Search Engine Optimization :: Lyndsay Walker :: Toronto, Ontario

Google includes flight info in search results

For a while, Google’s flight tracker tool has allowed searchers to enter an airline’s flight number, showing a link to that flight’s updated information on

Google announced yesterday that it is now included those flight stats right in the search results. See below for WestJet’s flight WS 208:

WestJet WS 208 Cheap flights

This is great for the user – a simple and effective way to find out if his or her flight is on time. Of course, WestJet guests also have the option of visiting’s Flight Tracker to find out the status of flights.

Now, how do we tell that they’ve spelled WestJet wrong?  10 lashes with a wet noodle!

WestJet Cheap Flights

Rogers, what are you thinking?

For as long as they’ve been around, Google has prided itself on having a nice clean home page. Users have the option of signing up for iGoogle, a personalized home page if they so wish. But by default a visitor is served the classic clean home page.

Here in Canada, we really don’t have a lot of choices for reliable DSL or Cable Internet. Bell, Telus, Rogers, and Shaw are probably the biggest… I can’t even think of anyone else right now.

Lauren Weinstein posted recently what her Google classic home page looks like – thanks to his service provider Rogers, gone is that nice clean home page. Rogers is implementing a test interception page – without the approval of Google, I might add.

This is cause for great concern – if ISPs are able to hack into web pages without the host even knowing, what’s next? Will we be inundated with ads and banners that we cannot opt out of? Is the information we’re obtaining really secure?

In case you’re wondering, Rogers HAS confirmed this.

PubCon Las Vegas 2007 – Week in Review

What an incredible week. One of the most exciting, and also one of the most tiring!

One of the highlights of the week were the shows that Joe Morin arranged for PubCon attendees. I attended Mystere at Treasure Island and Blue Man Group at the Venetian. Both were outstanding shows, but I would have to say that Mystere was better. I did enjoy Blue Man Group, but I found the first hour to be a little slow going. The last 45 minutes, however, was phenomenal and certainly made up for any shortcomings.

I did manage to get to a few sessions – I admit, I spent most of the time networking. I sat in on the Duplicate Content session, where advises you to strip session IDs with robots.txt while Google says to leave them in. Another tip that Google gave is to use absolute URLs in your links so that if your content gets scraped or syndicated, the links still bring people back to your site. It was also suggested to use robots.txt to block RSS feeds, avoid another source of dup content. Yahoo! reminded everyone that Site Explorer has a tool that will rewrite dynamic URLs.

Next I hit the In-House Session – featuring my good friend Jessica Bowman of SEM In-House (and Yahoo!). She talked about the different kinds of allies you can have in house – informers and influencers. She recommends asking more than giving advice, and preparing an “SEO 101” presentation to give to everyone! This includes knowing the difference between a 301 and 302 redirect.

Bill Macaitis from Fox Interactive Media gave his Top 10 Tips for In-House SEO:

  1. Definite opportunity
  2. Small wins (like starting with Title and Description)
  3. Sell to all stakeholders
  4. Find allies
  5. Money words (say what the execs want to hear)
  6. Face to face
  7. Relationship management
  8. Ranking reports
  9. Bring out the competitor
  10. Accept no excuses.

Aaron Shear was also on the panel. He emphasized knowing your KPIs and using data – it can be your best friend. He noted that Commission Junction gives really unfriendly linking. He also talked about getting into the SEO forums but not to let your management browse them – they’ll be sure to pick up all the bad advice and ask you to implement it.

In the Analytics session, John Marshall went through the anatomy of a click. This was very interesting to me, as we are currently investigating discrepancies between Google AdWords reporting and Omniture reporting. All of the sudden, it makes a lot more sense. Scrott Orth also talked about Analytics Simplified.

More on my week at PubCon later!

(But before I go… some link love to the coolest guy in Kansas City)

Transborder Travel

Well, first of all, I had an absolutely fabulous week in Las Vegas. As soon as I got on the plane to come home, however, the fatigue and hunger I’d been ignoring all week hit me. All of the sudden I regretted choosing a flight that connected in Vancouver.

As I deplaned in Vancouver I hurried along my way, hoping to get to my next gate with enough plenty of time to enjoy Vancouver Airport’s traveller’s lounge (complete with hot buffet, WiFi and comfy leather seats). I knew I had to pass through customs, but it shouldn’t be too bad right?

WRONG! The lineup was massive!! It moved fairly quickly, but I still had to wait in line for 50 minutes, with a heavy backpack and a heavy purse. I was tired and hungry and cranky to say the least. Then my eyes gazed upon something… a reminder of something I had been meaning to apply for for a long time…

Nexus. Nexus is a program that allows hassle-free passage between Canada and the US. I’ve known about it for years. I’ve always thought it would be great to have that. But it wasn’t until the hot, sweaty wait in line, as I yearned for the empty Nexus line (it’s self-serve!) that I was finally motivated to apply.

As soon as I got my self to the travel lounge, I hopped online and started my application. For $50, I can bypass all the customs lines for air, land and sea crossings. Definitely worth it I’d say! Now I wait a few weeks and find out if I’m approved. The application took my an hour to do, I had to account for every minute of the past five years. Fingers crossed, everything will go smoothly, and I’ll be bypassing everyone at customs when I head to Orlando next month. And that includes my fiance who doesn’t think the $50 is worth it. Ha! We’ll see!