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Organic Search / SEO Tips
The "Five Whys" of SEO and Organic Search
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Well it is early 2009 and we have seen the emergence of a new American President, we have seen a continued slide into a recession in North America and we continue to see professional athletes and entertainers remain overpaid. In addition for Marketers we continue to see avoidance of one of the most cost effective mediums available... Search.

Search is still the most accountable marketing channel as Enquiro's own Gord Hotchkiss pointed out in his recent article, Google Evolves Back to its Core.

So what does that mean for your business? Well it means that you should use your time wisely when planning your marketing budgets and your marketing efforts. With regards to online marketing efforts, SEO is still considered by many traditional marketers as a temporary means of gaining visibility in the online world. Many feel that the time and effort SEO takes simply provides very little benefit or return. (We have a number of clients that would suggest otherwise.) Yet, even while the vast majority of online marketing attention often goes toward sponsored search, SEO or organic search can often provide the greatest return.

Why the Fuss About SEO?

Maybe its the name SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Hmm yeah, I can see where people may not be able to identify with the phrase Search Engine Optimization, for SEO is not just about manipulating search engine results. Which is why I prefer the term Organic Search. Organic Search is about content and about finding ways to intercept your audience through Search.

I get this feeling that marketers are scared of SEO or Organic Search. Why else would they not be leveraging organic search? I tried to put myself in the shoes of one who is considering SEO but does not yet quite know enough about it to proceed. As a result, I came up with the five whys of SEO aka the five whys of Organic Search along with some of the fears that I think people have when it comes to SEO.

The Five Why's of SEO & Organic Search

Why Are Businesses Afraid of SEO?
  • afraid of the great return?
  • afraid of the longevity of results?
  • afraid to write and produce new content?
  • afraid of having to wait for results?
Marketers who are afraid of SEO have this lingering anxiety towards online marketing. Probably stemming from these common fears:
  • Realizing that in a matter of the past five-seven years, marketing as we had known it has undergone a transformation
  • The Global Economy has never experienced such a slide
  • The Flavor of the Week is simply not good enough anymore
  • Consumers have become educated and now dictate how they wanted to be "marketed to"

Why Are Businesses Afraid to Budget for Organic Search?
  • afraid that you'll miss out on the million dollar SuperBowl spot?
  • afraid that you might accomplish more... with less?
  • afraid that your boss doesn't get it (SEO)?
  • afraid Google is going away?
The fact of the matter is that SEO or Organic Search is very cost effective when compared to other forms of advertising and promotion. If you have not fought for your online marketing budget, start now. Gord pointed out in his article how Google continues to roll. Let's face it there is no Google-killer in site for the immediate future. Google is not going away anytime soon.


Why Do People Think that SEO is dead?
  • afraid that SEO is going to stick around?
  • afraid that the Internet is going away?
  • afraid that traditional advertising media is going to make a comeback?
  • afraid that SEO is a one-hit-wonder type of trend?
SEO is not dead. Certain tactics may be dead which is why understanding your business objectives and developing strategies to meet these objectives becomes so important. Tactics change and quickly become dated. Effective Organic Search is more than tactics, it's about having a plan to "conquer the online mountain".


Why is SEO/Organic Search Important?
  • afraid that your audience is not buying online?
  • afriad that your audience does not frequent online communities?
  • afraid that your audience does not use Search?
  • afraid that you cannot keep up with your competition in the online space?
The fact of the matter is while not everybody goes online to make a purchase, they do go online to find information. So while they may not be ready to make a purchase, they are using Search to research their options. They do look for product/solutions comparisons and they expect to find the information that they are looking for in a quick and easy manner. SEO is the perfect tool to intercept these people. The more you hesitate, the more you open the door for a competitor to dominate the online environment for your industry or business.

Why Do Businesses Not Take Search Seriously?
  • afraid that nobody else in your industry is using Search? (So why should you?)
  • afraid that Search will have little impact people's offline behavior?
  • afraid that you are too late to jump on the "Search Bandwagon"?
The perception of Search is actually starting to change quite quickly. Most Fortune 500. Fortune 100 and Fortune 50 firms are putting more efforts, budget and resources towards SEO and Search Marketing. You have to remember that Search is relatively new to the world. Rome wasn't built in a day... SEO and Search Marketing cannot rise to the top of the marketing ladder in one day either. As Search goes mainstream, and as marketing dollars get tighter and tighter, expect Search to attract more attention as an effective means of marketing one's business and one's brand.

It's no longer a question of why you should participate in and why should you allocate budget towards SEO and Organic Search, it's more of a question of how much and when. The later part of that question is easy, as the time is now. How much you put into SEO and Search totally depends on your needs, your industry and your willingness to succeed online.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 28, 2009  
Top 7 Search Stories of January 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
After a brief hiatus from delivering our top 7 search stories of the month, we are pleased to launch our first top 7 search list of 2009. To qualify for this list, the story must have occurred during the month and be related to or have a direct impact on the Search industry. In addition, we try to incorporate items from each of the major search engines where possible. With that here is a look at our top 7 search stories of the month.

#7. Live Search Mobile Update for Windows Mobile - Live Search added some features that makes it easier to find local businesses and to get maps and directions on your mobile. phone

#6. Google Creates New Sitemap Generator Tool - only this would be big news to us Search geeks. Creating XML sitemaps to assist the search engines in the crawling of your site is a great way to get your site indexed in Google and the other Search Engines. Why is this big news? Well we've tried a number of sitemap generator tools and have yet to find one that we really like when attempting to generate sitemaps for larger sites. According to Google:
our new open-source Google Sitemap
Generator finds new and modified URLs based on your webserver's traffic, its
log files, or the files found on the server. By combining these methods, Google
Sitemap Generator can be very fast in finding these URLs and calculating
relevant metadata, thereby making your Sitemap files as effective as
possible.

#5. ASK continues to expand their Semantic Search Capabilities - based on three of their technologies, Direct Answers from Databases, Direct Answers from Search and AnswerFarm, ASK continues to push the envelope with Semantic Search. According to ASK,
With DADS, we no longer rely on text-matching simple keywords, but rather we
parse users’ queries and then we form database queries which return answers from
the structured data in real time. Front and center. Our aspiration is to
instantly deliver the correct answer no matter how you phrased your query.

Hmm, what's next the resurrection of Jeeves?

#4. Microsoft Announced Q2 Results... and Layoffs - Microsoft experienced a 2% increase in revenue when compared to the same period last year however net income experienced an 11% drop when compared to Microsoft's second quarter of last year. Microsoft also announced that the company will see upwards of 5,000 layoffs in 2009.

#3. Google Shuts Down a Variety of Services - Google annonced that they were stopping a number of services including Google Catalog Search, Notbook, Jaiku and the Google Mashup Editor. Google also shutdown video uploads on Google Video. Search Engine Land had some great coverage on the announcement that can be found here.

#2. Yahoo Announce New CEO; Sue Decker is Out - well Yahoo finally selected their new CEO to replace Jerry Yang an its Carol Bartz former Executive Chairman of Autodesk and not Sue Decker as many had been predicting. Regardless, Yahoo is in for some difficult times as they continue to regroup after a shaky 2008. More about Yahoo's new CEO can be found at: http://ycorpblog.com/2009/01/13/our-new-ceo//

#1. Google Continues to Shine/Announces 4th Quarter Results - Google reported revenues of $5.70 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2008, an increase of 18% compared to the fourth quarter of 2007 and an increase of 3% compared to the third quarter of 2008. Although rumors suggest that yes even the mighty Google will be subject to layoffs in 2009, Q4 results looked pretty decent.

Great month in the world of Search to begin 2009.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, January 26, 2009  
Interesting Case Study About SEO
Thursday, January 22, 2009
In my quest for today's "hot stories" of the day, I came across a post entitled, "You Don't Need SEO to Rank in Google". The post was written by Rae Hoffman on her blog sugarrae.com. Strange that I had not visited her blog before as it's very informative.

Rae describes how she began a new site 'tweetwasters' and how pure traffic can do in the promotion of a website. She illustrates how traffic had a direct impact on the indexing and rankings of the new site. As Rae shared with us:
...within a matter of two hours, Tweetwasters had achieved the following:
  • the homepage was indexed
  • while considered a misspelling, Tweetwasters ranked #1 for the term “Tweetwasters” - over my own blog, which is pretty strong

However, what really was interesting was what happened over the next two hours (so, within four hours of launch):

  • the site had over 300 pages indexed
  • the word Tweetwasters was no longer a “misspelling” as far as Google was concerned


There are two excellent points that can be taken away from the post:
  1. Learn to major in marketing first and SEO second - I could not agree more. Focus on providing rich content to your audience and not on tactics such as keyword spamming to try and rank in the search engines. Rankings will come if you "market your content" properly.

