FTC’s Google Ruling: Reactions Around the Web

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, SEO News, Social Media News, test

The verdict is in, folks. After months of hoop jumping and a highly criticized last-minute delay, the FTC has finally issued a ruling for its 19-month Google probe.

The probe centered on Google’s alleged manipulation of search results to highlight its own products at the expense of its competition. Accusers claimed that Google was abusing the vast market share it occupied in a monopolistic fashion.

In a nutshell: the FTC unanimously cleared Google of all anti-trust allegations, and Big G walked away free and clear after agreeing to nothing more than a few mild concessions.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz defended the agency’s findings in a recent press conference. U.S. trust law, he said, was designed to “protect competition, not competitors.” He pointed out the fact that Internet users do have other options when choosing a search provider, and the FTC believes Google delivers a better user experience by tweaking the SERPs – even when it does intentionally rig the rankings from time to time to tout its own wares.

Needless to say, this made lots of people livid. Now that we know the outcome, let’s look at the best of the backlash from the Web.

Competitors Respond Surprisingly, smaller search engines were the first to rush to Google’s side and issue statements displaying their solidarity with the search giant. For example, according to a recent Inc. article , Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta applauded the decision, saying, “Just because you got free traffic from Google yesterday doesn’t mean you have the right to get it today … It’s not appropriate for lawmakers to decide how a company’s algorithm should function.” Those statements weren’t made solely to show some Google love, however. Blekko is likely taking the stance in an act of self-preservation during a very unsteady time for every search engine in the industry.

The CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo, Gabriel Weinberg, agreed. He said the accusation of Google’s “search bias” is irrelevant. According to Weinberg, adjusting search results internally as it sees fit is a search engine’s right.

Everyone’s not as pleased as Blekko and DuckDuckGo, however. Microsoft in particular is downright furious. In a blog post http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2013/01/03/the-ftc-and-google-a-missed-opportunity.aspx published directly after the FTC’s press release, Microsoft’s vice president and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner railed against the findings:

“The FTC took steps today to address some of Google’s improper business practices. We find it troubling that the agency did not adhere to its own standard procedures that call for the agency to obtain industry input on proposed relief and secure it through an enforceable consent decree. The FTC’s overall resolution of this matter is weak and-frankly-unusual. We are concerned that the FTC may not have obtained adequate relief even on the few subjects that Google has agreed to address.”

He went on like this for quite some time, pausing to rant about the problems with each component of the FTC’s investigation.

Concerning patents, Heiner grumbled that Google had promised those in the standards community it would ensure standard essential patents were accessible by all firms – and that they would do so using “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.”

He said Google broke that promise, and instead of making a license available to everyone, the search giant set out on a string of lawsuits designed to bar Microsoft and other companies from shipping Xboxes and Windows-based PCs that used the relevant standards.

Heiner quickly moved onto the issue of search bias – the centerpiece of the FTC’s probe. He reminded readers Google has always claimed its primary mission has been to offer search engine users relevant answers to their questions. According to Heiner, the FTC may buy that claim, but to others (like Microsoft) it’s clear Google brazenly manipulates search results to highlight its own social network, products, and services. He makes a good observation to back up his point:

“Is Google+ really more relevant than Facebook? Are Google’s travel results better than those offered by Expedia, Kayak and others?”

So, yeah, Microsoft’s mad. Companies around the Web are having a broad range of reactions to the investigation findings, and the opinions out there are truly a mixed bag.

Google’s Concessions: Good for Search Marketers?

One rather unexpected reaction from the Net is the buzz bubbling up from search marketing circles. Google had to make some concessions before the FTC let the company out the door. One agreement in particular – mandatory changes Google must make to its AdWords platform – is a real win for the search marketing community.

AdWords is Google’s primary money pot, so signing off on the changes could not have been fun for the company. Search marketers were popping champagne, though: they’d previously been banned from duplicating their AdWords campaigns across competing platforms. Now, Google must allow users to export their data without any interference. Marketers will no longer be forced to deal with the time suck of managing multiple ad campaigns across many different search engines, which will cut down on their workload exponentially.

Search marketers will be able to do some major comparison-shopping as well. According to a write-up on AdWeek: “The Google changes mean that now marketers are in control of ad campaigns, not Google. Vendors will be able to concentrate on optimizing campaigns for the best financial return because they will now have an apples-to-apples comparison of campaigns across platforms.”

That’s huge not only for search marketers, it’s a real win for small business owners as well.

From one corner of the Web to the other, the reactions to the FTC’s wrap-up were varied. Some were unexpected, and others were very much what we thought they’d be.

