Google’s AJAX-powered Search Results Break Keyword Tracking

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Our beloved web analytics tool Clicky blogged about a pretty crucial SEO & analytics issue today: Google is rolling people over to a new AJAX-powered search, that pushes query strings AFTER a hash mark. So: http://www.google.com/search?q=what’s+my+referrer becomes: http://www.google.com/#q=what’s+my+referrer

The problem with this is that browsers don’t send anything after the hash mark (this thing: #) in their referrer string, since they’re used for named anchors. Since analytic tools use the referrer string to parse search keywords, this breaks that functionality for anyone on the “new” Google. Nightmare. It’s as if they’re effectively “commenting out” the rest of the query string from the referrer string–dark pool, that. Learn more about the ramifications here after the jump.

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Posted in: Rants, Tech News

Cuil: Search That Sucks or: How NOT To Launch A Search Engine

Search engine Cuil (pronounce it however the hell you want to, but apparently they prefer “cool”) launched yesterday to a whole lot of “Google-killer” OMG vibes. And thus far, it really rather sucks.

The home page is Google-simplistic: Logo. Input box. Search button. Over-inflated index count. About link. Privacy link. On black. (Which is, I hear, the new black.) Start typing and a helpful suggest engine ala Google Suggest pops up. Cheers.

Try to search. One of several things will happen. Since we’re out of the “our servers are cooked” phase of things, chances are, you’ll get a results page. But if you were lucky to give it a shot early on, you’d just be flat presented with a “no results found” page. I searched “web application development” and “web development” and both came up with a 0-results page. This is apparently because the caching system isn’t able to retrieve results on the first request so instead places them in a queue. Except that Cuil doesn’t bother telling you that they’re still getting their shit together and that you’ll need to check back when they’ve actually pulled and cached those results. Not that you’d want to. Here’s why, after the jump.

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Posted in: Rants

Adobe Makes Dynamic Flash & Flex Files Indexable

Adobe announced today that they were delivering a special optimized Flash player for search robots, allowing search engines like Google and Yahoo to index not just a page’s non-Flash content, not just the content of the static data already indexed within a Flash movie, but the entire contents of each path taken throughout the Flash interface, entirely:

Adobe has provided Flash Player technology to Google and Yahoo! that allows their search spiders to navigate through a live SWF application as if they were virtual users. The Flash Player technology, optimized for search spiders, runs an SWF file similarly to how the file would run in Adobe Flash Player in the browser, yet it returns all of the text and links that occur at any state of the application back to the search spider, which then appears in search results to the end user.

This is an interesting approach that will really change the game for a lot of rich internet application providers. Anyone developing applications on the Flex platform knows that lacking the ability to make their dynamic content indexable is an IMMENSE drawback, especially when so much traffic is driven by search engines now. This changes the game. More on how, after the jump.

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Posted in: Cool Stuff