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Quite a week this week. After a ‘historic’ election its almost time for the ‘historic’ inauguration of a ‘historic’ president. Also if you’re in Vancouver this week, the Push Festival and Ideas on Tap are both going on. Come get your fill of theatre geeks and tech geeks, all in one week! Historic!

Last week was a big week in SEO news, with the release of a new Google Site Map Generator, Matt Cutts chiming in on how Google plans to deal with junk review sites, a new CEO at Yahoo, and an outcry over some shady tactics of theirs.

 Internet Marketing and SEO

  • First up this week, Google has released a new Google Sitemap Generator. This tool finds new and modified URL’s using a combination of web traffic, log files, and server files; can create XML sitemaps, mobile site maps, code search site maps; and it can ping Google blog search with updated urls, as well as any search engine that supports the standard. All in all a very, very cool tool (as we would expect from Google).
  • Matt Cutts himself has posted this week that Google is playing with new ways to trim empty review pages from search results. Their method is somewhat old school, simply asking their users to submit such sites. I can’t imagine this will work well, but knowing Google they have something up their sleeve. Or they just don’t care.
  • Huo Mah has written another fantastic analysis, this time on bounce rates as a ranking signal. Honestly, why haven’t you subscribed to this guys blog yet (and why haven’t you subscribed to ours)? This time he analyzes the role of bounce rate, why it is such a ‘noisy’ signal, and why Google likely does not rely on it.
  • Last week ClickEquations published part two of their series on impression share. This time they are asking “does impression share matter”? Their answer has the classic ambivalence of the analytics community, stating that yes, it does matter, but only if you reorganize your campaign to make it useful.

 Web Development

  • It’s out! jQuery 1.3 came out on jQuery’s 3rd birthday, last Wednesday. New features include a CSS selector engine, event delegation, an overhaul of event handling, rewritten HTML appending, quick position calculating, and the replacement of browser sniffing with feature detection.
  • Is it code? Is it usability? A little of both, Yahoo has announced that the source code of YUI 2&3 is now on GitHub.

 Web Analytics

 Web Usability
  • Usability Post released a short polemic on the usability of paper. They mainly talk about the ease of doing multiple tasks with it (drawing, writing, diagramming, all without having to stop and load anything), and how we need versatile devices that can do the same, but it seems to me that they’re falling just short of the ultimate problem: our current generation of user interfaces is still based on a linguistic paradigm, instead of a manipulation paradigm. That is to say that the central action of computer use is still the command (file -> save; windows -> programs -> Adobe Photoshop). Paper is not given commands, it is simply manipulated. This direct involvement is what makes it so innately usable. The development needed for ebooks and iPhones is then not so much touch screens (though they are a great development and step towards this) but smart interfacing and usability design based on usage and actions instead of commands. Death to the menu! Death to the application! Long live the pen!
  • Good Usability apparently dislikes the use of ‘click here’. If you want to read what they have to say, click here. They argue that, though not in these words, hyperlinks should be hyper text, not what is essentially a button built out of a target tag. They’re right for the most part, they say that ‘click here’ doesn’t tell us where we’re going, it smothers trigger words, it has been statistically proven to increase click through ra… wait a sec, that point is contextually completely out of place. This, I think, is what Good Usability is missing, the context of an action. While I agree that hyper text should be used as hyper text (look at my round ups), when ‘click here’ exists within the context of a sentence or paragraph that is descriptive of the purpose of the link makes up for the disassociations of this phrase. It’s also good for people who don’t fully understand hypertext, though that wont be a problem a generation or two down the line. Nitpicking aside, he does make a good case against most of the reasons for using click here, and is worth reading for that.

 Miscellaneous links of the week: