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Ahhh the Canada Day Long Weekend is quickly approaching. Canada Day weekend happens to be one of my favorite long weekends of the year. It leads into the summer and coincides with great Canadian traditions such as the start of the Canadian Football League (CFL) season (Go Riders!), summer holidays for children, days at the beach, summer BBQs and the like. For our friends in the US who may not be familiar, Canada Day is July 1. Canada is turning 140 years old this weekend.
Before I get too sidetracked (and patriotic) with my post, you may be asking what does Canada Day have to do with search? Well a hot topic recently has been questioning whether Canadians understand the use of search. Do Canadians incorporate search marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy? If you ask Gord Hotchkiss, he will tell you a definite "NO, Canadians do not get search." -- Well that's not exactly how he said it, he mentioned something about Canadians Advertisers having their heads up their....
Recently at Search Engine Strategies (SES) Toronto, Gord posted about the fact that he felt that Ontario Tourism wasn't using search. To quote Gord,
If you were planning a vacation in Ontario, don’t expect to see the official tourism site for the Ontario government in the top sponsored ads. They don’t do search.
Well it seems as though Gord truly isn't making many friends with Ontario Tourism judging by his post from yesterday entitled "Doing Search" Only Counts if You're Seen". While I don't necessarily agree with the title of the post because it's obvious that Ontario Tourism is using and doing search... it's just that they are doing it poorly. Gord does bring out some interesting points about Canadians using search and to clarify Gord stated "Its one thing to say "you're doing search" internally and it's a totally different thing to have the searcher realize that "you're doing search".
According to Gord (via Comscore) Canadians use the Internet more than anyone else in the world. We perform more sophisticated queries, are more focused in our online behavior, and do more searches. So why then if you were a Canadian business targeting the Canadian marketplace would you not use search to reach your audience? What's in search marketing for you? Well other than the fact that it is cost efficient, long lasting and can offer a better ROI than traditional forms of marketing, I guess nothing....
Canadian Advertisers are not unlike other advertisers in the US or rest of the world. They have been slow to adopt search as an effective component of their marketing strategy. You can see a difference between the early adopters and the "I wish I would have used search last year" folks. I agree with Gord though and that is that advertisers can spend money more effectively. Search may be a great place to start.
Canada for my money is the greatest nation in the world. We have the beautiful Rocky Mountains, prairies, lakes, rivers and streams. (We have one third of the world's fresh water supply.) We have hockey, we created Superman and we invented the telephone. We take care of the old and the sick and each other. We use search more than anyone else, someone just forgot to mention that to the advertisers in Canada.
Happy Birthday Canada! I am proud to be Canadian.
For more information on Canada Day visit Wikipedia. For more on search engine optimization and search research opportunities visit Enquiro.com
We don't usually discuss the paid side of search engine marketing on SEO-Space, opting to discuss organic strategies instead. However there have been lots of announcements coming out of Yahoo Search Marketing and the have just announced a couple of more regarding their Yahoo! Panama platform. The new features added to Panama's interface, are geared towards helping advertisers streamline account management, are to go live today.
The new features of note include:
Move/copy keywords: You can now move and copy keywords from one ad group to another without doing the dreary copy/paste/delete thing. On the Ad Group page under the “Campaigns” tab, you’ll now see a “Move” button which will allow you to move or copy keywords from one ad group to another ad group.” Note that there is still a 1000 keyword limit per ad group.
Streamline keyword selector tool: We now provide you with an estimate of the monthly searches on each keyword that we suggest. This provides you with more detailed information on the traffic that this keyword may be able to generate for you. As before, you can select the keywords you wish to add by clicking the box next to the suggestions and clicking “Add Keywords.”
Ad writing help guide: When creating your ads, you'll be able to preview ads that appear in search results for your selected keywords.
For more information on the new features, visit the Yahoo! Search Marketing Blog.
Over the past couple of years, we at Enquiro have conducted a number of eye tracking studies to gather insight into how people interact with search. We have defined Google's Golden Triangle and we have found consistent patterns with how users use search. But the focus had been on search users in North America. What about users in other parts of the world?
For more information on eye tracking research or to download related eye tracking whitepapers, please visit enquiro.com
There has been a mass exodus from Yahoo (YHOO) over the past few months. We reported on some of the Yahoo restructuring in December, but really it has been continuous since then. Restructuring and refining the management team has become the norm with last week's announcement that Terry Semel was stepping down as CEO. While it's not the first time Yahoo has restructured but this latest restructuring has many questioning if whether Yahoo is starting to sink vs. swim. In 2001, Yahoo restructured and refined it's business model while they condensed Yahoo's 44 business units to six: listings, commerce, communications, media, access and enterprise. In addition, the company laid off approximately 400 employees, which was about 13 percent of its work force at the time. Over the weekend, the company announced that it was merging the two main parts of its U.S. advertising business under one sales executive. How long can Yahoo continue to shake things up without affecting their users?
So what does all this restructuring mean for the user? Well that is difficult to say? The reason is that Yahoo needs to truly decide what it is that they are in the business of. Are they a search engine? Are they an entertainment portal? Are they an advertising platform? Are they a directory? Are they simply an interactive media company? Once they focus on a particular area they will have an easier time with focusing on their goals. Is their goal to compete with Google? Possibly, but they are not exactly equipped to do this at this stage of the game. Until the restructuring is completed the user will continue to be "ignored" somewhat.
