Google is useful and the value of Google gets continually reinforced to consumers, day in and day out. Ultimately, a new search habit will only arise if Facebook’s Graph Search can deliver at the intersection of high utility and high frequency.
These tips and strategies on how to clean up images (duplicates, pixelated, or lacking), as well as how to write titles and descriptions, will ensure your company’s Google Shopping Feed will integrate smoothly with your Google Catalogs dashboard.
For search engine marketers — and the companies who depend on them — things just got a little tougher. SEO companies, most still reeling from the impact of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, aren’t going to like what the CEO of LinkSmart reported in Forbes on Jan. 22.
It’s not just links that are taking a hit from Google — now keywords are in trouble too, according to Pete Sheinbaum, who was the CEO of Daily Candy before taking the helm at LinkSmart. Google put an end to the easy acquisition of links, which for more than a decade had been essential to search engine rankings.
Links remain important, but their overall value has diminished. Worse for SEO specialists, quality links have to be earned. Google stripped sites of many links they deemed forced, purchased or otherwise tainted and now makes it harder for sites to gain links. Content marketing and social media marketing are usurping SEO’s dominance in link-building as Google now rates links based on perceived value — a link from an article published in a high-authority magazine or shared on Twitter — gets more Google love than links from ezines and directories.
Google Shields Search Results Data
And now, Sheinbaum says in Forbes, keywords are also losing their importance in marketing.
Google isn’t discounting keywords as it did links. But it’s making it harder for websites and advertisers to know what keywords drive traffic. Google is keeping much of that information to itself and may become increasingly stingy about releasing it in the future, Sheinbaum says.
If, for example, your marketing strategy revolves around keywords such as “how to make money online,” you may be paying a search engine company to put those keywords in anchor text and spending money on pay-per-click advertising based on the phrase “how to make money online.”
Google is not stopping you from spending money this way, but the company is making it harder to track results. You may not know if someone visited your site because of the keywords or because of some random reason.
What happened? Google used to freely pass along reports about keywords. But for any site that uses Google analytics — and about 57 percent do, according to study by Optify — Google keeps this information private. This is good for Google — it acquires information for its own advertising purposes — but bad for other companies who sell advertising based on traffic and keywords.
This means that marketers and advertisers are going to have a harder time analyzing traffic on their websites — and justifying their rates to website owners. Owners who want to get the most out of their marketing dollars — and SEO companies who want to keep earning their fees — will have to look beyond raw data and try to look deeper into the meaning of traffic rises and dips.
If traffic rises on a Tuesday, falls two days later and picks up five days after that, simple data will no longer provide the reason. It will be necessary to examine what changed on Tuesday — content was published on a high-authority site or a new ad campaign launch — what happened in the four days of slower traffic and on the fifth when traffic picked up.
New Strategies Needed
Todd Mumford , CEO of SEO Visions, says the information in the Forbes article should not alarm search engine specialists. For one thing, he says, Google started shielding keyword information months ago and savvy online marketers and company owners are already employing new strategies to test the strength of campaigns.
Mumford, interviewed for this article, cited three key ways to analyze traffic data despite Google’s attempts to keep the information to itself:
1. Google Webmaster Tools
These tools allow website owners to see statistics on daily average traffic, prominent search queries, ranking position and other statistics.
These tools do not, however, always provide accurate results. Google webmaster tools reports, for example that DavidAndersonWealth.com ranks at position 81 in the US, but it has rested in position 33 to 38 for several weeks.
2. Site Search
This tool helps owners and markets understand keywords relevant to a customer buy cycle — you can find out what keywords customers click on (or ignore) when they’re on your site and adjust accordingly. Mumford says websites can synchronize site search with Google to help synch up their data with Google’s.
3. Site Surveys
Mumford says site surveys can be a very effective way to collect data provided your website has a decent amount of daily traffic. Such surveys can be more valuable than Google analytics, he says, because they do a better job of capturing user intent. Questions, ratings and comments on your site tell you more about your customers — and how to market to them — than the keywords they click on.