  2. Be flexible enough to adapt - objectives change, strategies change and tactics change. Keeping the momentum going in the online world is getting more difficult. Having the ability to accept and roll with change can go a long way with your online marketing efforts.
Cool blog and great post, I'll definitely be visiting again.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, January 22, 2009  
Blended Search 2009: Strategies for Large SEO Campaigns
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Blended Search Optimization will be one of the most important areas of focus for online marketers in 2009. If you have not yet started optimizing for blended search, start now. Our previous post about the variation in search results for Barack Obama illustrates just how often blended results are showing up in Google.

With the release of Universal Search in May of 2007, Google was the first major search engine to delve into blended search results. ASK quickly stepped in with the very cool ASK 3-D results, but it continues to be Google that leads the way when it comes to blended search results.

So what are blended search results. Simply put, blended search results are those results that are not the typical blue link and description that we have traditionally seen on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Blended results consist of:
  • news results
  • video results
  • image results
  • blog results
  • book results
  • and more
In fact we found examples of 20 types of blended search results as we discussed about a year ago at this time.

Blended Search Optimization should be part of your online marketing strategy in 2009. In fact, how you leverage blended search should be a strategy that all online marketers incorporate in 2009.

Search Marketing Now is presenting a webcast on Blended Search 2009: Strategies for Large SEO Campaigns of which we are live blogging on this post. The presentation was completed by Chris Sherman, Executive Editor of Search Engine Land.

Chris started out by sharing some observations about blended search. He mentioned that blended results are emerging as the norm. Chris did point out that ASK.com was the first major search engine to come out with blended search results. Chris stated that blended search is often referred to Search 3.0.

Search 1.0 - keyword matching an Boolean logic, the first generation of search engines. Was easy to optimize for and easy to spam.

Search 2.0 - link analysis and linking popularity features of the algorithms. A link to a site was treated as a "vote of authority" for a given page, rankings were determined as a result. The results of the top 10 links were selected from an index of billions of pages. SEO became imperative.

Search 3.0 - Blended Search - other types of content, articles, news and vertical searches such as images and videos.

Chris reported that 35% don't use vertical search in 2009 based on data from iProspect. Further 25% did not recall if they have clicked a vertical search result. Users click "news" results more than twice as much (36%) within blended search results vs vertical news search. Similar numbers for images can be found as well.

Google has taken a conservative approach with blended search. For some queries Google restricts the number of blended results that is displayed. They do this so that they do not alienate their existing users. This has made it difficult to do a pure "Web Search" on Google. Google has now turned to a more speculative approach to serving up results.

Chris went on to illustrate what the search engine results looked like pre-blended search and how they look now. How Google has moved from the old "one-box" results to blended results featuring news, images, videos etc. He also include examples of local search how local listings have gone from displaying 3 to now displaying 10. Images have also been blending in depending on the nature of the query. Editor's note, Google has been recently experimenting with including more video results in the main search results. We continue to see more and more videos appearing in the results.

Chris made an excellent point on how Microsoft is emulating Google's cautious approach when it comes to blended search. Yahoo is experimenting with a beta service that "glues" different types of results on their SERP. Yahoo is also experimenting with their "Search Monkey" feature where users can flag content that they feel should be showing up on the Yahoo SERP.

Chris made another great point that with blended search ius that you can have more than 10 results appearing on the first page of search results in the search engines. As a result good SEO is still crucial. People are relying more and more on search engines to take them to the sites that they are looking for. Current SEO techniques are not going away, but online marketers will need to apply best practices for optimizing the various types of content for blended search. As an example:
  • images should include descriptive alt text, filenames and keyword rich surrounding text
  • images in blended search are most liekly to appear for products, people or famous places
  • news releases should include links as press releases are crawled and included in Google News Search.
  • optimize news release content as you would a normal webpage
  • optimize for local search (if you have a local business)
  • ensure that you local information is accurate, timely and up-to-date
  • include tons of location based content on your website to be found in local results
  • with video, be sure to include rich and descriptive information about your video
  • use descriptive text on the page where the video is embedded
  • include the URL to your site within the video to encourage traffic to your web properties
Blended Search offers an opportunity to convey your content to your audience through various formats. There were some great questions during the Q&A session of the Webcast.

I posed the question as to why ASK.com has pulled back on their blended search efforts reverting back to a more Google-like SERP. However, a response was not commnicated.

Universal Search has its own algorithm and is constantly changing.
Blended Search will continue to evolve, but it has already improved the search experience. Universal Search is strictly about organic results. It has not had an impact on paid search as of yet. Chris described the Google Golden Triangle and made mention of Enquiro's research re: some eye tracking research that we have completed. (Thanks for the plug Chris.)

