If you attend Search Marketing industry conferences, you’ve no doubt run into the ever optimistic and charming Mel Carson from Microsoft. When I was last in London, Mel connected me with an excellent Fish n Chips that the pubs around Trafalgar Square couldn’t get close to. Mel is active as an advocate of Microsoft Advertising , especially via social media channels and at conferences to the Webmaster and search marketing community. His work is global and very interesting. With the Bing and Yahoo convergence, I thought it was time we did an interview – and he agreed.
Web Analytics are a key indicator to the health and performance of any website, but online marketers often get lost in the complexities and details, forgetting how important analytics actually are and why.
Analytics can provide a wealth of information but marketers often look at high level indicators such as: top content, bounce rates, entrance sources and keywords without tying it all together. In most cases, there is a tremendous amount of insight that can be used to make smarter marketing decisions, but most companies barley scratch the surface. At the OMS Minneapolis event last week Adam Proehl gave an excellent presentation on analytics failures and successes. I’ve taken my notes from that presentation and combined them with my own opinions to create this list.
Adding real-time search and social search to the mix in the search engine world has created a number of new opportunities for marketers that want to do a better job of reaching customers. With new data sharing announcements happening fairly regularly, it can paint an interesting picture when you lay out the relationships between major social networks and search engines. It’s not unlike the search engine relationship chart from Bruce Clay I remember from several years ago documenting the relationships between Inktomi, Yahoo, Lycos, Alta Vista, Excite, HotBot, Direct Hit/Teoma, Northern Light and even Google. Not many of those are still around.
As the diagram above illustrates, the major data sharing for real-time search is between the social sites Twitter and Facebook and the major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing. To be more specific:
There are currently 29.6 million small businesses in the U.S. (SCORE). 63% of consumers and small business owners use the Internet to find information about local companies and 82% use search engines (Webvisible & Nielsen). That means there’s a lot of opportunity for local SEO.
Recently I attended GetListed.org’s Local University in Minneapolis which focused on how to optimize web sites for local search. Out of all the good information that came out of the event, here are 10 easy things you can do today to optimize sites and content to attract local customers.
1. Claim your profile.
It’s as simple as logging into Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local and walking through the verification steps which include a phone call or post card to verify your address.
To know what the world is searching for must be amazing. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are in that position but they’re not exactly sharing those insights. Well, except if you do a little guess work and leverage their keyword research or keyword suggest tools. For example, the suggest-as-you-type features that all the major search engines now offer can provide some interesting insight “on the fly” into what people are searching for.
For quick keyword research, Aaron Wall has a Google Suggest tool for keyword suggestions that adds more options and insight.
There’s some entertainment value to this as well. Start typing in “my girlfriend” or “my boyfriend” and you’ll see what I mean. Along those lines, let’s see some examples for each major search engine using the syntax, “Google is “:
Here on Online Marketing Blog, we post a tremendous amount of insight on organic search optimization and content marketing related topics each month. But how about the site search tool on our own blog? Who’s searching for what, and why? And what are they finding?
Mining the site search report from Google Analytics can be very useful since it’s an indication of what our visitors want to read more of. Here are the six most popular site search terms for Online Marketing Blog including our favorite, “pirates”.
With Facebook taking off as a top channel for social media marketing, it’s no wonder that them comes up as our leading search query. Just consider the recent numbers:
- Facebook boasts more than 400 million active users
Since late 2009 when Google introduced real time search, the concept has gained a lot of attention.
Today, real time search is at the top of the priority lists for all the major search engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
As part of the new technology, Google is combining live updates from sites like Twitter with the latest news headlines and blog posts in search results.
For web searchers, real time search means the ability to discover breaking news the minute it’s happening.
For marketers, it presents a whole host of opportunities to increase online visibility. Here, we’ve provided five ways to leverage real time search in your online marketing efforts.
No this is not linkbait using Jeremiah’s name. Read on to find out what this “not entirely unlike” business from Google is all about and what it has to do with him.
A while back I wrote about the new design Google is testing (which I like a lot) that adds a third column to search results along the left side. It’s come and gone a few times since then as I move about the country and as Google reveals it for testing.
As of this morning, Google is delivering the new design to me again and I noticed something different after doing a search on my name. (Admit it, you Google your own name too!) At the bottom of the new column it shows an unconventionally named, “Not entirely unlike” result. What kind of label is that? It reminds me of the slang phrase, “it doesn’t suck”.
Over the last few years, the popularity of social channels – for professionals, teens, grandmas and everyone in between – has skyrocketed. Consider the recent numbers:
- Twitter experienced an annual growth in 2009 of 1,382%
- Facebook now boasts 400 million active users
- Every minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube
Between blog posts, Facebook status updates, tweets, videos and every other piece of social content published, there’s a whole lot of information floating around out there.
Enter the latest social media player, Google.
Google’s latest activities, acquisitions and features all point to the fact that the search giant no longer has a close eye on web 2.0; it’s already there.
Here are 5 ways Google is now becoming a dominant social media player:
Did you realize that search engines have gone full circle on URLs in variables? It used to be considered something to avoid, now search engines are saying variables in URLs are good, as long as you use the canonical meta tag. Google is pushing them with FeedBurner and if webmasters aren’t careful, they could fall victim to a new onslaught of duplicate content issues.
One of the biggest issues with SEO is duplicate content. If search engines can’t tell which version of a document is the original or canonical version, then there can be consequences involving less than ideal search visibility. For example, the following URLs might all point to the same web page, creating the illusion that they are copies of the same thing. But in reality, it’s just one web page.
Quality inbound links are an essential element of web site marketing and search engine optimization programs to increase traffic and online sales. The greater the number of relevant and authoritative links to a web page, the greater the potential for higher search engine rankings and qualified traffic.
A recent survey from SEOmoz illustrates just how important inbound links are to rankings. An impressive 4 of the top 5 ranking factors involve inbound links:
- Keyword focused anchor text from external links: 73% very high importance
- External link popularity: 71% very high importance
- Diversity of link sources: 67% very high importance
- Trustworthiness of the domain based on link distance from trusted domains: 66% very high importance
UPDATE: Google has announced the official rollout of the new design on Google Blog.
Google is a master of innovation in the search space and while they seem to subscribe to Guy Kawasaki’s “release early and release often” new product philosophy, the attention to changing the Google search page is near-holy. Minuscule design changes at even the pixel level are cautious and carefully considered. And rare.
Apparently, Google is testing a redesign and logo which you can see in this home page screen shot:
The logo has changed and the “Google Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky” buttons are blue rather than gray. But the biggest changes are on the search results page. There are three columns rather than two: