Beyond Google: SEO and the Social Web

google88 billion (OK, 87.8, we rounded up). That’s the number of search queries Google web properties are responsible for each month according to comScore.

Core to many search marketing strategies is to “Fish where the fish are” and make no mistake, the fish are decidedly hanging out on Google. YouTube, Gmail, Blogger.com and many other online services from Google make its presence ubiquotous in the online marketing world.

Now imagine if Google disappeared tomorrow. What would that do to your marketing? What would it do to your business?

Some of the people reading this post have experienced such a disappearance. Not of Google going away, but the experience of their own sites or pages disappearing from high visibility positions within Google search results.

SEO Google Style: Interview with Maile Ohye


Spotlight on Search Interview with Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google

Spotlight on Search is an interview series that shines a light on search marketing professionals to learn more about the nature of their work, differences in SEO amongst categories of web sites and of course, SEO tips, tactics and useful tools.

MaileMaile Ohye has become a well known public figure from Google that works with webmasters and web marketers coordinating Google Webmaster Central outreach efforts, including the Webmaster Central Blog. She has been speaking at search conferences for several years and has done many interviews like the one at the bottom of this post with Greg Jarboe on real-time search. Her involvement with Google’s Webmaster Central has been instrumental in helping many web site owners find solutions to their Google problems.

Google is Skynet. Search Suggest Opinions

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 “:

Google: The Social Media Company

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:

All New Google Design

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:

New Google Home Page 112609

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:

New Google Search Results 112609

SEO for Flash: 5 Tips and Best Practices

flash seoSEO for Flash – is it a reality yet?

One of the most common issues for web sites with poor search visibility involves Google not being able to crawl and index a site’s content. Web sites made entirely with Flash are problematic because there are often no links for search engine crawlers to follow or HTML text to copy.

According to the Opera (browser) developer center, somewhere between 30% and 40% of all pages tested contained Flash files representing a lot of content that may not be included in search results or only partially indexed. Despite a large number of sites publishing content using this type of file format, Flash and search engines have been like oil and water. They just didn’t mix.

Google: Social Media is a Party, SEO is Bullsh*t, Advertising is Good For You

I noticed someone using Google suggest in another story today (honestly forgot where) and thought I’d see what Google “thinks” about social media. Then I tried SEO. Not surprising. Funniest of all, considering Google’s business model, was advertising.

What Google Thinks of Social Media

Pretty telling when you think about it. Of course this isn’t what Google “really thinks” about social media, it’s Google’s response to search queries and effort to predict what we’re really searching for.

Google Suggest works by drawing from searches by other Google users, sites in Google’s search index, and ads in the Google advertising network. If you’re logged in, Google will use your search history to make suggestions. It can be a handy search tool. It can also be revealing.

View Google Analytics In WordPress’ Dashboard

Google Analytics is a full-featured analytics suite that is free to all to use. The data it captures lets blog owners know referrers to their site, keywords, popular posts, unique visitors and so much more.

With the Google Analyticator plug-in, you can view a summary of the blogs Google Analytics, for the past 30 days, right on the dashboard for quick and easy access.

Here’s how to setup Google Analytics on WordPress’ dashboard.

1. Sign up for a free Google Analytics account. If you already have a Gmail, or other Google account, then just sign-in. http://www.google.com/analytics/

Get Google Analytics

Get Google Analytics

2. Get the Google Analyticator plug-in, install it on the blog, activate the plug-in, and remember to configure it.

Download The Plug-In

Download The Plug-In

SES SJ: Google on Converting Visitors To Customers

google-session
Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager at Google presented a sponsored session on converting your visitors to customers, specifically through the use of internal site searches.

Businesses spend a tremendous amount of time, resources, and capital on website development and online marketing initiatives.  Getting people to a site is a challenge in itself, but another key aspect is retaining those visitors and converting them into buyers or subscribers.

Google search has set a high bar for relevance, speed, and ease of use. Unfortunately most site searches don’t meet these high expectations: 85 percent don’t return what the user sought, and 80 percent of visitors will abandon a site if search functionality is poor (Jupiter Research).

SES SJ: Beyond Googling: Where will Customers be Searching in 5 years?

beyond-googling

Beyond Google. Where will customers be searching in 5 years?

Dixon Jones of Receptional asks the audience: Who doubts life after Google? About half the audience raises their hand.

According to Dixon, there will be life after Google and we are already there. He cites Facebook as an example of a site that is growing links more quickly than Google.

He then goes on to discuss the Trust/Convenience Contract. This contract is illustrated when searchers trust Google to give them data, as opposed to going around knocking on neighbor’s doors to find the answer.

However,  Google isn’t the only choice anymore. Users can and do go to blogs, Facebook, Twitter to retrieve information often removing Google from the equation.

Search Better From Your Blog’s Search Box.

Custom Search Engine OptionsIt seems that that there could be a lot more done with WordPress’ internal search. More results, better options, filters, or something to make the user experience better. So I started looking for options.

One option I found was Lijit. Lijit offers the ability to allow your users to search your blog, bookmarks, photos, videos, social networks such as Twitter, and other sites from one search box on your site. It seemed like what I was looking for, so I installed it.

The downside to Lijit is that it can give other sites more visibility via advertising or the web searches tab. And taking traffic off your site isn’t always a good idea. The upsides though are that you can include many blogs, social networks and all sorts of different things into your search results. Lijit makes it all about your network of sites, not just about one blog.

SEO Basics: 6 Tips for Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that provides a wealth of information directly from Google. Once you have verified a site with Google, they’ll give you access to all sorts of information.

Here are just a few features of Google Webmaster Tools:

1. Errors
Google Webmaster Tools will show all sorts of errors with a site. Not only does it show broken links on the site, but also links that are driving traffic to the site for which there is no valid page. Google even tells you pages it knows about but has been restricted from crawling. That’s good to know incase someone accidently blocks to much.

Google Webmaster Tools Error Report

Google Webmaster Tools Error Report