There’s A New Search Engine In Town: Cuil Review

Cuil pronounced “cool” (use a heavy Irish accent) is the creation of ex-Google brain Anna Patterson who said to CNN that her new search engine offers “better ways to search”.

I’m always interested in better ways to find what I’m looking for, so I visited www.cuil.com to give it a test:

What I liked:

1. Simple home page, ala Google

2. Suggestive search box (based on what you type, it suggests words)

3. Folder style tabs recommending additional content sections (nice, requires less thinking, I think)

4. More visually appealing than Google

What I didn’t like:

1. Results seemed scattered on the page, but this probably because I’m used to scanning the page from top-to-bottom and Cuil presents results in a three column format.

2. Some results seemed a little confusing since they appeared with images along side and the image may not be relevant to the content.

Even though Cuil has $33M in venture funding and it’s just a couple of days old, I’m not sure if it’s unique enough to make a dent in Google’s armor. What I do like is that fact that people are trying to improve on the standards and even change them and this is how we all win.

But the ultimate judge of performance is you, www.cuil.com

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How to Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly

Google engineer Matt Cutts, who’s quite popular with the techies, offered some simple yet great advice on how to make your website easier to find by your prospective customers.

Here’s a quick summary of what he says to USA Today in his interview:

1. Add “keywords” to your site’s content; keywords are the words you think people will use to find your site when they use a search engine. The more keywords you use in your content, the easier your site will be to find.

2. Title Tags and Description Tags are the information Google displays about your website in the results page.

3. The more people that link to your website the better. People will link to your content if it’s interesting and of value. (By the way, please link to me!)

4. Advertising on Google does not get you preferred treatment. You will not rank higher in the free results because you advertise.

5. Normally, Google refreshes its entire inventory once a month. This means that Google may visit your site to look for new content every 30 days. However, don’t wait a month for Google to visit your site; submit your site to Google at http://www.google.com/addurl.

I’m not the best person to summarize interviews, but if you liked the tips above, I’d recommend taking time to watch the five-minute video interview and hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

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The Power of the “Oops, We Made A Mistake” Email

On her July 7th article “Top E-mail Tips to Drive Response”, Jeanniey Mullen from The ClickZ Network shares some tips about driving email response. She mentions that forms (search, first name, telephone, etc.) and rich media (Flash, animated .gif’s) work well in terms of getting action (clicks or completions), but forms and animated graphics may be blocked by some email clients. This is so, because in the fight against spam and viruses most email programs, especially web-based email clients (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.), block embedded forms and Flash files.

What comes right to your inbox and gets a ton of readership is honesty; yes, old- fashioned acceptance of a mistake turns out to get a lot of readership. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense, because everyone likes it when you “come clean” and apologize for a mistake, then you admit guilt and ask for mercy.

This works just as well face-to-face as it does in email communications. I’m not suggesting you start sending apologies to your clients and prospective clients to improve your email marketing success; what I want to bring to light is that if you make a mistake, it is important to apologize quickly and take the opportunity to increase readership by offering amends… and a promotional coupon, offer, or incentive.

Want proof of the power of apology? Check out JetBlue CEO David Neeleman’s video apology. Take a look at the very positive comments below and don’t overlook the fact that the video has over 329,000 viewings.