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Yahoo Updates Answers Algorithm for Main Search Results

It seems Yahoo has updated the algorithm used to determine which Yahoo Answers questions get posted to the main SERPs. So what’s changed?

Before the change, the results on search.yahoo.com were directly related to the search results that where given on answers.yahoo.com/search. For example, “what color is the sun” would include only answers that where returned here and in the same order but minus certain listings. The difference being Answers search results included listings that could be open or closed and may not have had a best answer while the main Yahoo SERPs included only listings that where closed and had a best answer chosen.

The New Yahoos

Yahoo has premiered a few new features today. In addition to adding a social component to Yahoo Answers, they premiered the new My Yahoo.

YahooThe Yahoo Answers social network allows you to make friends with other Answerers. Although it’s like Yahoo’s other social networks, according to Search Engine Land, the Answers network can’t import your contacts from other Yahoo social networks.

Although the director of product management for social search, Tomi Poutanen (what a fine Finnish name!), says this choice is deliberate, he also notes that they’ll be adding this capability in the future.

See also PC World‘s and Yahoo‘s own coverage.

Should You Use Paid Inclusion for StumbleUpon?

StumbleUpon is popular, delivers interested and qualified traffic and is relatively cheap for their paid inclusion program. But like other social media, StumbleUpon isn’t the easiest way to promote your site. In fact, it may not even be valuable to promote your site. As StumbleUpon warns in their advertising FAQ:

Some content doesn’t work well with StumbleUpon. A hard-sell offering little introduction or supporting information will seem out of place to StumbleUpon’s community members. Remember that they’re using the service to find something new, something different. Pages that contain little more than a list of ppc or affiliate links also will not perform well.

Is it worth is to promote your site via paid inclusion on StumbleUpon? The cost is $0.05/impression. The conversion rate will obviously depend on what a conversion is for your site.

Digg, Reddit Milestones

Digg reports they’ve reached an impressive 1 million user accounts. (If you’re a Diggr and planning on being in the San Francisco area “mid April,” possibly April 19, you’re being invited to a party in that post, so check it out.)

Digg doesn’t mention, however, how many of the accounts are duplicates, suspended or inactive. Michael Arrington (and some commenters on the post) openly admits that at least 10 of those 1 million accounts are his. Time for my favorite smiley: :\ .

Reddit’s also in the news today, finally beginning to see some of the same bad press that Digg made famous (and then buried). Paul McNamara at NetworkWorld calls them a meritocracy and points out that, at the time of his writing, 14 of the 15 top items on Reddit were calling for Bush’s impeachment.

‘McPaper’ to ‘McWeb2.0′: USATODAY Goes Social

It’s been two days since USA TODAY redesigned its site, adding serious social components. The new social features include the ability to make comments on news stories, “recommend” stories or comments, review movies and music, discuss in forums, contribute photos and more.

USATODAY says that the redesign impacts more than just the look and feel of their online presence:

While we’ve refined the design, we’ve also expanded the journalistic mission: Our ambition is to help readers quickly and easily make sense of the world around them by giving them a wider view of the news of the day and connecting them with other readers who can contribute to their understanding of events.

In addition to the visual and social changes, USATODAY has “cleaned up the layout, simplified the navigation, improved ‘search’, and made it easier to find related stories.”

Weekend Acquisitions

Neo@Ogilvy/GSI
Neo@Ogilvy, the digital & direct media arm of Ogilvy, acquired Global Strategies International, “a leading search marketing consultancy,” they announced Friday. GSI specializes in SEO, brand reputation management and training.

In their press release, Neo@Ogilvy said of the merger:

“Search marketing cannot live in a silo anymore,” said Nasreen Madhany, Global CEO of Neo@Ogilvy. “It needs to be part of a 360 strategy for delivering marketing solutions. When managed holistically, search marketing can deliver branding as well as business results. The integration of GSI into Neo@Ogilvy will allow us to deliver end-to-end digital marketing solutions to clients throughout Neo’s global network.”

GSI will keep its founders, including recently elected SEMPO board member Bill Hunt, to “maintain its own identity within Neo@Ogilvy.”

The rest of the story

Here’s some of the news also going on in the search world now:

  • Google Blogoscoped features an FAQ of Google censorship, including a pretty comprehensive history of censorship by Google—and not just on Google.cn. Says Phillip Lenssen: “For the scope of this FAQ I’ll define censorship as missing results which are filtered for reasons of politics or regulations, not because they’re spam, non-family friendly, or copyright-infringements (though your mileage may vary).”
  • Today is Yahoo’s 12th birthday, according to Wired. That explains why they’re having such a hard time lately—they’re in the ‘awkward’ stage.
  • eMarketer reports that Facebook is tops with the 17-25 demographic (free on a limited basis). As a member of that demographic, I say, “Duh. MySpace is for my 15-year-old sister and child predators.” Females in the demographic name MySpace and YouTube as numbers 2 and 3, respectively. Males pick YouTube and Yahoo! as 2 and 3 (MySpace is #6—ight above Wikipedia).