Google Begins “Next Chapter” in Search Advertising
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Update: Google says its new ad formats are "the next chapter in search advertising", and its "AdWords New Ad Formats Initiative" will focus on two themes:

Is it Really Crazy to Block Google?
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After all is said and done Rupert Murdoch may still be seen as the sly old fox that really knew best. Many bloggers and journalists have pounded the insanity of Murdoch’s suggestion that News Corp publications might strike an exclusive indexing deal with Bing and delist itself from Google’s search engine.

Retailers Funneling More Money To Bing
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Bing has managed to turn retailers’ heads in a big way.  After looking at statistics from part of 2008, SearchIgnite reported that retailers spent almost 50 percent more with Microsoft’s search engine this time around, which puts Google and Yahoo partly to shame.

Critical Local Search Factors To Pay Attention To
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Local search is only one sliver of the search marketing game, but it is an increasingly important one, and one that is changing rapidly. These days people are going to the web to find local businesses, sometimes more than even the phone book. Having a presence in local search is imperative for any small business, but just as imperative is being able to compete for visibility.

35 Ways to Improve Your Online Video Performance
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There was an interesting session on online video at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East, which WebProNews attended. The session was called "Video Search Marketing Beyond YouTube". The following tips come from a combination of presentations from that session from speakers: William Leake of Apogee Search, John McWeeny of TurnHere, and Eric Papczun of Performics.

Will a Lack of Editors Affect Wikipedia Accuracy?
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Wikipedia is a very useful site for anyone looking to find information on any given topic. Chances are that you have used it for research at one time or another. Even if you don’t start by going directly to Wikipedia, results from the site are often at the top of search results in Google, and you’ll get there anyway.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Takes Over Social Media
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Shhh, can you hear that? What you’re hearing is the collective shrieks from Twihards everywhere as The Twilight Saga: New Moon is upon us. For those of you asking yourself, what is a Twihard? I’ve included the definition below.

twi-hard noun
A serious/obsessive reader of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, one leap above Twilighters.

Yahoo and Microsoft Finalize Deal
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Update: Microsoft and Yahoo have closed the deal. WebProNews received an email from a Yahoo representative saying that they have "finalized and executed the definitive Search and Advertising Services and Sales Agreement and License Agreement in accordance with the letter agreement announced in July."

Statements from the two companies are as follows:

You May Get More Traffic from Twitter Than You Realize
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If you use Twitter or create content, you have probably figured out by now that it can be a great tool for driving traffic to your site. There are measures you can take to expand this if your content is not bringing in the Twitter traffic on its own.

Is Twitter a significant traffic source for your site? Comment here.

Google Acquires AppJet
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Another sign of the importance a certain search giant places on Google Wave came today as the acquisition of a company called AppJet was announced.  AppJet offers a product that mirrors certain aspects of Google Wave, only since it’s been around for a little longer, may have one or more legs up.

Amazon Launches Textbook Trade-In Program

Amazon.com has introduced a "Textbooks Trade-In" program, which allows people to exchange used textbooks in return for an Amazon gift card.

Users can search for the book on Amazon they want to trade and view how much credit they will receive in the form of a gift card.  If the offer seems reasonable, users can print a pre-paid shipping label and put the book in the mail.

Site Usability Issues Matter During the Holidays
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We’re well into the holiday season now, in terms of having sites ready for holiday sales. That said, it’s never too late to improve your site. Your sales may depend on it. There are lot of key ingredients that go into the recipe of a successful e-commerce site: marketing, analytics, customer service, prices, competition, and the list goes on. Somewhere in there is design, and more importantly, usability.

Google Finance Delves Into Streaming News

It’s possible to make hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars in a few minutes.  It’s also possible to lose tons of money in a short timespan, however, and this is even more likely to happen when someone’s dealing with outdated information.  So from now on, news stories will be streamed on Google Finance as they’re published.

The Young Are More Likely To Respond To Mobile Advertising

It appears that it is finally safe to say that if mobile hasn’t completely arrived it is certainly in the room and recognized for its potential. Should we declare 2010 as the ‘Year of Mobile’? Sure, why not. There will be others and honestly it means nothing to hype it. Let’s look at what’s actually going on at street level.

New Mobile Payment System Aimed At Small Businesses

Is it hip to be square again? Maybe according to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. His new startup, called Square, is a mobile payments (credit card processing) system that appeals to small businesses. But is he targeting the right customers?

Talks Surface of a Newspaper Industry Bailout

“You gotta be freakin’ kidding me!”

Yahoo Releases Top 10 Mobile Searches Of 2009
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Yahoo has released its top 10 mobile searches for 2009 and interestingly only two of the top searches match what people were searching for on their PCs.

While Michael Jackson topped Yahoo’s overall searches for 2009, actress Megan Fox landed in the top spot of mobile searches.  Those were the only search terms to make it into both the top 10 mobile and PC searches.

The NFL was the most popular sport search term for 2009, outpacing both the NBA and NASCAR.

MySpace Upgrades Users’ Mobile Experience
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MySpace has launched a new version of its mobile site at m.myspace.com for people who use iPhone, Android, and Palm WebOS. This version is optimized to take advantage of the browsers and screen sizes of these devices.

Microsoft Takes Users Behind Bing
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Microsoft has launched a new site for Bing, where users can go to find out the latest features that have been implemented into the search engine (excuse me, "decision engine"). The site’s called Behind Bing.

Reuters.com Rolls Out Redesign
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Thomson Reuters has introduced a new redesign to Reuters.com in an effort to offer more intelligent content to business professionals.

The redesign has been in the works for the past year according to David Schlesinger, Editor-in-Chief of Reuters.

Twitter Improves Mobile Site
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Twitter intends to offer all of its users an improved mobile experience in the near future, and in the meantime, a preview of its next-generation mobile site has become available.  mobile.twitter.com looks to be an upgrade in almost every way.

Google May Change Your Page Titles
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In case you were not aware, Google "reserves the right" to change the titles of your pages in search results. Google’s Matt Cutts has released a video discussing why and how they go about doing this.

Cutts says Google wants to show the titles that it thinks are most useful. "For example, suppose the title of your page is ‘Untitled’ or if there is no title. If that’s the case, we try to show a relevant, useful title."

New Google Feature Could Steal Some of Bing’s Travel Thunder

Google has launched a new "Translated Search" tool as one of the search engines search options. Google’s search options can currently be accessed by clicking "show options" on any results page, once a search has been performed (although you may not even have to do that soon). The idea is that searchers can more easily find and read content written in other languages.

Google Earth Users Get a Way to Build Architecture
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Update 2: Google has announced the addition of more cities:

• Stockholm, Sweden
• Nuremberg, Germany
• Hiroshima, Japan
• Saitama, Japan
• Miami Beach, FL USA
• Orlando, FL USA