Thanks to Search Marketing Now and iProspect for putting together this Webcast.


Related Posts


Optimizing for Blended Search: What You Need to Know
Google Universal Search Results Showing Up More Often
ASK.com The Second Coming of Search Means Personalization

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 21, 2009  
10 Interesting Types of Search Results for Barack Obama
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today, history was made with the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Not just in the United States, but all around the world, people were tuned in to some form of media to see the next President of the United States.

So we thought that we would perform searches for "Barack Obama" in Google throughout the day to see how the results appear and whether they change or not. It's interesting to see the various type of results that show up for "Barack Obama" in Google.

Here is a look at the varied Search results that appear on the first page of a Google SERP for "Barack Obama".
  1. News Results - Google's Universal Search presents a couple of blended search results featuring news items from the Times Online with links to over 7,300 related articles.

  2. Twitter Listing - yes even Barack Obama has a Twitter page. twitter.com/BarackObama

  3. Official Site for Barack Obama - Of course result #3 in Google is for the Official Website of Barack Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign.

  4. Image Results - four images appear in the middle of the Google SERP featuring a smiling Barack Obama

  5. Blog Results - even more blended search results with three blog results appearing on the first page

  6. Wikipedia Listing - of course... what's a Google Results page without a Wikipedia listing being present?

  7. Barack Obama's Official MySpace Page - yet another social network listing for Barack Obama. www.myspace.com/barackobama

  8. New York Times - yes even a result from the online version of the New York Times.

  9. Barack Obama's Official Facebook Page - Barack's online marketing team have done a tremendous job of keeping the now President of the United States wired and online. Very cool. http://www.facebook.com/barackobama

  10. Reteurs - http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/barackobama
This is a perfect example of why optimizing for blended search is so important in 2009. Google continues to update their results page to include various types of results from news results, to social network links to blog results.

Google SERP for Barack Obama
Yahoo SERP for Barack Obama
ASK SERP for Barack Obama
Windows Live/MSN SERP for Barack Obama

Four different search engines, four different types of search results pages. Regardless, Barack Obama is everywhere!

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, January 20, 2009  
ComScore Releases December 2008 U.S. Search Engine Rankings
Monday, January 19, 2009
It was pretty much status quo in terms if search engine usage for users in the US as comScore released their report of US search usage data for December 2008. Yahoo was the only search engine to experience an increase, albeit a slight one.

comScore Core Search Report*
December 2008 vs. November 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore qSearch 2.0

Core Search Entity

Share of Searches (%)

Nov-08

Dec-08

Point Change

Dec-08 vs. Nov-08

Total Core Search

100.0

100.0

N/A

Google Sites

63.5

63.5

0.0

Yahoo! Sites

20.4

20.5

0.1

Microsoft Sites

8.3

8.3

0.0

Ask Network

4.0

3.9

-0.1

AOL LLC

3.8

3.8

0.0


Full report can be found here.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, January 19, 2009  
Top 100 Marketing Buzzwords for 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Buzzword - a phrase or word that entices people to discuss a topic in repetition.

This is our third year in providing a list of the top 100 marketing buzzwords used by online marketers and by folks in the Search Industry. For a recap of the previous year's list see:

Top 100 Marketing Buzzwords for 2008
Top 100 Marketing Buzzwords for 2007

Love 'em or hate 'em, buzzwords are used by everyone in every industry. The online world is no different, there have been certain buzzwords that have gained attention over recent years. Think of "Google", "Facebook" or "Twitter". Some of these words may even be found on this year's list, but the fact is we cannot escape these buzzwords. Marketers use buzzwords more than anybosy, so to narrow the list to just 100 phrases was not an easy thing to do. With some deliberation, we were able to come up with the top 100 Marketing Buzzwords of 2009.




Top 100 Marketing Buzzwords of 2009
  1. Value Justification - this was a hot buzzword/phrase in late 2008. We expect that this "buzzword" will continue to be on the lips of many marketers and business owners in 2009.
  2. User Engagement - engagement was #9 on our list a year ago but has jumped up into the number two position this year as companies will be working that much harder to get users to engage with their content on their websites.
  3. Business Objectives - in 2009, you can expect to hear a lot about defining business objectives as organizations proceed with lean initiatives.
  4. Lean - you've probably already heard that 2009 is going to be a lean year from the economy to budget spend. After a tough 2008, many organizations will be looking towars lean initiatives to ensure that their organizations remain competitive and profitable.
  5. Benchmarking - rounding out the top 5 is benchmarking as companies will be focusing on their direct competition to try and measure their own success.