If Yahoo is looking to take on Google, there are little glimmers of hope. Take image search for example. Yahoo's announcement today that they are adding over 300 million indexed Flickr images into its image index which represents the single most important reason that Yahoo bought Flickr back in March of 2005 - to use social search and rank to increase the relevancy of image search on Yahoo. While this is just a small step, this move pushes Yahoo ahead of Google when it comes to image search. This is what Yahoo needs to continue to do if they are to improve the user experience with their users. The restructuring that has been happening needs to be finalized so that the focus can be on innovation and providing a great user experience on the Yahoo properties.
We have discussed how Google makes money in 2007, now let us look at how Yahoo (YHOO) makes money in 2007. In 2005 Yahoo’s revenues were about $5.26 billion on which they had a gross profit of 3.16 billion and earned about $1.9 billion in net income. (Slightly higher than Google...) In 2006, Yahoo experienced revenues of $6.43 billion with a gross profit of 3.76 billion and a net income of $751 million dollars. Whoops what happened here? More revenue, a higher gross profit but less net income? (this represents approximately a 153% decrease in net income.) However it is still a nice income isn't it? So how does Yahoo make money?
Yahoo offers a number of online properties and services to users; and various tools and marketing solutions to businesses. These products include such things as marketplace products that comprise Yahoo! Shopping, Kelkoo, and Yahoo! Auctions for shopping; Yahoo! Real Estate for real estate information; Yahoo! Travel, an online travel research and booking site and Yahoo! FareChase, a travel search engine; Yahoo! Autos to price and compare cars online; and Yahoo! Personals and Yahoo! Personals Premier for online dating.
Yahoo which was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California also makes money from their online advertising platform named Panama. It generates revenue by providing marketing services to businesses across the majority of its properties such as those listed above and by establishing paying relationships with users of its premium offerings. Yahoo offers a range of tools available for online display advertising, including media, and video. Advertising is also provided through a series of search offerings that enable advertisers to display text based links to their Websites on the Yahoo! Properties, as well as on its affiliates' Websites.
Yahoo continues to generate revenue from other properties such as the Yahoo Directory which is one of the oldest directories on the Web. Companies can get their sites listed in the Yahoo Directory for an annual fee of $299. An entire summary of Yahoo products and services can be seen here.
While Google's share price hovers around $525, Yahoo's share price currently floats around $27.50. In January 2000, Yahoo's share price hit a high of $118.75. Similar to Google, Yahoo's revenue stream is not solely from online advertising. However Yahoo does tend to have a more diverse revenue generating package that includes a number of products and avenues as mentioned above.
On June 12th, 2007 Yahoo! held their annual shareholders meeting where Yahoo CEO Terry Semel was questioned if he was focused on taking Yahoo to where they needed to be. He said that he was, but days later Semel stepped down and was replaced by Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang. Where is Yahoo going and what will revenues be like in the future? Only Yahoo! knows. With all of the recent restructuring at Yahoo! they may be looking to redefine what they are as a company so that they can continue to generate revenue and make money.
There is a lot of fascination with Google and for good reason. Google is a very innovative company that has generated a ton of revenue in a relatively short time. A while back we at Enquiro described how Google makes money. In 2005 Google’s revenues were over $6 billion on which they had a gross profit of 3.56 billion and earned about $1.5 billion in net income. In 2006, Google experienced revenues of 10.6 billion with a gross profit of 6.38 billion and a net income of 3.07 billion. Not bad for a company that is less than 10 years old. (Google officially launched in September of 1998.) So how does Google make money?
Well in essence, it all strated in 2000, when Google introduced AdWords, a self-service ad program that could be activated online with a credit card in a matter of minutes. With an update to Google AdWords in 2002, this ad based revenue was now based on cost-per-click pricing, where you only pay when people click on your ad. Google generates billions of dollars based on this ad revenue. In addition, Google also has a program called “AdSense” which allows individual webmasters and site owners to place Google ads on their sites and earn a percentage on every click. It's fair to say that Google earns millions per day from Google earns millions per day from their ad network.
Keep in mind that Google's value is not just due to the ad sales. Google's share price is also strong and has been since it went public in 2004. As of this past week, Google's share price was around $525, a far cry from the initial share price of $85 when launched a few years ago.
What About Google Store?
Oh yeah and Google does have an online store by the way. They sell everything from Google-wear to hardware and software products such as the Google Mini and other Enterprise solutions. While I'm not sure how much revenue is exactly generated from these products, it must be substantial as Google has the ability to provide a number of free products and services to the general public.
Google has a brand value of $66.4 billion making it the top brand in the world. Google is the leader in the search engine marketing industry as further evidenced is presented from ComScore Networks Inc. which said Google Inc.'s (GOOG) sites captured 50.7% of May's U.S. search-engine market, with 3.9 billion search queries performed.
As you can see most of Google's revenue is derived from its online advertising programs, but that is not the only source of their revenue stream. It is however their bread and butter and will continue to be moving forward. Or will it? Google has released Google phones in Europe and what about the rumors of a Google computer, or monetized version of a Google "office suite". Google continues to innovate and acquire a number of companies an technologies. As a result, Google will continue to make money for a lot of years to come.
Web 2.0 Online Marketing: Marketing in the 3-D Internet
I keep hearing that Web 2.0 is going to have a negative impact on online marketing specifically search engine optimization efforts. While this may be true for search engine optimization, marketing in web 2.0 means marketing through the use of web applications and potentially marketing in 3-D. (More on this in a moment…) Before we get ahead of ourselves, we should evaluate exactly what Web 2.0 is. What is Web 2.0? The concept of "Web 2.0" began with a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International.Web 2.0 is a phrase that was developed by O'Reilly Media in 2003 that describes the second phase or generation of how the Web/Internet will be used as much more of a platform. Web 2.0 consists of web-based communities and hosted services including services such as social-networking sites, wikis and widgets that will facilitate collaboration and sharing between users.
Tim O’Reilly posted this fantastic piece that describes Web 2.0 from September of 2005. Here is a nice comparison between Web 1.0 versus Web 2.0 that Tim describes:
upcoming.org and EVDB
domain name speculation
search engine optimization
cost per click
content management systems
What does Web 2.0 mean for online marketers? Marketing in the Web 2.0 era could very well mean “marketing in 3-D”. Here is a perfect example of what we mean by marketing in 3-D. Second Lifeis an Internet-based virtual world, that has recently generated some attention from mainstream media marketers after IBM, Dell, American Apparel, Adidas, Nissan and other top brands developed a presence or bought islands in the virtual world that is Second Life.
In fact Eric Kintz, Vice President of Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence for HP recently discussed his Top 10 Reasons as to why I still need to be convinced about marketing on Second Life. On the other side of the fence, representatives from Dell discussed how they entered Second Life as a method to explore new ways they could extend their direct relationship with customers, and learn new ways to interact with virtual communities. As we can see, the idea of marketing on these “Web 2.0 formats” is something that is starting to be debated by many marketers.
The fact is that in the Web 2.0 world, marketing in 3-D is definitely something that all online marketers will seriously need to look at if they expect their companies to have a presence in the online world. Personalization of search results from Google, ASK, Yahoo and the like will mean that search engine optimization, syndication of content, blogging, social media marketing, widget marketing will become all that more important. While having a presence on sites such as Second Life may not be beneficial for everyone, it may be a viable marketing option for others.
For more on Web 2.0 check out the Web 2.0 Summit site.
So do you happen to have $300-500 million available? If so, you may be interested in purchasing Business.com. Business.com, the B2B search engine & directory, is up for sale according to the Wall Street Journal. With over 65, 000 business categories, business.com is the leading B2B search engine and directory.
The sales will take place via an auction managed by Credit Suisse. Some say that hoping to attract 300-500 million may be out of reach for the B2B search engine. I actually think that that could potentially be a bargain as the opportunity for business.com to become an even greater and more popular vertical search engine is a real possibility.
This marks a great day for SEO-Space. You are currently reading the 200th post of SEO Space. Started in the fall of 2006, the goal of SEO-Space was to communicate organic search strategies and happenings with a focus on business to business (B2B) sites.
Over the past number of months we have covered stories about the major search engines especially on Google, ASK and Yahoo. We have compiled lists and reviews of some new technologies and we have even promoted a few of our own endeavors.
We want to take this time to thank all of our site visitors and readers who have made SEO-Space a great experience. So long as we have an audience we will continue to report on happenings in the world of search as they relate to the B2B market. We have received comments and acknowledgement from many respected folks in various industries including none other than Mr. Guy Kawasaki, Gord Hotchkiss and Manoj Jasra.
Here is a look at some of our favorite posts (from the first 200) over the past few months.
Top Search Engines According to the "Search Engines"
ASK Testing New Interface - Search with ASK X
Top 100 Marketing Buzzwords of 2007
Widget Marketing: Can Widgets Benefit B2B Sites?
Mark Messier Greatest Leader in the History of Sports
What If There Was No Google?
B2B Marketing in 2007 – Evangelizing Your Consumers
Search: A $25 Billion per Year Industry?
Widget Marketing Update - 35 Widget Resources
Click Fraud is Not an Excuse for a Failing Online Marketing Campaign
72 Benefits of Customers: Ode to the B2B Consumer
New Enquiro Survey: How Important is Online Research in Business to Business (B2B) Purchase Decisions
Are You Scared of Personalized Search?
ASK.com The Second Coming of Search Means Personalization
Bringing Search Marketing In-House - SEO 2007
We have had a great time bringing you everything that makes up SEO-Space. Thanks for stopping by.
Last month, our top search happening of the month was Microsoft’s deal to Acquire aQuantive - Microsoft has paid a rumored $6 billion for digital marketing company aQuantive, Inc. Microsoft has finally found its online advertising partner, with news that it will acquire aQuantive. After missing out on DoubleClick to Google, watching Yahoo pick up Right Media and WPP buying 24/7 Real Media, Microsoft couldn't sit back any longer and decided to acquire aQuantive with a $6 billion cash deal.
This month has been a little less eventful, but here are the top 7 search stories of the month for June.
#7. Rumors of Microsoft Building a New Search Engine – Rumors have it that Microsoft has gathered a team of twenty or more “rock star” developers who’ve been tasked at building their next generation search engine. With the failure of Windows Live, Microsoft should be doing something, anything to improve their search offering.
#5. Google confirming Acquisition of Feedburner – FeedBurner, a Chicago-based company, provides media distribution and audience engagement services for blogs and RSS feeds. Its Web-based tools, including an extensive feed and blog advertising network, help publishers promote, deliver, and monetize their content on the Web. More on Google acquiring Feedburner.
#4. Google Analytics Update and Adds New Features – recently re-launched, Google Analytics added some new features including adWords integration and clickable URLs.
#3. The inaugural Search Marketing Expo is held in Seattle, WA. – this is Danny Sullivan and his team’s new search marketing conference as he steps away from Incisive’s Search Engine Strategies shows that have dominated the industry over the past few years. The SMX show was considered a success and looks to improve as they progress. For a wrap of the event visit Search Engine Land.