When you understand your customers, you can match keywords to their intent without Google’s help. If, for example, your site visitors click more frequently on words such as “lose weight now” than “get healthy,” you can build your content and marketing accordingly.
Traffic analysis requires more nuance — and more guessing — and companies may make more missteps than they’re used to until their tracking skills become better refined.
Google is growing up and forcing website owners and online marketers to grow up, too.
David Anderson is an entrepreneur, business guru, mentor and author. Based on 30+ years of experience from the UK, USA Europe and Canada, David and his team have shared their “secret sauce” that has worked time and time again and helped “ordinary people achieve extraordinary things”. Visit David Anderson Wealth.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Ever wonder how much dough those search marketers are raking in? Yeah, me too. Professionals who carry the title tend to keep pretty hush-hush about their earnings, but an agency called SEMPO manages to dig up the goods each and every year.
SEMPO is a worldwide not-for-profit agency that represents search and digital marketing professionals. SEMPO has teamed up with ClickZ to present the 2013 survey, and if you’re in the industry, you can access the questionnaire here. SEMPO has conducted this study for many years but, in 2012, the findings shifted to reflect the dramatic changes in the search landscape that went down during the year.
What It’s All About
SEMPO’s questionnaire is a yearly study of the entire search and digital marketing industry, and this year will contribute to almost a decade’s worth of data. The survey seeks to measure the current income level of those working in the industry, and it takes factors such as location, job duties, and level of expertise into consideration.
According to Search Engine Land, SEMPO attempts to mine information about SEO and SEM jobs that span from new hires to chief execs. Researchers also hope to discover how salaries vary based upon the global markets professionals serve. The survey asks questions about bonuses and other perks, SEM budget amounts, and other aspects of each participant’s role in his or her agency.
The more search marketers who participate, the better — a large number of participants will yield results that are far more accurate. In turn, this will help us all learn more about the search marketing industry as a whole.
SEMPO’s 2012 Findings
SEMPO issued a press release announcing the findings of its 2012 survey in September of last year. The release reported key findings of the study, including tactical use of social media, higher amounts spent on paid search activities, and an increased emphasis on reputation and branding.
The 2012 report managed to survey more than 900 different search marketing agencies spanning the globe. Thirty-six different countries were represented in the 2012 data set, and it included information about quite a few different areas of the industry.
Here’s the skinny: the 2012 survey found, despite the unstable global economy, the search industry was coming up roses. It proved to be surprisingly stable even though there was such major upheaval in the search environment during 2012. According to the press release, new tools and platforms played a role in the stability and, although professionals reported some of the same goals as they had in years past, some survey answers highlighted unanticipated new trends in the industry.
The Game Has Officially Changed
Two findings from the survey that I found particularly relevant for SiteProNews readers included the following, pulled straight from SEMPO’s official press release in 2012:
• Survey responses show a drop in the blunt objective of driving traffic, but it remains a key goal for search engine optimization (SEO). Perhaps more interesting is the doubled number of agencies citing brand/reputation as a goal, up from five percent in 2011 to more than 11 percent in this year’s survey.
• As with SEO, agencies evaluating their clients’ goals for paid search noted a significant rise in seeing brand/reputation as their top objective. This appears to have come largely at the expense of “generating leads” that, nonetheless, remains the top goal. The researchers surmise that for some organizations, especially those with sophisticated attribution methods in place, using pay-per-click (PPC) as an “assisting” channel that builds and supports brand terms and ideas has a greater cumulative effect on lead generation than campaigns designed for immediate returns.
This data is extremely telling if you stop to think about what went down last year that led to the findings above. Google’s onslaught of rockin’ new algos and updates forever changed the way search marketers operate and the game is now on a completely different playing field.
Take the first bullet point, for example: The responses of the survey pointed to a decline in the “blunt objective” of driving traffic. That was the singular focus of search marketers in previous years, but as the press release noted, that zinger wasn’t even the most interesting aspect of the discovery. The biggie was the number of search marketing firms that cited brand/reputation as a goal more than doubled.
