Only When the Words Outdo the Silence

Marketing, Media and Minutiae

Archive for June 2010

Google Caffeine Lives

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Not that this is breaking news as Google made the announcement that it is live across the board a few weeks ago, but to provide evidence of its ability to cache webpages very quickly take a look at the time it took to cache the last post. This site is tiny in the big scheme of internet things and yet it was cached in 1 minute:

Written by Cory Barbot

June 30, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Make a Web Page for Each Location

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If you’re a company that has many locations, then you should make a static page for each location.  Or, take Matt Cutts word for it:

This was one concrete example, but lots of large companies mess this up. If you have a lot of store or franchise locations, consider it a best practice to 1) make a web page for each store that lists the store’s address, phone number, business hours, etc. and 2) make an HTML sitemap to point to those pages with regular HTML links, not a search form or POST requests.

Good for search engines, good for users, good for the goose.  Outside of the SEO benefit, from a users’ perspective, providing that “See all locations” links makes me a) think less and b) type less.  I wonder what the bounce rate of store locator forms looks like.  I’m going to be “that guy” for a moment and quote myself from a blog I wrote for work at the end of 2008:

Why should I care about OpenID?
According to the same report by Google, “[o]ne of the biggest reasons the industry has focused on federated login is to minimize the work required for a user to signup for a new account at a website.  When users are presented with a traditional signup page that asks for E-mail, password, & password confirmation, it is quite common for 30 to 50% of users to not finish the process.” Couple this 30% to 50% number with the fact that the average user visits 11 pages within a website, spending 43.62 seconds on each page for a total of8 minutes spent on site and you’ll see that annoying users with a signup form will only shrink the already paltry amount of time they generally stay on a page. And think, creating a simplified login/signup process was basically completely out of your control.

Written by Cory Barbot

June 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Posted in SEO

Tagged with , , , ,

Top Reactions to Landon Donovan’s Goal Against Algeria

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I present to you the top crowd reactions to Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria during the final Group C match of the 2010 World Cup.  H should definitely be a Nike commercial:















Written by Cory Barbot

June 24, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Last 10 Sites I’ve Bookmarked

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In the spirit of growing the web and spreading the link love, the last 10 sites I bookmarked:

  • Themeforest – a website with themes to fit all of your content management system needs.  They’re mostly paid themes, but they look great.  They’ve got everything from WordPress themes to Drupal themes
  • 35 Excellent Wireframing Resources – came across this page will scoping out new wireframing/idea visualization/presentation software.  Smashing Magazine is good, period, but if you’re not only looking for wireframing/idea visualization/presentation software and want to learn about how to do it correctly, what it means and so forth then check out this page
  • n+1 – because you need interests outside of work – politics, literature and culture.  Enough said.
  • The 150 Best Online Flash Games – because you need intere…because flash games are fun :)
  • A List Apart – as the tagline says, “From pixels to prose, content to coding.”  Came across this site, via an article on the site, about content strategy.  Content needs to be created with much more purpose
  • The Best Southern Movie of 2010 – I moved to Austin from Little Rock.  Arkansas is near and dear.
  • McKinseyQuarterly – the CEO of Apogee is a former McKinsey guy; I figured it was about time I checked out their online presence
  • Finding the Right Tweeple – looking to find people to follow on Twitter?  Here are a few tools
  • PageRank Recovery Tool – looking to find the 404 errors on your site that are wasting away your precious PageRank?
  • SEO Gadget – I like their posts

Written by Cory Barbot

June 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm


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I like.


Written by Cory Barbot

June 17, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What Do Colleges Want Students to Read Outside Class?

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For my fellow bookivores out there, a study by the National Association of Scholars on what colleges want students to read outside of class.  Prior to my freshman year at Hendrix we were asked to read The Odyssey and…I can’t recall the other book which is funny since I know I read it, but did not read The Odyssey during the summer – go figure.  Moral of the story?  I agree, the reading should be done to cajole, push, instigate questions and help formulate new thoughts.  I don’t see how these qualities aren’t good for a business :):

We are skeptical about this pervasive emphasis on the contemporary and topical, for two reasons. First, it announces to students that the important things they should have in common as college students are the public affairs debates of the passing moment. College ought to be an occasion to take a step back from the news cycle and the endless buzz of opinion commentary to gain the larger perspectives of history and philosophy. World literature offers many great works that deal with exile, immigration, and arduous journeying to achieve a better life, and the experience of being displaced. If these are themes that colleges that assign Enrique’s Journey want their students to attend to especially, they might achieve something more profoundly educational by asking students to read the book of Ruth, The Odyssey, writings by Petrarch, or The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

Written by Cory Barbot

June 14, 2010 at 10:02 pm

World Cup: USA vs England

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Anyone else out there as excited as I am about the US vs. England on Saturday?  Cannot wait.  Head down to Fado’s early to catch a seat.  In anticipation of the game, a couple videos of the team:

Clint Dempsey against Juventus – Fulham overcame Juventus after being down 4-0 (lost the first game 0-3 at Juventus):

Landon Donovan against Brazil, 2009 Confederations Cup

Benny Feilhaber against Mexico, 2007 Confederations Cup:

Written by Cory Barbot

June 9, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Search Engine Optimization vs. Social Media Optimization

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Came across this blog post, Search Engine Optimization vs. Social Media Optimization, and have a few replies:

What is the world like when real human beings can replace the best in search engine optimization?