#2. ASK.com re-launches with a focus on user experience and personalization. ASK’s new SERP interface provides people with a faster, easier, and richer search experience. When ASK began testing their new ASK X interface last December, we thought that it was a prelude to the personalization of search.
#1. Yahoo CEO Terry Semel steps down; Yahoo Co-Founder Jerry Yang steps in as new CEO of Yahoo – you knew something was up last week at Yahoo’s Annual Shareholder’s Meeting when Terry Semel was questioned (in essence) as to if he still wanted his job. He obviously was unable to sell them on that fact that he wanted to remain in his position as he stepped down on Monday as the CEO of Yahoo.
On the day after former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel stepped down being replaced by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, the search industry is wondering what's next with Yahoo? According to Mr. Yang's official blog, Yahoo's vision will be:
"A Yahoo! that executes with speed, clarity and discipline. A Yahoo! that increases its focus on differentiating its products and investing in creativity and innovation. A Yahoo! that better monetizes its audience. A Yahoo! whose great talent is galvanized to address its challenges. And a Yahoo! that is better focused on what’s important to its users, customers, and employees."
Executing with speed huh? Could this mean the release of some new technologies from Yahoo? Maybe Yahoo will finally unveil their personalization offering (according to Tim Mayer from Yahoo, don't assume that Google is the only player when it comes to personalization....). As Yahoo turns the page in another chapter there is an opportunity for the company to really focus on the user (something they have failed to do in the past). A few in the industry suggest that this is a desperation move by Yahoo! After all in the six years that Terry Semel was CEO of Yahoo!, Yahoo increased revenues from 717 million in 2001 to 6.4 billion in 2006.
The question that I have is, is Jerry Yang putting on a brave face as a good leader should during difficult times in battle? Or is this the last kick at the can? Can Yahoo deliver and become a serious competitor to Google? Is this their goal? Yahoo needs to decide who or what exactly Yahoo! is. Yang believes in Yahoo!’s potential for long-term success as an Internet leader. Internet leader? What does that mean? Search? Entertainment Portal? Directory?
I must say this, I have a lot of respect for Jerry Yang, and if anyone can drive the Yahoo! ship into safer waters it is he. It will be interesting to see what Yahoo! does next. Expect to see a number of releases from the Yahoo camp over the next few weeks and months.
As we have been monitoring over the past few months, the fate of Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Terry Semel was decided today as he has stepped down as as Yahoo's CEO. He will be replaced by one of Yahoo's founders, Jerry Yang.
As recent as last week when Yahoo held their annual shareholder's meeting, pressure was being placed on Mr. Semel as to whether he was still focused on making Yahoo success. For more on Terry Semel's departure from Yahoo check out the following resources:
Out of My Gord: Semel Says So Long..Yang's Back
Search Engine Land: Yahoo's CEO, Terry Semel, To Be Replaced By Jerry Yang
Google Blogoscoped: Jerry Yang is Yahoo's New CEO
Search Engine Watch: Breaking News: Semel Ousted as CEO
Searchviews: Yahoo Gets New CEO and President
Reuters: Yahoo co-founder Yang to replace Semel as CEO
Forbes: Yahoo's Terry Semel Steps Down As CEO
MarketWatch: Yahoo says goodbye to Hollywood, returns to roots
Yahoo Finance: Yahoo's Terry Semel Steps Down As CEO
Here at SEO-Space, we have been discussing the importance of widget marketing for quite some time now. We have even provided a list of some of the better widget sites out there. (See our list of Top 35 Widget Marketing Sites that You Might Want to Check Out.) Widget marketing has been around for a while but with the release of personalization, we expect widget marketing to become even more popular in upcoming months.
With that said, Web Analytics World is reporting that the first annual Widget Marketing Convention will be taking place in New York on July 11, 2007. According to the official Widgetcon site:
"The first conference designed specifically for widget marketers. A full day of dialogue and productive networking. Case studies, examples, data, insight. An invite-only guest list comprised of the leading agencies, most innovative clients and widget-savvy publishers."
There is a lot of pressure in the business world to meet objectives and goals set out by management. For online marketers, you are constantly working to prove the value of your online marketing strategies that you deliver. To date, many business to business (B2B) marketers have been slow to embrace search and the online experience as they continue to focus primarily on traditional marketing methods. However as B2B marketers start to shift budgets to online and into search marketing the task of defining online marketing goals becomes key.
In the past, we have discussed the importance of identifying key performance indicators yet quite often clients are vague when asked what their online marketing goals are. Here is a look at the top 10 online marketing goals that should be considered by B2B marketers.
Top 10 Online Marketing Goals for B2B Marketers
Improve Number of Leads - bottom line is lead generation and improving ROI.
Improve theQuality of Online Leads - better leads can mean quicker and potentially more sales.
Improve the Overall Online Experience - keep your users' needs first and foremost to help build lifetime value and relationship. Improving the online experience will help improve repeat visits and help generate top of mind awareness.
Improve the Engagement Rate - engaging the user with proper use of conversion triggers and calls to action can help increase the number of leads that are generated.
Move Prospects Through the Buying Process/Funnel - A key goal for B2B marketers should be to help solve the needs of their prospects by providing them with all of the information they need to make a purchase decision as they work through the buying funnel.
Increase the Number of Qualified Visitors to your sites - increasing the number of qualified visitors to your site means a greater chance for obtaining more qualified leads.
Reduce Cost of Leads - an effective online strategy can help reduce the cost of each lead that is generated.
Increase Online Inquiries - one of the more important conversions that B2B marketers should focus on is to increase online inquiries that have the potential to become qualified leads. Depending on the phase of the buying funnel the user is at, you can use your online marketing strategy to intercept the prospect and increase the number of email requests or phone calls for additional information inqueries that the user may have.
Promote Offline Sales - use online to drive offline business. The majority of actual B2B transactions will take place offline.
Deliver Customer Service and Value to Your Target Market(s) - rounding out the top 10 online marketing goals for B2B marketers is delivering value to your site visitors. No explanation is needed as providing customer interception points and delivering effective customer service online can provide positive results offline.
There has been a lot of discussion lately centering around bringing search engine marketing in-house. Many organizations are now understanding the importance of search marketing and are seeing the fantastic returns with lower investment (when compared to traditional media). Yet there are a number of companies who have a poor experience with search engine marketing. We often hear prospects saying that they are unhappy with their current vendor due to lack of customer service, strategic direction, high cost or lack of perceived value. As a result many organizations are looking to bring search marketing in-house.
Is bringing search engine marketing in-house a good thing?
Contrary to popular belief, search engine marketing is not something that you just do. It involves more than just tactical implementation. Search engine marketing means planning, developing strategies, getting buy-in from management and other company departments, forming partnerships, on-going training, understanding users and search engine algorithms. Search engine marketers should have a marketing background, should have some technical expertise and should be creative. Search engine marketing is not for your average marketing person.
Bringing search engine marketing in-house is inevitable and for that reason alone it is a good enough reason to bring it in-house. In fact, according to a 2005 survey by Jupiter Media and WebSourced, 54% of companies handle their PPC management and SEO internally. Other reasons for bringing search engine marketing in-house or keeping it in-house include:
Budget - good search engine marketing does not come cheap. If your company is on a tight budget then having search marketing in-house and training existing staff can help you with any budget constraints that your marketing team may have.
You already have a dedicated IT team that can make any necessary technical modifications and upload new content quickly.
Fundamentals - you can train staff with fundamental SEO skills that will allow your company to plan an online strategy and implement necessary changes as required.
You already have a Search engine marketing manager or team lead who can manage the program and work with all necessary departments including management, IT, sales and marketing.
Time/Focus - you have the time to focus on an effective search engine marketing strategy and give it the necessary attention that it needs to flourish. This means understanding that organic results take time and that changes made today may not provide value until weeks possibly months down the road. Time also means that you have the available time for on-going training of staff with SEO and PPC practices as the search engine marketing industry changes on a regular basis.
Flexibility - if your company and marketing department is able to adapt to new technologies and to things such as changes in the search engines algorithms, then you should consider keeping or moving your search engine marketing campaign in-house.
You have the Proper Skill Sets - if your company currently has the necessary skill sets in place you may be better served to perform all of your search engine marketing in-house.
Reason Why You Should Outsource Search Engine Marketing
Expertise - a good search engine marketing company can provide high end search engine preferred (white-hat) recommendations to bolster your online marketing campaign.
Dedicated Resources - managing a successful paid and organic SEO campaign takes a dedicated staff to keep on top of latest developments and creation of strategies.
Training - a good search engine marketing company should be able to provide you with the tools and knowledge that your team needs to eventually take all of your SEO in-house.
Save Time - many organizations simply do not have the time to effectively manage their SEO and PPC. If this is the case, bringing in a search engine marketing company who can consult with or who can help implement changes can free up time with your online marketing team.
Strategic Direction - effective search engine marketers make a living on creating innovative online marketing strategies that will have a positive impact on your bottom line which may include an increase in qualified traffic to your site resulting in more qualified leads and ultimately more revenue being generated.
The question becomes what are my options when it comes to developing a search marketing campaign? Really there are three options:
Bring Search Marketing In-House
Outsource Search Marketing to a Qualified Vendor
Combo Option where the majority of search marketing is done in-house with the assistance of a search marketing firm for higher strategic direction.
The ideal scenario for many organizations may be the third option until your in-house team becomes educated to a point where your search engine marketing campaign can be brought entirely in-house.
Five Ways to Determine Whether You Should Bring Search Marketing In-House
When To Bring Search Marketing In-House
Should You Bring Search Marketing In-House?
We will have more on this interesting topic in upcoming weeks.
There has been a lot of talk about Yahoo (YHOO) this week. The largest story stems from the fact that Yahoo held the company's annual shareholders meeting yesterday, with three main takeaways having emerged:
A gauge on CEO Terry Semel's accountability
Clarity on Yahoo's stance on data censorship
Plans for filling departed CTO Farzad Nazem's leadership role
MediaPost has a great recap of the Yahoo Annual Shareholder's Meeting. It was interesting to hear Mr. Semel plead his case. According to Semel he states that "I feel very good about my capabilities," said Semel. "I believe in our model. I believe in being diversified."
It will be interesting to see how Yahoo emerges over the next few months.
Enquiro President and CEO, Gord Hotchkiss is at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Toronto this week. Bloomberg caught up with Gord to discuss Yahoo and the possibility of gaining market share on Google.
Gord provides great insight into Yahoo's recent activity (or lack thereof).
Yahoo Battles to Gain Ground Against Google
Bloomberg-Clip - (BLOOM-Clip)
Jun. 12, 2007. 12:00 PM EST
Yahoo Tries to Catch Up - Analysis and Discussion with Gord Hotchkiss, CEO of Enquiro: Panama Project is Not Game Changer
After re-releasing Google Analytics a few weeks back, Google has already updated their analytics offering. Manoj Jasra over at Web Analytics World has a great breakdown of the updated features including the addition of the hourly reporting and clickable URLs.
