripadvisor.com. Tripadvisor has turned into an important resource due to its excellent search engine rankings in Google.
Tripadvisor is a website that lists lodging properties and ranks them based upon reviews they receive. The more favorable reviews a property receives, the higher it ranks. Their pitch to consumers: "Find a great hotel based on web-wide popularity and coverage. Listen to the democracy of the web!"
Example: If you search for "Mendocino hotel" in Google, this page comes up # 2. When you click into that page you see that it lists 20 individual properties on the first page, ranked by the number of reviews. If you investigate, you see that Stanford Inn by the Sea comes up at the top of the list because TripAdvisor is aware of 2 guidebooks, 6 articles, 2 user reviews and 2 web comments about this property.
The Google changes that began with the "Florida algorithm" back in November have still been spreading through the Google index affecting more search terms. We have also seen some instances where clients have been moving back up in the listings, but it is still too early to tell how "permanent" these restorations might be. We are still keeping a close eye on things, but for now, the advice stays the same. Work to increase your link popularity by submitting to local, regional and lodging directories.
Other news from Google is more of a financial footnote. Google was expected to introduce an IPO sometime this spring and become a publicly traded company. They announced in January, however, that the IPO was postponed indefinitely. The official word from Google for the postponement of the IPO was that the current market wasn't suitable for the offering. Reading between the lines, it seems Google felt they weren't going to see the full value of the offering if they did it now, so they are waiting, possibly for the fall of this year.
Question: I want to add a calendar of events to my website. What are my options (and costs)?
Answer: There are a number of ways to add calendar of event information to your website. Costs vary widely in initial setup and maintenance depending upon options selected. It is important to weigh the value of the data against the expense to create and maintain it.
Here are a few of the options I would suggest:
You can link directly to your Chamber of Commerce website (where available). Most communities have a Chamber of Commerce website with an extensive amount of events for the area. A quick way to provide this data to your clients is to simply link to the Chamber
Calendar of Events page. Your prospective clients will appreciate your willingness to work with the chamber and you will not incur the cost of maintaining the data.
Question: I hear from people that they have sent me an email, but I have never received it. I checked my AOL spam filter, but the message was not there either. What is happening?
Answer: AOL (like other providers) is blocking a lot of email, either because of technical difficulties or because it perceives them as SPAM.
Question: On Fox News I saw a report about the 'MyDoom' virus, should I be concerned about this?
Answer: During January and February, The MyDoom virus quickly spread through the internet at an alarming pace. Effective virus and SPAM filtering reduced the impact for those that use it - our virus and SPAM filtering service stopped on average nearly 400 messages per user in the first 2 weeks of the infection!
As we reported in the last installment of the Blizzard Newsletter, the importance of local, regional and lodging directories has increased with the search engine changes of the last few months- specifically Google. We have long touted the importance of getting your website submitted to as many lodging directories as possible. We now feel that it is going to be equally important to get your website listed on as many local and regional directories as possible. While we are still sorting through the Google changes, we have reached the conclusion that the more local websites from which you have a link to your website, the more importance that your site is going to enjoy for that area. In the coming year these local and regional directories are going to be a much bigger part of our promotion efforts than they were in the past. If you are searching for ways to help your website, some local networking with other business owners in your area willing to exchange links could be a very worthwhile pursuit.
Research of Interest