Google has a nice video (approximately 8 minutes) of Matt Cutts describing the anatomy of a search result on the Google Webmaster Central Blog. He not only provides information on the terminology and the different sections of a search result, but also where the information comes from, why it appears and how you can influence what is shown for your site in a result list. I think this video is valuable to search engine users as well as site owners to understand how snippets for search results are put together. Go watch the video now.
Just a quick post to note these two links. First, Microsoft’s Live Search team announced the release of their Live Search Webmaster Center as a public beta this week. A quick review of the service shows promise, with valuable link and rank information shown for my site immediately after registering and verifying. I did have to switch to Safari, however, as I could not get my site registered in Firefox or see my site in Firefox after registration was completed in Safari. I thought it was a cookie issue, but after many retries I was not able to get Firefox to work, even after removing cookies, closing the browser, clearing the cache, etc. Once again, I believe it is important for any serious web site owner to be registered with any tools the search engines provide. This is the method for notifying search engines of new content (and sites) and getting reports of issues on your sites.
Also, the Yahoo! Search Blog has a nice summary of a SEO workshop talk, covering the topics of spiderability, duplicate content, linking strategies, fighting spam, and blended search, social marketing, behavioural search, and local issues. Many points a stress when talking to customers are reiterated here, including site structure, content is king, descriptive link text and the potential consequences of spamming the system among other, new and interesting points. A good read to reinforce tactics available to achieve your site strategy.
Webmaster Tools was recently updated with a new tool to allow specification of a geographic location to associate with your website. This will be useful to organizations whose sites server a specific area and do not wish to reach the full world wide web but want to be more relevant to specific geographic search queries. When not specified, Google continues the current practice of associating content with the top level domain (e.g. .ca) and the IP address of the server where the content was served from.
I also just took a look at the graphs of Googlebot activity in the Set crawl rate tool now that I have enough data to show graphs. It looks very clean, with the information presented in a nice, uncluttered fashion.