What did you think about the FTC’s findings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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

FTC’s Google Ruling: Reactions Around the Web

Five Ways to Use Social Media for Career Development

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, SEO News, Social Media News, test

Do you know some employers now ask applicants for their Facebook pages, blogs and Twitter handles in their resumes? Like it or not, social media is starting to play a role in who companies hire and the trend is likely to continue in the future – regardless of which specific sites we’re using by then.

Because of this, it’s important each one of us take a good look at our social media footprints to ensure there’s nothing out there that will make us look unprofessional or otherwise raise a red flag for potential employers. Even if you think there’s nothing bad lurking around, it’s in your best interest to search occasionally because anyone can post pictures and comments that you may not want co-workers or employers to see.

But it’s not all bad. For people who are truly savvy about their social media presence, there are quite a few ways you can leverage it to obtain better jobs, build your brand and generally further your career – no matter what that might be.

Here are five of the best ways to use social media as a career development tool:

Network – Well, they are called social networks, aren’t they? Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great ways for you to connect with people in your chosen field and develop relationships to help you both now and down the road. The key, as it is in any networking situation, is to display confidence and do your best to forge a personal connection with any person you contact. This could be as simple as mentioning you went to the same high school or enjoyed their paper on faster-than-light particle analysis and hope to do similar research. However, if you truly want to develop a relationship, consider commenting on the person’s blog or posts they make and only attempt to strike up a real dialogue over time. This way, they may feel more invested in you because you’ve shown you are invested in them.

Brand yourself – We live in a world of sound bites and 30-second YouTube videos that get 100 million hits, so the best thing you can do to present a clear picture of yourself to potential employers and clients is to figure out what your personal brand is and how to convey that as clearly and simply as possible in all of your social media messages. Your personal brand should tell your audience what you do and whom you do it for, and it can (and should) be consistent across all of your social media platforms. That means, if you have an environmental law blog that talks about saving the trees, your Twitter avatar should be a picture of a redwood and all of your Facebook posts should focus on environmental matters.

Obviously, I’m not being completely literal, but you do want to be careful that you don’t stray from your message too much. People want to follow those who are consistent so they always know what to expect.

Narrowcast – While sites like Facebook allow you to “broadcast” your talents to a wide range of people because they are so huge and popular, they also offer the opportunity to narrowcast by letting you join or create smaller groups where you can focus on getting the attention of the people who may be important in furthering your career. Beyond this, though, the Web is full of social media sites created to focus entirely on very specific niche audiences. Writers have places like Goodreads, where they can speak directly to other writers and readers; Dog industry professionals have Dogster, a site for dog lovers. These are just two of what are hundreds – and possibly even thousands – of niche social media sites out there where industrious people can easily build up a reputation and start to make themselves into a household name.

Post on the world’s second largest search engine – No, it’s not Bing, and obviously Google is No. 1. I’m talking about YouTube. Videos are becoming more and more popular as a way to get your name out to the public because they have become easier to make. Case in point: a number of people are now creating video resumes to make themselves stand out from the crowd. Some people simply incorporate moving text and animation so their normal, everyday resume is a bit more exciting. Others try to tell a story with their resume text over stock footage. And still others directly address their audience as if they were hosting a talk show or interviewing for a specific position. This can help you to stand out not only because it’s so different from what everyone else is doing, but also because more people may be more willing to watch a video than read a resume or blog post. Oh, and one more thing, simply having a video raises your profile with the major search engines, meaning it will be easier for potential employers to find you.

Guest post – Of course, that doesn’t mean the traditional blog is dead – far from it. But there are so many people out there today who have blogs that it’s hard not to feel like a needle in a haystack or the tree that falls when no one is around – is anyone listening? Guest posts are a great way to get around that problem. The idea is that you agree to write a post for free (some places even charge you), on a site that gets more traffic than you do. In return, you get a little author’s bio at the bottom where you can link to your site or blog. In this way, you may get a few more visitors to your page, and possibly even a bit of business. Guest blog enough and you’ll have traffic coming in from numerous sources; not to mention the fact that you’ll have created a number of “linkbacks,” another tool the search engines use which will help you rank higher in search results.

Mike Walters is a writer for Engagement Health, LLC. When Mike isn’t busy reviewing wellness programs he spends his time reading and writing about the health-care industry.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Five Ways to Use Social Media for Career Development

5 Things that are In Store for SEO in 2013 and Beyond

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, SEO News, Social Media News, test

2011 and 2012 have been incredibly important years in the world of search engine optimization and for search design trends in general. In an effort to make the web closer to something
semantic and highly responsive to the real needs of human readers, Google has performed some major overhauls to the way it ranks the websites it has indexed by its web crawlers.

These overhauls will be ongoing and will continue to develop further in 2013; creating a web popularity landscape that depends not just on classical SEO tactics but also numerous other factors involving social media, website design and friendliness to the latest browsing systems such as mobile web viewing.