I’ve Blogged about this notion more than a few times. If you were looking for the best Thai restaurant in New York City, would you ask Google or your friends and followers in places like Twitter and Facebook? Whose response would you trust more? Where is there more value in terms of both relationship and community building? Search engines are still hugely important in today’s world, but will their primary function shift because of Social Media and how well connected we are all becoming. We are moving ever closer to what James Surowiecki described as “The Wisdom of Crowds” (also the name of his best-selling business book).


My general response to this passage:

I think that search is so fundamental to our experience on the internet – being at the edge of something, exploring, digging, looking, searching for…something – that it will be extremely difficult for a single company to do both search and social well.

My specific responses to this passage:

1. If I were looking for the best Thai restaurant in New York City, would I ask Google or my friends and followers in places like Twitter and Facebook?

Well, that would depend on what type of answer I’m looking for and how long I’m willing to wait – it’s both a qualitative and time bound (quantitative) answer.  I’ll start with the qualitative part  then go on to the time bound/quantitative part.

Qualitatively, if I’m looking for an answer that is generally middle of the road, determined by the numbers, determined by the wisdom of the crowd then I’d likely head to Google (or some other search engine…or not).  So, on the last point covered in this passage, the wisdom of the crowds part, we’re already there.  Google determines results primarily via the wisdom of the crowds, otherwise known as the number, velocity and quality of incoming links directed at a Thai restaurant.

If I’m looking for an answer from a friend who is a Thai food connoisseur then I might head to Facebook, but more likely Twitter.  Anecdotally, it seems more questions are asked on Twitter whereas people tend talk entirely about themselves on Facebook – “Is it Friday yet?”, “Something, something, republican, something, liberal, something, BP”, “YAY! can’t wait to go to Costa Rica!!!” or something entirely too personal.  In either case, I’d likely head to a social media website.  This is another reason why I don’t think social media websites are going to replace search engines anytime soon – each serves an entirely different purpose, a different telos.

Numbers definitely play a role in this portion of the game.  By going to Google, I’m asking this machine to crunch the numbers for me, a huge lot of numbers (votes, links), and provide a qualitative answer based on the crowd.  Also, I know that Google has access to a lot more “people” than I do in my little social network on Facebook or Twitter.  Who is most likely to have an answer to a question I do not know?  Looking at the numbers, Google.  Yes, friends, you are all brilliant people, but you don’t know everything :)

Going to a social network for an answer significantly shrinks the number of minds I can tap into regarding the best Thai restaurant in NYC.

From a time perspective, I know that I will get an answer within milliseconds – the search engines are nice enough to let us know how long it took them to retrieve the answer.  But, if I head to a social media website who knows when I’ll get an answer – whenever my friend feels like it.

2. Whose response would you trust more?

I think this is answered generally above, or vaguely if you wish, but to be explicit I trust both search and social.  If you start getting into things like how many liters does a gallon contain then the trust issue disappears and might even lean toward a search engine, whether Google or Wolfram Alpha.

3. Where is there more value in terms of both relationship and community building?

Well, I don’t think search engines are in the business of creating value around relationships and community building, so a) I think the answer is obvious and b) I don’t understand how this is a relevant question to the topic.  We do know that search engines look at relationships between sites, links, and uses them as an important ranking and relevancy signal, but in that regard they’re the objective observer taking pictures of these relationships.

I think the overall post relies on the assumption that because so many of us are engaged in social media, we will inevitably ask our social media accounts for answers to questions.  And, more importantly, ask the social media accounts questions more often than a search engine.  However, I don’t agree that because we spend a lot of our lounging-around time on Facebook or Twitter we will ask them for answers to questions.  We are there because we’re voyeurs and exhibitionists.  It’s watch or be watched. And we have short attention spans today.  Search is about instantaneous answers.  Give me the answer now or give me dea…another blog post to scan!

Written by Cory Barbot

June 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm

I Want to…

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I’ve noticed sites are slowly starting to add a navigation section aimed at action – take a peek at the navigation footer over at Hitwise.  When people hit the bottom of the page, perhaps after they’ve read the above-the-fold information and haven’t found the info they were looking for, they’ll notice a section that a) explicitly addresses them, “I”, making it a bit more personal and b) the actions included in this section are likely based off of keyword data from their analytics package which means the links function as appropriate calls-to-action.  Or, let’s take the other angle and say the “I Want to…” links aren’t based on any sort of data.  Well, then it should be!  If you have an internal site search engine, you’d be apt to go their first and see what people cannot find on your site.  Then, boom, turn it into a call to action.

Written by Cory Barbot

June 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Posted in UI, Website Usability


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