Google also announced that after July 18th the previous interface will no longer be available.
Login to your Google Analytics account and experience the new features.
Search Engine Journal is reporting that Yahoo is testing of a new search results page format with a blue search bar above the sponsored and organic Yahoo results. Could this be the start of a personalized SERP page for Yahoo as they have been quiet on the personalization front.
Last week ASK announced the release of their new search experience ASK 3-D. Today, ASK sheds even more light to where they are heading with search and search results. We know that ASK is leading the way with a unique search results page based on personalized search. (We think this is pretty cool). For the past number of months we have been preparing for personalization of search. It is something that we welcome as we feel that it will provide the best search experience for the user... and when it comes to search, relevancy is key. So how can ASK (or any search engine for that matter) provide unique or personalized results for the user? Well of course they need to know how the user searches, what they search for and how often. How do they know that you want news results, video results, classic text links or a combination of the bunch? How do they determine which content matches up best with your search?
ASK has developed a new content-matching algorithm that literally changes the results page according to your unique query. They call this process "Morph". According to the official ASK blog, Morph deep-dives hundreds of structured databases, taking into account not only relevance based on source signals, but also previous user behavior for your query. ASK Morph chooses among all possible content modules (such as music, television, news, blogs, images, encyclopedia listings, weather etc) then, it not only retrieves the most relevant content, it ranks the modules on the page depending on the topic. Let's test this shall we?
Try a search for San Jose weather. Usually when you search for something like weather it is an indication that you may be planning an event outside or even a vacation. This new ASK algorithm is smart enough to understand this and not only provide you with the current weather results but also provide you with video, images, maps of San Jose, the current time in San Jose etc. This is pretty cool stuff. For you Google users, this is similar to Universal Search where Google looks to provide addition types of results stemming from other Google properties (books, news, Google Video, blogs, images etc). ASK's "morphing algorithm" puts the more actionable modules--like maps and the correct time--at the top in hope of helping you get the right information, from the right sources, in the right place, at the right time. Sounds good to me, but is it accurate? Well the algorithm inserts the modules and results based on search history/aggregate user behavior for your query, keywords in your query and other factors that determine what you will be presented with.
Using AJAX technology you can also refine your search from the various modules located within the right pane of results. If you choose, you can do an entirely new vertical search in that module to find additional information. Have we said how cool this is? Check this out...
One of the coolest functions is the Video Mouseover where you can roll over a video thumbnail to see a 5-second preview, right in the page. Try it yourself. (Hint: Hover over the David Letterman Video Clip Icons). This is sweet! Some of the other features include:
Geo-Targeted Businesses and Event Listings
Artist Event Listings
If ASK continues to provide this type of user experience, there is no doubt that they will gain market share in the search engine industry. They have been the most proactive in changing the face of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). They are looking to gain market share away from Microsoft, Yahoo and even Google. They are definitely on their way.
Now I don't know Matt Cutts personally, but I have seen him speak at SES shows and have even visited the Googleplex where he and other Google engineers were nice enough to "shoot the breeze" with some of us in attendance. Although he is considered a Google Rockstar, he appears to be a straight up, decent guy. Nice guy, not too confrontational... so when he gets mad it is a rare occurrence.
Earlier today, Matt has posted about his frustration on a recent report from Privacy International regarding Google receiving the lowest possible score. Matt makes some excellent points as to why Google should receive higher marks over some of the other engines. Case in point:
Google didn’t leak user queries - In this past year, AOL released millions of raw queries from hundreds of thousands of users. Within days, a journalist had determined the identity of an AOL user from the queries that AOL released. But AOL got a better grade than Google.
Google didn’t give millions of user queries to the Dept. of Justice - AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo all gave some amount of users’ queries to the Department of Justice.
Others in the industry (such as Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan) tend to agree with Matt. I also would agree and feel that Privacy International has lost some credibility. Privacy is a touchy subject no question, but we can honestly say that Google is not the worse offender out there. They are looking to organize and provide the world's data to search users out there. They are bound to step on people's toes some times... but I can think of a lot of other sources that are far worse when it comes to privacy issues.
Last week I posed the question, that in the SEO 2.0 era will content still be king? In the article some key points of interest revolved around how 75% of technology seraches are made online. What this boils down to is that B2B marketers need to provide fresh content to the online world. There is and always will be a demand for content. People, technology buyers included, are in search of information. So what does this mean for B2B marketers who are trying to generate leads through their website?
In a report originally released in February 2007 from KnowledgeStorm and MarketingSherpa on "connecting through content" stated that about 85% of technology buyers need to see information about a new technology or solution at least three times for it to register. The study provided great insight on the importance of site content for technology buyers. It is no secret that when prospects are in the research stage of the buying funnel, they are looking for vendor content to help them narrow their selection process. They are looking for content that speaks their language and content that addresses their dilemma and needs.
Technology buyers are no different and here's why:
Technology buyers spend a lot of time online on technology research. As much of 75% of the information gathering is conducted online. Yet it is interesting to note that B2B marketers onlyprovide about 60% of their content online. Why is that even though the majority of tech buyers research information online? A little hint here for B2B marketers; provide your audience with all of the content they need, provide it when they need it and in a manner that they want to see it.
