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Blog Tag: 5 Things About Me

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 12:57 am

I’ve been a little behind on my industry reading, so I’m just now noticing that I got tagged last week to participate in a meme that’s making it’s way around the Web. According to one participating post, it was started by Jeff Pulver. Basically it’s a game of blog tag, where a blogger writes 5 things about herself that her audience might not know and then gets 5 other bloggers to do the same.

I’m a pretty private person, so there are plenty of things you might not know about me unless you’re a close friend. And I tend to like it that way. However, it’s fun to play along and I’m sure I can come up with 5 innocuous, non-incriminating factoids.

1. I don’t vote. Now before you get all up in my grill, I have a decent excuse: I’m not a U.S. citizen. I’m a German citizen. As a permanent resident of the U.S., however, I don’t have to worry about work visas or anything like that. The only time it’d be an issue is if I’m looking for work that requires a security clearance or anything for the government. Luckily, pretty much by definition, anything someone is going to want optimized for search isn’t going to be classified info. As for working for the government, that just isn’t appealing to me anymore. Which brings us to #2.

2. Before I came out to DC, I wanted to be a policy wonk. I spent my formative years in the San Francisco Bay Area (a.k.a. Silicon Valley) and I moved to the East Coast to get away from all the engineers. Once in DC, I promptly realized I didn’t want to do policy work and found myself an employer who appreciated that I was conversant in techno-babble (this was before the death throes of the first Internet bust).

3. I prefer WETA’s new format. I’m one of very few people who admits to being happy WETA switched to the all-news format at the expense of classical music. Trust me, this is a big deal to the public radio listeners of the DC area. But sorry guys, WAMU just wasn’t cutting it. So while everyone else laments that WETA dropped classical music, I’m personally pleased to have a radio station that I can listen to any time of day without fear of running into Stained Glass Bluegrass music hour.

4. I once met Jeff Pulver. He was hitting on a colleague of mine. The year: 1998. The event: SUPERCOMM. The dancing: spazzy. Pulver organized one of the parties, but I didn’t realize until later that he was the oddball tearing back and forth in front of the stage with some cringe-inducing euro-dance moves.

5. I hate slugs. Abhor them. Irrationally so. Give me a (reasonably sized) spider or snake and I’m a-okay. But slugs? (shiver). Okay, now I’m really stretching to fill out the list. But there you have it: 5 things about Melanie.

Much like a good ol’ fashioned chain letter, the next step is to pass this on to five more people who each do the same. As for who is next… I haven’t seen any rules about this meme, so I’m going to ahead and tag Matt Cutts and Jeremy Zawodny, neither of whom I know and neither of whom read this blog. Also on the list: Jonathan Sousa, Nick Carter, and Jaimie Sirovich.

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Category: Navel-Gazing

Google SOAP Search API to Die a Slow Death

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 8:25 pm

I missed this earlier: apparently Google is killing its search API. Not a blow to the spine kind of killing, but a removing the feeding tube kind of slow but assured death. That’s going to be a problem for those of us who rely on the search API to track our rankings (since you can’t track manually as many keywords and domains as I do). Read the discussion on Search Engine Watch, to get other SEO’s opinions on this development.

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Category: Google

DMOZ Back Up, But Not Backed Up

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 11:51 am

I was finally able to log back into my DMOZ editor account after a major ODP hardware SNAFU and I noticed something interesting: Only one new entry in my subcategory. Why is this interesting? Because before the crash I had several pending entries in the queue. The one entry now awaiting approval (which, btw, was spam so I deleted it) was new. So basically if you submitted your site for inclusion in the Open Directory Project prior to the the crash, your application is gone and you’ll need to resubmit.

Resubmitting to ODP
If you submitted a few months ago (or longer), this development may actually be in your favor since odds are your site was already deleted from the queue or was languishing in that purgatory of sites that the editor wasn’t quite sure what to do with. Having to resubmit your site now, when there isn’t already an older application for that URL sitting in the queue, gives site owners a chance to make a more compelling case for why their site is worthy of inclusion — without the baggage of your previous failed attempts prejudicing the editor.

Key points to remember when submitting to DMOZ: 1) Be as conservative in your title and description as possible. You want to be objective and factual not promotional. Read the other descriptions in the category to get a feel for the editor’s style. 2) Submit to the right category or subcategory. The more specific the better. I can’t stress that enough. And don’t try submitting to multiple categories in the hopes that one editor is sloppier than another. Editors can see very easily when you do that, and we don’t like it.

And read the DMOZ guidelines carefully before you resubmit. A clean slate is a great opportunity — don’t blow it.

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Category: DMOZ

Google Now Second-Most Visited Site in the World

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 10:53 am

According to ComScore, displaced Yahoo as the world’s second-most-visited Web site in November. Visitors to Google’s sites rose 9.1 percent year-over-year, to 475.7 million in November 2006, just edging out Yahoo site visits which rose 5.2 percent, to 475.3 million. Microsoft, in the meantime maintains its lead with 501.7 million worldwide visitors last month, according to the market research company.

Google was able to edge out Yahoo due to its growing international popularity; Yahoo contines to receive more visits than Google within the United States.

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Category: Data

Related Searches on Google

Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 12:18 pm

I’ve only noticed this in the last few days, although I’m sure others have been posting about this already (I’m a little behind on my industry reading), but Google seems to be testing the display of related search terms (again). This is something that MSN/Live and Yahoo have been doing for a long time, and a feature I always found particularly helpful as a searcher. Should drive traffic for these tail terms, which might make you happy if you rank well for these types of secondary phrases but not the general one.

In “related news” (har har), Google has also been displaying links from old news stories:

Happy Festivus!

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Category: Google