    With that here is how the rest of the top 100 play out:
  6. Personalization
  7. Incremental Improvement
  8. Success Metrics
  9. User Intent
  10. iPhone App
  11. ROI
  12. Blended Search
  13. Value Add
  14. Lead-Gen
  15. Brand Identity
  16. Twittering
  17. Bail-out
  18. Visibility
  19. Digital Marketing
  20. Strategy - one of the most mis-used buzzwords out there.
  21. Conversion Analysis
  22. Online Budget
  23. Value Stream
  24. Social Networking
  25. Actionable
  26. Usability
  27. Viral Marketing
  28. Consumer Appeal
  29. Merger
  30. Off-line vs. Online
  31. Low-hanging fruit
  32. Share of Voice
  33. Content Optimization
  34. Integration
  35. Re-skilling
  36. Quality Score
  37. Long-tail
  38. Wiki
  39. Head (keyword)
  40. Online Marketing
  41. Blogging
  42. Best Practices
  43. Cutbacks
  44. Benchmark
  45. Torso (keyword)
  46. SEO 2.0
  47. Business-to-Everybody a.k.a B2E
  48. Site Architecture
  49. Buying Funnel
  50. Mobile
  51. Brandstorming
  52. Below Zeros
  53. Webmaster Tools
  54. Loyalty
  55. Demand Creation
  56. Web Analytics
  57. Simplification
  58. Restructuring
  59. Corporate DNA
  60. Dollarization
  61. Downtrending
  62. Video Optimization
  63. Web Conferencing
  64. Semantic Mapping
  65. Bounce Rate
  66. Alignment
  67. Keyword Research
  68. Lifelong Value
  69. Online Evangelism
  70. Recession Proofing
  71. Mobi
  72. Consumer Retention
  73. Organic Search
  74. Segmentation
  75. Online Video Ads
  76. SEM
  77. The Obama Effect
  78. Deferred Success
  79. Win-Win
  80. Calls to Action
  81. Website Re-design
  82. Emotional Ecomomy
  83. Greenlining - the process of going green in the office as a method of improving the working environment
  84. Mobilization
  85. Facetime
  86. Waste Identification
  87. Measuring Value
  88. Trended Analysis
  89. Enterprise Marketing
  90. Voice of the Customer
  91. Empowerment
  92. Holographic Conference
  93. Google Recession
  94. Employee Surfboarding
  95. Work in Progress
  96. Re-engineering
  97. Budget Checking
  98. Redeploying Assets
  99. Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)
  100. Embedding

There it is, the list of the top 100 marketing buzzwords that we can expect to hear a lot more of in 2009.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, January 18, 2009  
Welcome to Marketing Jive
Well it took a little longer than we expected as we had some hosting issues which have limited us in what we have been able to do with Marketing Jive. However today marks that start of something new. I started SEO Space in the fall of 2006 as a way to learn more about blogging. After nearly 700 posts, I'm pleased to announce the transformation from SEO Space to Marketing-Jive.

We hope that Marketing-Jive will continue to feature great discussion about online marketing and related topics. We'll still be posting about organic search and about SEO, but from time to time, you will also see our thoughts on topics such as sports marketing and the business of sports. You probably hear my thoughts on some of my favorite topics including the Edmonton Oilers and the National Hockey League.

Yes we know that there are still some changes that we need to make and those will be coming soon. For now, we just want to thank our readers and we have some great posts coming up. We hope that you enjoy Marketing-Jive.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, January 18, 2009  
Barack Obama Teams Up with Spiderman
Thursday, January 15, 2009
US President Elect, Barack Obama is quite an interesting man. For example as a child, did you know that he collected Spiderman comics? Well although Mr. Obama has graced the covers of numerous magazines and newspapers in recent months, one cover that you may not thought of was the cover of Amazing Spiderman #583. The world’s most recognizable political figure teams up with the world’s greatest super-hero, as President-Elect Obama joins Spider-Man in "Spidey Meets the President".


Spider-Man has a new sidekick, and it's none other than the President-Elect!! Barack Obama collected Spider-Man comics as a child, so Marvel Comics wanted to give him a "shout-out back" by featuring him in a bonus story, said Joe Quesada, Marvel's editor-in-chief.

The comic starts with Spider-Man's alter-ego Peter Parker taking photographs at the inauguration, before spotting two identical Obamas. Parker decides "the future president's gonna need Spider-Man," and springs into action, using basketball to determine the real Obama and punching out the impostor. Obama thanks him with a fist-bump!