Technology buyers seek educational content. This content should be well written, concise and consist of high quality informative information. They want to see solution comparisons, they want to see pricing. Provide it. Do not force them to go to a competitor's site because if they leave chances are they are not going to return.
Technology buyers believe that the information they find online is of greater or equal value to the content that they find offline. Those who search online like to find exactly what they are looking for quickly and effieiciently.
Tech buyers look to vendor sites as being authoritative resources. If your site doesn't have all of the information they seek, they are not likely to short list your company as they work through the research and selection process of their buying cycle.
Repetition of content is key. Technology buyers need to hear the message over again and again. As mentioned earlier, many need at least three pieces of information before the information registers.
Provide the right type of content. According to the study by KnowledgeStorm and MarketingSherpa, Technology Buyers list whitepapers as the most frequently read content. On the contrary, less than one third of tech buyers claim to access Webcasts. Yet over 60% of marketers spend time and money sponsoring or using webcasts as part of their marketing programs. This is an interesting topic for debate. Are webcasts really effective? Is this time and money well spent?
Technology Buyers want fresh content. This means up-to-date stats, pricing, comparisons etc. Not only do they want it, but they expect to find new and fresh content.
Technology Buyers are looking for content that speaks to them and will solve their problems. Many B2B marketers provide content that "sells" their business or new company developments... yet doesn't explain or "tell" the audience how these new developments will solve their problem. Numerous sites do this. There is a serious disconnect here. Understand your audience and that it is all about your audience. The consumer/prospect is in control.
Cookie-cutter does not work. Marketers need to provide different types of content and customize their content so it stands out.
Technology Buyers are looking for content that is specific to their issues and their problem. Create content information that is targeted to their industry and their business.
Most search engine marketers will tell you that content is important for the search engines so that they can index and rank your site. Well that is true, creation of content becomes more important for your audience. Web content is important period. If you are marketing to technology buyers, website content becomes extremely important. Technology Buyers seek specific types of content at various stages of their buying cycle. Why not create this content and intercept your audience at these stages?
I came across this interesting venture on TechCrunch. With so many social communities popping up all over the place there is a definite need for some sort of interface that allows users to navigate between their online social environments. MyLifeBrand is a service that lets user’s aggregate social networking memberships and navigate between them from the one place. MyLifeBrand is a new site offering the next generation of social networking and social media services.
Techcrunch reports that MyLifeBrand supports Friendster, LinkedIn, Bebo, Facebook, H15, Orkut, MySpace, and TagWorld among others and is working on support for a number of niche social networks. Basically MyLifeBrand is a social platform looking to enable access and aggregation of social networks in one place. 'Nuff said.
With some much information being pushed out there, anything that can help me filter through the data is a welcomed addition. Ensuring that all of the communities, friends and services are together in one place is not a bad idea, as it can only improve the efficiency of my online experience.
Last week we discussed how Google's stock continues to rise and how Google continues to remain innovative and is working towards providing the best user experience in search. Well this week saw the Google (GOOG) share price hit an all-time high as it trades at around the $525 mark. This is a far cry from when the share price initially opened on the market in August 2004 at $85/share. Many analysts have said that Google could not continue to be innovative at the torrid pace that we saw in 2004. Well it is almost three years later and we would argue that Google has even picked up the pace.
In the past week for example, Google hasannouncedthat its Library Project has teamed up with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a national consortium of 12 research libraries, to digitize collections in its libraries.
Google bought start-up PeakStream for its Platform to help developers take advantage of advances in chip technology.
Google formed an alliance with Salesforce where Salesforce.com will roll out a new version of its service so its 32,300 customers can distribute their online ads through Google.
Google finalized their purchase of Feedburner a company that claims that they have more than 431,000 Web publishers and that it delivers about 67 million feeds to its subscribers each day.
Google opened a second R&D facility in Israel
That's a pretty eventful week. Google continues to impress. Many analysts however are still waiting for Google's bubble to burst. Truth of the matter is, who is going to upset Google from their lofty perch? If we are talking Search I'm not sure that Yahoo (YHOO) or Microsoft (MSFT) have it in them.
They say that America is the land of hope and dreams. Google may just become the business of hope and dreams as the Mountain View-based company now has a market value of $162 billion less than nine years after co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up shop in a Silicon Valley garage.
With yesterday's relaunch of the new ASK.com, users of search should take note. For those who do not often frequent ASK you may want to start. You really should check it out. In order to get started, perform a query on ASK.com. I tried a search for "las vegas" and was presented with the following:
I like the search suggestions feature and the fact that I can disable it if I so choose. It presents a number of relevant options that are particular to my query such as "las vegas shows", "las vegas weather", "las vegas airport" and "las vegas map". (In case you are wondering, I applied one of the skins that were provided to get the western sunset.)
The title of the ASK home page says it all, "Ask.com Search Engine - Better Web Search". Well it is definitely a better web search engine results page. When clicking through I was taken to a SERP page that one of my co-workers dubbed "a sexy, new" search page.
ASK has taken the interface from their ASK X release incorporating the use of the three panes. The left pane contains the search box and options for web search, image search, city search, news or more. In addition there are options to help you narrow your search for things such as Las Vegas coupons, Guide to Las Vegas etc using this example. You are also presented with an option to expand your search with queries such as "Grand Canyon" and "Hoovers Dam". Also to try an intercept all users, ASK even offers a Related Names section featuring Josh Duhamel who stars in the Las Vegas television program on NBC.
