Show archive of June 2010
June 30, 2010
Internet user behavior is always changing, but recent surveys by Nielsen and Pew show a significant shift underway. The average amount of time an individual spent online dropped from 57 hours in April to 54 hours in May, marking the second consecutive month-to-month decline. The number of Web pages a user visited also dropped, however the number of sessions per person held steady and the number of domains visited per person increased. As for how users are spending their time online, video viewing continues to rise, as does time spent on social networks or blogs. Almost one quarter of the time an average user is online is spent on social sites. Bruce, Susan and Virginia hypothesize what’s at the root of the behavioral changes and what that means for businesses online.
Considering the way users are dividing their time between numerous digital platforms of varying levels of engagement, it’s important that businesses consider how to optimize a range of digital assets. Steve Plunkett, director of search for advertising and PR agency M/C/C, shares a synergistic digital asset optimization strategy, including optimization of media sometimes overlooked. He talks to Virginia about PDF optimization, television interview optimization and press release optimization. He also shares a recommendation on using location-based services like Foursquare as a marketing channel for businesses.
Then Jessica, Susan and Virginia take a closer look at location-based services — how they’re used and the opportunities for marketers. At the SMX Advanced Seattle session Location Services: The New Local Search?, tactics for marketing on Foursquare, Yelp, Gowalla, BrightKite and other popular check-in services were explained. Speaker Will Scott pointed out that coupon offers on these services often come from competitors or nearby locations, so don’t feel limited to building loyalty when you can also create lures. The location-based services space is expected to be a $12 billion industry by 2014, but it’s still a good time for marketers to get in early.
June 23, 2010
To compete in the search space, Bing has been exercising a strategy of differentiation and progress. Bing now boasts a comprehensive social search vertical, aggregating data from Facebook and Twitter to display search results and analyze popular trends. The search engine is also planning to release a ground-up redesign of the Bing Webmaster Center this summer, including new visualization tools, additional data and a simplified user interface. As for the Bing-Yahoo! search partnership, Microsoft’s SVP of online audiences business, Yusuf Mehdi, explained during an interview at SMX Advanced that Bing will power Yahoo! by the end of the year.
Blended search results are becoming a more prominent part of the search experience across all the top-tier engines. While the topic of Universal search strategy is often discussed, few professional optimizers have taken action by integrating blended search opportunities into their SEO campaigns. David Harry talks to Virginia about the need to develop a blended search strategy that examines the types of blended results — news, blog, video, social and more — that are displayed in your targeted query spaces. He offers up a tool that can report the blended search types that are displayed for target keywords and the frequency that blended results are displayed for those queries. In the near future, he plans to conduct research into what triggers blended search results and the effect of personalization on Universal search.
Then Paula, Susan and Virginia discuss tactics for website management in the era of Google Caffeine and the fastest index yet. Many of the duties of the website optimization, development and maintenance team are constant and ongoing. Various webmaster tools must be used to diagnose site issues regularly. A schedule for interval keyword research is helpful. And cross-department communication is key. Review Beyond Position Bias: Examining Result Attractiveness as a Source of Presentation Bias in Clickthrough Data (PDF), a research paper by Google employees, for insight into the importance of content displayed in search results. Use this information and data collected from site analytics and server logs to continually test and evolve your website for increased conversions and rankings.
June 16, 2010
Last week’s SMX Advanced Seattle was the stage for announcements and knowledge sharing of a premium level. Bruce, Susan and Virginia review some of the major news from the search engines and the advice shared at the SEO veterans Q&A panel. Bruce explains his strategy for SEO in the era of Caffeine, including increased opportunity for testing and a greater instance of result personalization and an improved ability to recognize semantic connections by Google. Bruce also considers the possible effects of the confirmed Mayday update on SEO efforts.
Kate Gardiner, social media director of the television show PBS NewsHour, has found success using social media to engage online with a TV audience. Since the inception of a formal social media program earlier this year, Facebook has been a platform that’s created big wins, often generating thousands of clicks on links shared on the fan page. Widgets, which generate inbound links and the resulting PageRank value, as well as a sense of interaction and authority for the organization, are another important facet of the online social strategy. Kate also shares her experience with being a personal brand ambassador and the metrics she pays attention to on various social networks.
Susan, Paula and Virginia round out the show with a look at search industry headlines. Even though summer has just arrived, it’s already time for paid search managers to start planning and executing a back-to-school season strategy. Searches for “back to school” are 15 percent above last year. Bing has released a software developer kit that will let developers create apps and overlays for Bing Maps. And the U.S. Department of Labor has begun an initiative to classify search marketers, based on the input of seasoned professionals. If you met the criteria and contribute to the survey, you are eligible for a $40 compensation.
June 9, 2010
Bruce and Susan are at SMX Advanced Seattle this week, the source of many news and announcements for the search engine marketing community. Bruce updates listeners on company announcements, including the encore presentation of a Search Marketing Now webinar in which Bruce presents SEO in Large Organizations: Managing Expectations. The second broadcast of the webinar will be held Thursday, June 17 at 1 p.m. EDT by popular demand. Bruce touches on the unique challenges of SEO in large organizations in order to help businesses form a comprehensive strategy.
Brent D. Payne, SEO Director of Tribune Company, understands the inner workings of a large news organization and has managed to bring his organization beyond SEO buy-in to SEO enthusiasm. Brent and Virginia talk about incentives that encourage content producers to embrace SEO, as well as the constant challenge to evolve along with Internet use, which is currently shifting toward mobile devices and apps, rather than reacting too late. He also shares the organization’s process for ranking for trending topics. He often shares data on the Tribune Company’s SEO success on his Posterous blog.
Then Virginia talks to SEO Bradley Leese about how mobile and tablet computing devices, like this week’s demonstration of the iPhone 4 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, continues to the change the way people interact with the Web. Along with the demand for instant access and speedier sites, mobile computing is forcing everything onto the cloud and user’s are more often expecting high-quality app experiences. One challenge businesses face today is how to translate their offering to the app space.
June 2, 2010
With SMX Advanced fast approaching, Bruce, Susan and Virginia take a preview look at next week’s conference in Seattle. SMX Advanced is a significant conference every year, often the staging ground for major announcements by Internet marketing companies and search engines alike. For those who won’t be in attendance, Susan will be providing front-row access to select sessions with liveblog coverage of SMX Advanced, posted on the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog shortly after each session. Those in attendance can pose any variety of questions to Bruce at Wednesday’s session SEO Vets Take All Comers and at Thursday’s one-day SEO training.
Then Virginia, Robert Esparza and Alan Lamb consider the challenges and considerations of selling an SEO project that meets the client’s goals and needs. Expectation management is a key factor of a project that can end in success and client satisfaction. If a client expects rankings, traffic or performance beyond what is possible within realistic constraints of time and budget as determined by a feasibility review, it’s often best that the project doesn’t go forward with those two parties. One difficult challenge of setting realistic expectations is the fact that performance can’t be guaranteed in light of shifting search engine algorithms and guidelines. A shift must be taken away from rankings and traffic, as the focus must be an improvement on the bottom line.
Finally Virginia, Scott Fowles and Daerick Gross discuss a discipline that is primarily linked to improvements on the bottom line: conversion rate optimization. Scott is an SEO and CRO specialist, and previously came on the show to talk about CRO best practices and tools of the trade. This week he expands the conversation by warning about SEO complications that can arise through CRO testing and how to avoid them. Wider Funnel provides a PowerPoint presentation on avoiding the risks of A/B testing for SEO landing pages that may be a useful guide.