Let’s go over some of these key trends that will almost certainly be really big in this new year.

1. Humanized Ranking Metrics

With Google’s repeated massively damaging blows to black hat SEO during all of 2011 and 2012, the days of effective link farming, content stuffing, keyword stuffing and other “nefarious” optimization tactics that don’t actually reflect site popularity are over. This trend will only continue and whatever black hat optimization tricks that are still working for some sites will only continue to deteriorate in their effectiveness.

Instead, Google is steadily working its way towards creating a more humanized ranking index that, in addition to reflecting other metrics which we’ll soon get to, also takes a lot of its value analysis from real time social media and human user metrics of actual popularity amongst readers.

The end result is expected to be a more “real time” search results profile for queries and an increasing amount of weight given to data collected from Twitter, Facebook, other social platforms and, of course, Google’s own array of social media tools. An important aspect of this will involve site owners connecting their content to each of these social platforms and also integrating themselves more with Google’s own network of content tracking. (despite the obvious bias in Google’s favor here)

2. Quality over Quantity

This almost certain 2013 trend is great news for a lot of content weary bloggers and site owners. Instead of giving heavy emphasis to massively content stuffed websites, Google and other search engines will continue to focus more on ensuring that their best ranked content is judged more by its quality, relevancy and freshness.

Updates like some of Panda’s iterations were a particularly good demonstration of this and played a part in giving precedence to sites whose content was most relevant and valuable for a given search, even if the sites themselves were not major content producers like some competitors might have been.

Based on this trend, site administrators should work towards really filling information needs with high quality posts without rushing to fill out as much new content as they can as quickly as possible.

3. Mobile Search

The mobile browsing landscape is only continuing to grow and soon it will completely overtake conventional web search. This means that adapting to the technical and practical details of this changing environment is a crucial step for SEO conscious site owners in 2013.

Speaking on a purely technical level, more emphasis has to be given to making websites more mobile friendly and designing them so that they are fully responsive not only to different PC browsers and screen sizes but also to thousands of different mobile platforms, from tablets to a whole array of smart phone types and operating systems.

Additionally, from other optimization standpoints, work to get your sites and their content more oriented towards mobile friendly content delivery. This could mean post design, text layout and presentation media such as video or audio

Another interesting feature of this emerging mobile search trend is the fact that a lot more of it takes place through a complex series of social network connections, bringing us to our next point.

4. Increasing Social Media Importance

We already partly covered the incredible importance of social media weight in our first major trend point, but it bears mentioning in more detail.

In 2013, you will absolutely need to develop your website’s social platform presence and integration as much as possible.

As more and more of the data about what’s trending on their platforms gets collected by social media sites, more of it will also become available for review by Google. This in turn will make such metrics more important in deciding search rank value. Ultimately Google is working to provide the most human relevant search experience possible to its users and the fundamentally human guided nature of social media popularity makes it a vital base of information for Google to achieve its goal.

Help this process along as much as possible by developing your popularity in the social media platforms and building up a base of dedicated fans that keep coming back to and repeatedly sharing what you have to offer further down the social chain. Not only will this eventually improve your essential human ranking value in the new search landscape, it will also achieve the vital site popularity building step of making you less dependent on search rank and SEO for the long run.

In essence, by developing a fan base at least partly through your social presence, you’ll be forcing the search engines to pay attention to you. Another way of looking at this is that building a deep human popularity amongst many fans and other influential websites will create a domain authority for your pages that no search engine can ignore.

Additionally, bear in mind practical technical steps that will improve your social media friendliness; things like creating multiple profiles across several popular media platforms, connecting them fully to your website through social media buttons and making it easy for people to log on through their Facebook or other social networking accounts.

5. Conversion Rate Optimization

However Google works, it has to also pay attention to reality on the digital ground. In terms of CRO, this has an enormous potential importance for 2013 because it means that a major factor in higher ranking may soon be how well sites get visitors to perform useful actions.

In essence, while many sites may have numerous visitors, the ones that optimize their pages for the best human engagement are those that actually get the readers not only to visit but also do things like buy products, click more links or opt in to a mailing list with their email addresses.

Since successfully doing all this is an obvious indicator that people are getting real personal value from a website, it’s very likely that Google will pay more attention to it in 2013.

For your own site, focus as much as possible on delivering high quality and getting maximal action or purchase conversion rates from whatever visitors you do have. Doing this is even more important than focusing on raw visitor numbers.

Matthew Ellis has written for the marketing and tech industries for many years as a freelance author. He also owns a small business that deals within those realms. When he’s not working, you can find him covering Acquirent’s sales jobs in Chicago.

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5 Things that are In Store for SEO in 2013 and Beyond