The Center pane features the main results and includes a map of Las Vegas, jobs, weather, seasonal climate, local time, official Las Vegas site info, a link to the Chamber of Commerce and more all located conveniently at the top of the page. This particular query served up three sponsored ads followed by a number or organic listings with additional sponsored listings after that followed by an option to download the ASK toolbar and additional pages of results.
The right pane presents a series of topic related categories that include:
Television Related Info
The SERP is very interactive providing a wide array of options for the user to follow through with. This is how a search results page should be displayed. The goal of this new interface was to to provide people with a faster, easier, and richer search experience. I think that mission has been accomplished. ASK has dubbed the new release as "ASK 3-D" where the 3D stands for the three dimensions of searching - query expression, investigating results, and digging deeply into content. With the new interface, you now get everything you need on one page, and in many cases above the fold. ASK is focusing on not just getting all of the information out there, but getting the right information out there. The official ASK blog states:
"...Accordingly, Ask3D literally morphs with each query you enter. No two searches are the same, so why should all search pages have the same stuff in the same order? We customize each page for each different query, based on relevance, but also based on what previous searchers on Ask found valuable for that query (or one like it)."
When ASK began testing their new ASK X interface last December, we thought that it was a prelude to the personalization of search. We were right, this is some pretty cool stuff and as we predicted ASK is really leading the way with personalized search. ASK has in fact created a richer user experience and has begun shaping how users with interact with the search engines in the future. As of June 5, 2007, ASK rules the Search Engine Results Pages. Interactive Corp (IACI) has done a great job with ASK. I really expect ASK to steal some search engine market share from Microsoft, Yahoo and even from Google if they continue to be as innovative as they have over recent months.
Just a quick post on this as I will follow up with a more detailed one later in the day. ASK.com re-launched yesterday night with a very cool new look. Not only is the look cool, but the user experience is great. ASK.com by far has the coolest SERP in th business. The new interface is based a lot on the ASK X interface that they released last fall. Great job by the team at ASK.
Tomorrow marks the first Search Marketing Expo Conference. For those that are unaware, the conference is being held in Seattle, WA. While I will not be attending we do have a few team members who will be in attendance. Be sure to say hello.
For many of us who have attended the SES shows we are hoping that SMX will consist of more strategic sessions as opposed to the traditional sessions that focus on tactics and SEO fundamentals. With things such as personalization, SEO is changing, and there is a definite need for more strategic thinkers to emerge.
The SMX show consists of two tracks one geared towards Organic Search the other focusing on the paid track. Conference chair Danny Sullivan will be looking to push SMX to new heights as they marketing the show as competition to Search Engine Strategies as Sullivan's last SES show will be at San Jose in August. It's no secret that Incisive Media (who put on SES) and Sullivan are not parting under the best of terms. Let's hope that the outcome are two better conferences. Many in the industry feel that there may only be room for one Search Engine Industry conference and that SES may be facing a serious threat from SMX.
Here's the agenda for the Search Marketing Expo Conference that begins tomorrow.
Personalization is tailoring something such as a product or service to a user based on personal details that you have compiled from feedback and past experience.
Personalization in terms of search is the process of tailoring pages to individual users' characteristics or preferences.
The idea behind personalization is an age old marketing philosophy known as the one to one marketing model. In essence this is how marketing began. The customer (or consumer) indicated what they wanted and the merchant sold based on this need. The problem is that this model allowed the merchant to sell to only one person at a time.
Fast forward to today and marketers look to reach the masses via search and search engines. Yet the latest trend is to revert back to the "one to one model" through personalization. Why is that? The answer is simple enough, it is because we are experiencing a major shift in marketing from push to pull. The consumer is in control. Marketers are slowly catching on to the fact that they really need to understand who they are selling to and that in order to be successful they need to given the consumer what they want.
We are seeing this in the online space as the popularity of user generated content continues to increase at amazing levels. The use of social communities that are frequented continues to rise. Users of Internet search are feeling liberated and engines such as Google and ASK understand this. You see these engines are looking to provide an experience that is personalized for each and every user mimicking the one-to-one marketing model as mentioned earlier. I'll now state the obvious and that is that personalization must focus on the user. Personalization must focus on:
the user's intent
the user's behavior
Each and every user have motivating factors for using search. When researching to make a purchase, determining factors include:
Pricing - price is always a factor in any purchase decision (even if you can afford to pay any price)
Benefits - the benefits must directly relate to the perceived needs of the user. With personalized search , do they expect to see video results or are they looking for News Results? Are they looking for a social community to learn more about the topic of interest?
Reliability and Trust - brand recognition and top of mind awareness is important. If Google cannot provide the most relevant personalized results and increase the perception of reliability, trust and relevance, the user may frequent a vertical search engine like a business.com or may look to other media to get their information.
Convenience - keeping the attention of the search user is critical. If you add a widget to your personalized Google page, you may not have to go any further to obtain the information that you seek.
Personal Taste - some people/users are simply creatures of habit and are set in their ways as to how they search. Do loyal users of Yahoo use ASK or MSN? Probably not, but if you continue to get everything that you are looking for out of Yahoo, then why would you change?
Prestige - the hype of search engines such as Yahoo and Google have an impact on the usage of each and on the lack of usage on other properties such as a business.com or the like. Consider the recent surge of popularity with Facebook and MySpace over other social communities such as MyBlogLog or LinkedIn.
Personalization, to be effective, starts and ends with the user. Understand what they want, and give them what they want. If they want competitor comparisons, online demos, pricing breakdowns, provide them with this information. Personalized search is going to mean that you will have to work that much harder to establish online content that is relevant to the masses. Focus on your target user and the rest will fall into place