Obama is a comic book fan, and has said that as a child, he collected Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comic books. His Senate Web site used to have a photo of him posing in front of a Superman statue.
Pretty cool, the issue is already sold out and is in second print. These issues are already selling upwards of $100 on eBay.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, January 15, 2009  
Yahoo Announce New CEO; Sue Decker is Out
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Well word came yesterday that Yahoo (YHOO) has finally selected a new CEO to replace Jerry Yang. The troubled Search Engine will now look to Carol Bartz to lead Yahoo in a new direction, which will not be easy. Bartz comes to Yahoo after being named the Executive Chairman of Autodesk in 2006, and previous to that leading Autodesk as CEO for 14 years.

Also announced was that after nearly nine years with Yahoo, President Sue Decker is resigning after a transition period. According to the official press release from Yahoo,
Jerry Yang said, "I couldn't be more pleased with the Board's choice of Carol Bartz as CEO and look forward to returning to my former role as Chief Yahoo. I believe Carol is the ideal person to take Yahoo! forward and I will be honored to be a resource to assist her in any way she finds helpful. I believe Yahoo!'s best years are still ahead of it. For the past 14 years, I have poured all of my energies into this great company -- and I hope to keep contributing to its success for many years to come."
Of course the rumors of a Microsoft / Yahoo merger have instantly resurfaced which was one of the items that Mr. Yang was strongly opposed. Contratry to what most analyst are saying, I have a lot of respect for Jerry Yang who fought the good fight and refused to give aways his company that he built to Microsoft (if you can call the original offer of $45 billion giving away). Many believe that it is only a matter of time before Microsoft scoops up Yahoo's Search business. Probably not to improve Search as a service but for access to the advertisers. If Microsoft was concerned with the Search experience, don't you think that would have offered a better Search product by now?

Yahoo continues to be the number two Search Engine (after Google) with just over a 20% market share in North America, based on data from ComScore.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 14, 2009  
Favorite SEO Posts of the Week
Monday, January 12, 2009
It's been a while since we posted. We thank you for bearing with us as we make the switch from SEO-Space to Marketing Jive.

We wanted to share a couple of our favorite SEO posts from the past week that you may find useful as you optimize your web properties. Here's a look at some of our favorite SEO posts from the past week.
  • Rewriting the Beginner's Guide Part VIII: Search Engine Tools and Services - Danny Dover over at SEOmoz continues the thoughts of Rand Fishkin on the beginner's guide to Search Engine Tools and Services. Danny discusses tool for Webmasters including Google Webmaster Tools (our personal favorite) and Yahoo Site Explorer. Great information for folks who may be new to the industry. http://www.seomoz.org/blog/rewriting-the-beginners-guide-part-viii-search-engine-tools-and-services-5844

  • Should Marketers Shift Offline Budgets to Digital Marketing? - Lee Odden over at Top Rank Marketing discusses whether we will be seeing more companies moving more budget to digital marketing efforts. This is something that we totally expect to see in 2009. Especially considering the lower costs associated with organic search marketing when compared to traditional media. This was a topic that we discussed last month with our post on SEO in 2009: Shifting Budget Towards SEO. Check out Lee's post and be sure to read the comments as there is some great insight there. http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/01/shift-budgets-digital-marketing/

  • How Do You Decide If Social Media is Right For Your Business? - Mack Collier at Search Engine Guide attempts to answer this question. Fact: Social Media is not right for every business. Mack's key takeaway: Start monitoring what your current and potential customers are saying NOW, and track WHERE they are saying it. http://www.searchengineguide.com/mack-collier/how-do-you-decide-if-social-media-is-rig.php

  • Building Links on Your Offline Time - For all you people looking for link building help, this is a cool post from Julie Joyce over at Search Engine Journal. Julie is quick to point out that "Link building doesn’t just happen online…it can quite easily happen when you’re nowhere near a computer, when you’re simply talking to someone, wearing a t-shirt with your site’s name on it..." She is entirely right in her creative and informative post. This is one of the best posts on link building that we have seen in quite some time.
    http://www.searchenginejournal.com/building-links-on-your-offline-time/8250/

  • My New Year’s Search Marketing Resolutions - Of course we had to include a post from the good folks over at Search Engine Land. David Roth (no not David Lee Roth from Van Halen fame) outlines his New Year's resolutions for Search in 2009. I especially like Resolution #1: This year I’m going to set and standardize an SEO-friendly URL strategy for my company. Check out the full post at:
    http://searchengineland.com/my-new-year%e2%80%99s-search-marketing-resolutions-16050
It's great to see that there is some decent material being written about SEO out there as we progress through the early stages of 2009.

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posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Monday, January 12, 2009  
Zappos Does it Right with Twitter
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The other day we posted about five great resources about Twitter. So as we continue with our adventures in Twittering, we can across a company that makes great use of Twitter. Many of you may be familiar with the name Zappos. This company like no other gets social media. They understand social networking like no other company that I have ever seen. To say that I am impressed with them is an understatement.

Zappos for those of you not in the know, is simply a company that sells shoes. That's it, that's what they do. In fact, I believe the name "Zappos" was derived from a Spanish word meaning shoes. What the company is more popular for is their level of customer service that they provide to their customers. As they say at Zappos:

At Zappos.com, Customer Service Is Everything. In Fact, It's The Entire Company.

The company has been known to go over and above the call of duty on numerous occassions. If you could describe a fun company, Zappos might just come to mind. Check out this video snippet for more on the fun filled antics that the company participates in. From an online perspective Zappos is ahead of most when it comes to promote their brand and creating viral buzz. Especially when it comes to using Twitter.

Zappos Does it Right with Twitter

The company is one of the best that I have seen leveraging Twitter. In fact they have created their own Twitter section as a sub-domain on their site (http://twitter.zappos.com/) where you can:
  • check out Zappos employee tweets on Twitter
  • check out Zappos employees who use Twitter
  • review Zappos' Beginner's Quick Start Guide and Tutorial to Using Twitter
For the record, the official Twitter page for Zappos is http://twitter.com/zappos. The Beginner's Quick Start Guide is awsome. It's complete with tips and advice on using Twitter. The cool thing about it, is that it's not full of technical or geeky jargon. It's truly a great resource for learning how to use Twitter. It includes some real life examples from the Zappos CEO as to how useful Twitter was for him after he first signed up.
So here's an example where Twitter came in handy for me when I first started using it. I would twitter "I'm at bar X" and it would be broadcast to my Twitter network. A couple of my friends happened to be close by, so they stopped by and we had a drink. Pretty cool.
Included is a simple 10 step process for signing up and using Twitter. This is great stuff for people new to Twitter.

If you go to http://twitter.zappos.com/employees you see that at the time of this writing, 435 Zappos employees are currently on Twitter. There are nearly 21, 000 people following Zappos on Twitter. Zappos definitely does it right with Twitter.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 07, 2009  
Look for More Blended Search Results in Google in 2009
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
If you have not yet started optimizing for blended search, you should begin now. We have mentioned on numerous occasions that we are seeing more and more blended results in the search engines... especially in Google. When Google launched Universal Search in May 2007, we expected to see more "blended" results within Google's main results. While Google has been experimenting with these blended search results over the past 18 months, we were a little disappointed with the limited blended results that have been displayed. Probably more so with the inconsistencies of the displaying of blended search results.

What Are Blended Search Results?

Let's discuss blended search results a little. There are numerous types of blended search results that show up in the main results of search engines. From images to video, from local results to news results, blended results are simply those results that appear in the main search results of a search engine that are somewhat unique or different than the typical blue text links that we have all become accustomed to seeing within a results page of a search engine.

Try a search in Google for "Barack Obama". The results that are returned for me show blended results at the top with some News results. Further down the results page (I have my results set to display 100 results) I see more blended results with some video results including an A&E biography on Barack Obama.

In addition, there are also some social networking blended results showing up including links to Mr. Obama's My Space, Twitter and Facebook pages. The results being displayed are already quite different than we saw less than two years ago and even less than six months ago.

We expect that in 2009, we will be seeing more blended results appearing in Google. Especially if the results are relevant to a users query. This is why quite often we see "news results" appearing in the prime organic space. Users are finding these results as being more useful to their query. No surprise there, as the sponsored listings are often ignored as users scroll right down to the organic results which now quite often are being occupied by a blended search result. This is substantiated by Google's Marissa Mayer as Greg Sterling over at Search Engine Land pointed out.

It appears that Mayer hinted that we can expect to see some changes to the results page of Google, especially based on this comment:

In the near term, Mayer also suggests some new interface changes will be coming this year:

Mayer reveals that the team has been evolving the interface design and user experience of the rich media-heavy search results since the launch in May 2007 and that we’ll see the fruits of this experimentation in the coming months.


So while Google has been moving cautiously with changes to their results pages, we are beginning to see more universal a.k.a blended search results appear. Look for more of this to happen in 2009, especially in conjunction with personalization of search results. Other engines have started this as well, with the ASK 3-D experience being one example of the move towards blended results on a SERP.