Takeaway: It’s all about creating a unified presence on the Web if you want to get anywhere. Gone are the days of fly-by-night websites raking in the traffic with nothing but killer keyword sets and link-blasting software — and the algos are only getting more sophisticated. Now, it’s not about the tools you use or the data you mine — it’s about who you are as a brand.
The second bullet point above is even more curious. It notes that agencies representing paid search advertisers also cited brand/reputation as a top goal in the study. Companies are using PPC as a stepping-stone toward the goal of unified branding across the Net for their clients instead of as an isolated lead-generation tool. This is huge. These findings mean all the chatter we’ve heard in the search community over the past year indeed holds true — to make it online, you must become a brand.
Daunting… intimidating? I know, I know. I’m right there with you. But if you step back for a minute and ponder all this info, it sort of makes sense. If you brand a website, get active on your branded Twitter account and Facebook page and you begin connecting with others in your niche across the Web, a funny thing will happen — people will begin to recognize you and traffic will flow to your site through virtual word-of-mouth.
Google may have initiated the changes that started the domino effect leading to this new emphasis on brand management, but complying with Big G will produce a rather ironic result. By doing Google’s bidding, you’re essentially freeing yourself from its clutches — traffic will begin to recognize your brand and begin to find you… without the help of a search engine.
Take that, Googlebot.
Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the Net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Now that the dust has settled from Google’s transition from free to paid and from the Q4 spike, many of the questions have been answered. And the answers, for the most part, are very encouraging. So how do you take advantage of product listing ads?
What if Google someday decides it no longer loves your site? It stops sending traffic your way, drops your rankings, blocks access to more information and data, and charges you for what we’re getting for free? Here are five tips to diversify.
Amazon.com is all talk these days — the e-retail giant has acquired leading text-to-speech technology company Ivona Software for an undisclosed sum.
The purchase is a clear bid by Amazon to pick up some talent to continue its push into the tablet market.
The companies have worked together in the past — Kindle Fire tablets have featured Ivona’s text-to-speech, voice guide and explore-by-touch technology.
“For more than 10 years, the Ivona team has been focused on creating innovative text-to-speech technologies,” said CEO and co-founder of Ivona Lukasz Osowski in a statement. “We are all thrilled that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can continue to innovate and deliver exceptional voice and language support for our customers.”
Ivona also delivers text-to-speech products and services to thousands of developers, businesses and customers globally. It offers voice and language portfolios with 44 voices in 17 languages and has more in development.
“Ivona’s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use,” said Amazon Kindle vice-president Dave Limp in a press release. “Ivona is already instrumental in helping us deliver excellent accessibility features on Kindle Fire, including text-to-speech, voice guide and explore by touch.
“The Ivona team shares our passion for innovation and customer obsession, and we look forward to building great products to deliver world-class voice solutions to customers around the world.”
Amazon has pitted itself firmly against Apple in recent months, touting its Kindle Fire HD over the iPad Mini, saying it offers “much more for much less.”
The iPad Mini sells for $329 while the Kindle Fire HD retails for $199.
A number of companies — Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble to name a few — are going head-to-head in a bid to dominate the lucrative tablet market.
Amazon has kept its tablet prices low to entice consumers away from pricier options like the iPad, Microsoft’s Surface or Samsung’s Galaxy Note. And, with the Ivona purchase, Amazon will have the ability to take on its rivals’ voice recognition systems as well: Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s S Voice, Google Actions and Microsoft’s TellMe.
Enhanced tablets are surely on the way. Perhaps an Amazon Smartphone is around the bend.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Bing Ads rolled out many new features at a rapid pace in 2012. Gain time, insights, click volume, and conversions in 2013 with the Google AdWords import and sync function, new ad formats such as sitelink extensions, and the Share of Voice report.
Google created the Grants program to allow nonprofit organizations to advertise via the Google AdWords platform. Here’s how to get approved, set up and run your ads, and some examples of how you can best take advantage of what’s available.