The fact is that if you have not yet began optimizing your content for blended search, the longer you wait the harder it will be to gain visibility on the results page. Organic search (SEO if you will) is all about content optimization and the next phase of content optimization is optimizing for blended search.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, January 06, 2009  
Top 5 Twitter Resources
Monday, January 05, 2009
I don't usually make New Year's resolutions but one of the goals that I have in 2009 is to make better use of Twitter. A number of people that I know swear by Twitter and others claim they have no use for it. I probably fall in the middle but am looking to become more of a regular Twitter user.

So even though I have had a Twitter account for quite some time, I thought that I would research a little more about Twitter. As a result of my research, I thought that I would share a couple of helpful Twitter resources. Let me tell you, Twitter is popular. There were numerous resources to choose from. In fact I was overwhelmed with the number of resources out there on Twitter.Here is a look at the top 5 resources on Twitter that I cam across.

Top 5 Twitter Resources

#5. Twitter Means Business book - for you old school folks, Julio Ojeda-Zapata has written a book entitled "Twitter Means Business" describing how companies are harnessing Twitter to engage their customers, promote their products and monitor what is being said about their brands.

#4. TwiTip - http://www.twitip.com - lessons learned from blogger Darren Rowse about his expeience with Twitter. Lots of great tips and post about all things Twitter.

#3. The Official Twitter Blog - http://blog.twitter.com/ - another great source for information about Twitter. Started in August of 2006, the official Twitter blog contains stats about Twitter and interesting facts not found elsewhere.

#2. Crunchbase - TechCrunch's Crunchbase.com has a great section all dedicated to Twitter. Learn about what Twitter is, when it was started and more details about Twitter. http://www.crunchbase.com/company/twitter

#1. The Official Twitter Commands - this was a very helpful page from the folks at Twitter themselves. With this page, you can learn how to turn Twitter on an off, learn how to send "tweets", learn about Twitter Tracking and more.

I could have easily made this a top 20 list but for those people who may be curious about Twitter or may want to slowly start out using Twitter, the resources above are a great place to begin your Twitter adventures.

Visit Twitter at: http://twitter.com
Visit SEO-Space on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/seo_space

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posted by Jody @ Monday, January 05, 2009  
Top 10 Must Read Search Stories Entering 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
We've taken a week off from the Internet... boy is that a mistake as the Internet never sleeps. As a result there are a number of great Search related stories that we have been going through. We thought that we wold share a few with our first top 10 list of 2009.

Here are the Top 10 Must Read Search Stories Entering 2009

#10. Little Known Link Opportunities for 2009 - this was a fun one that we came across from Brian Ussery.

#9. 7 Social Media & Web Analytics Predictions for 2009 - from Social Media Today. Some intersting thoughts about how social media may progress in '09.

#8. Interview: Pytey of the iPhone Dev Team - Greg Kumparak from TechCrunch. OK so maybe this is not Search specific, but it does have implications for mobile Search.

#7. A Christmas Present for SEOs: 10 Tips to Pick the Low Hanging Fruit - Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz shares a few more tips prior to the holidays.

#6. Marissa Mayer At Le Web: The (Almost) Complete Interview - from TechCrunch which has led to speculation about Marissa Mayer possibly leaving Google in 2009 as reported at Search Engine Watch.

#5. Yes, Keyword Ranking Reports are Still Valuable - ah a very hot topic these days being discussed at SEO Book.

#4. Google's Death Grip and Search Snapshots - Enquiro's Gord Hotchkiss always has a lot of interesting insight into Search and how we use Search.

#3. Top 20 SEO Posts from ASK Enquiro in 2008 - OK so we're a little biased (although we could have eaily listed this at #1). A number of the SEO posts over at ASK Enquiro did originate here at SEO-Space and there really are some good tips for assisting site owners in their Search optimization and online marketing efforts.

#2. Tough Love For Microsoft Search - a long but telling piece about Microsoft and their Search mishaps by Search Engine Land Danny Sullivan.

#1. Measuring Natural Search Marketing Success - by Rob Garner over at Search Insider. This is an important article for site owners and business execs alike. As a result it has landed in our top spot of must reads entering 2009. This quote from a reader sums up the importance of this article: "Natural search comes dressed in overalls and looks like hard work -- but done well, it's capable of beating the pants off of paid search from an ROI perspective..." Expect to hear a lot more on this in 2009.

Some great reading to get the year started off right.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, January 02, 2009  
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