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SEO Education & Knowledge Transfer: 21 Ways to Share SEO Knowledge
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
One of the pains that continues to be identified in most organizations that we work with revolves around education.  The need for education on SEO and SEM is continuing to evolve and as a result B2B companies and B2C companies alike are looking for ways to educate their teams on the latest techniques to ensure online success.  The Search industry is evolving quickly and there is a need to continually educate yourself on best practices and emerging trends that you can incorporate into your online marketing strategy.  So how do we do this?

Information overload is a problem that is a direct result of the digital age.  The Internet gives anyone and everyone access to the world's data with the ease of a few clicks.  Internet users continue to hone their search skills as people are becoming more judicious and skillful with search than ever before.  The number of touch points that we have with information is at an all-time high.  Another result of the digital age is the shift in marketing.  Born was a new breed of marketer, the online marketer.  From here new disciplines have emerged such as SEO, SEM and SMM.

Within these options there is a tremendous amount of information that one must learn in order to participate successfully with their online marketing efforts.  Take SEO for example.  SEO, also known as nature search optimization or organic search optimization is really only 10-15 years old, but it has transformed greatly during this time.  Technology and innovation has ensured this.

SEO Knowledge Transfer:  Educating Your Organization

So how does one acquire and share SEO knowledge?  In this digital age, there are numerous ways to transfer knowledge.  Of course for this process to take place, we need a minimum of two parties:
  1. Someone who shares the knowledge
  2. Someone who acquires the knowledge
Think about all of the potential mechanisms that we can use to transfer SEO knowledge, or any knowledge for that matter.  By blogging, I am currently leveraging one of these mechanisms right now.   Yet there are various ways to share things like SEO tips and best practices for educating your organization.  The following list is just a few of the avenues that you can use for SEO knowledge transfer.

Of course with any type of knowledge sharing, there are really two ways of communicating:
  • Verbally
  • Written
On-demand/recorded could be a third manner of sharing knowledge.

21 Ways to Share SEO Knowledge in Your Company

Items 1-7 deal with ways you can verbally share SEO information.  Items 8-15 are more from a written perspective.  The remainder involve sharing information that is made available on-demand.
  1. In-Person
    • In-Person visits
    • Mentoring/Peer Learning
    • Job Shadowing
    • Team Events
  2. Meetings
  3. Team Huddles
  4. Conference Calls / Teleconferencing
    • Internally with your team
    • Externally with clients
    • Externally with others
    • Using technology such as GoTo Meeting or other teleconferencing technology
  5. Interviews
    • In-person
    • Phone
  6. Formal Lectures
  7. Conferences
    • In-person (networking)
    • Virtual
    • Speaking engagements
  8. Email
  9. Blogging
  10. White Papers
    • Internal white papers produced by your organization
    • External white papers from other resources
  11. Reports - monthly, quarterly or annual reports
  12. Dashboards - reporting success metrics via a dashboard that can be viewed in real-time or scheduled as a weekly or monthly event.
  13. Internal Newsletters
    • Email newsletters
  14. Instant Messaging - via technologies such as Skype or Messenger
  15. Wikis - sharepoint sites, or wiki environments where people within your organization can share information is another great way to transfer knowledge within your organization.  This could be as simple as setting up a Google site or internal blog.
  16. Pre-recorded Webinars - Internal - webinars that your organization has recorded
  17. Pre-recorded Webinars - Other - these are webinars that your team can access via industry sources that are typically made available on-demand.
  18. Podcasts
  19. Slidecasts - sharing information through slide decks via technology such as slideshare can be a great way to educate your team about SEO items.
  20. Video - video is huge and can be highly effective at educating your team about any subject.
    • Creation of Video (sharing of information)
    • Watching of Video (acquiring information)
  21.  iPhone App - why not create an inexpensive iPhone app that features knowledge that could be stored within?  This data could be as simple as a white paper or book that has been transcribed and can be accessed via a mobile device?
For the most part, these mechanisms can be used for both acquiring information and sharing of information.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, March 31, 2010  
Content Development: The Importance of Brand Pages for e-Commerce Websites
Monday, March 29, 2010
Developing content for your website is critical, you should all understand that by now.  When it comes to e-commerce sites, informative content, or lack thereof can be the difference as to why a site visitor makes a purchase from you as opposed to your competitor.  Typically e-commerce sites have no issues when it comes to the amount of content that they feature on their websites.  To say that content is important is well, stating the obvious.  Content is not just king for the search engines, content is important for your target audience and the people that actually visit your website. 

Planning a content development strategy will help you determine the type of content that your should feature on your site.  Visit any large e-commerce site and you will see a lot of similarities in terms of the type of content that is featured on these sites.

Content Make Up of a Typical e-Commerce Site
  1. Family Pages
  2. Category Pages
  3. Sub-Category Pages
  4. Product Pages
    • Product Specifications
    • Features/Benefits
    • Product Reviews
  5. Sub-Category Sub Pages

The fact of the matter is, with many e-commerce sites there is a number of content pages that exist based on the typical hierarchy that we see above.   In addition, many e-commerce sites will also have what we call branded pages that feature vendors or suppliers.  These branded pages can be very important to an e-commerce site and as a result, can drive a lot of additional qualified traffic to your site.  The importance of thee branded pages can not be understated.

The Importance of Brand Pages for e-Commerce Websites

Branded Pages allow e-commerce sites to accomplish a couple of different things from an SEO perspective:
  1. Build Authority for Vendor Brands - a well optimized "branded" page can assist an e-commerce site in the search engine results for vendor terms.  Think of a site like Toys"R" Us who have vendor branded pages for vendors such as Hasbro of Fisher Price.  We did a search for "Fisher Price" in Google and found Toys"R"Us on the first page of results in position six.  This is no doubt is driving additional traffic to the Toys"R"Us site that they would otherwise be missing if they did not have a "Fisher-Price" branded/vendor page on their site.
  2. Establish a great donor page for interlinking - branded pages are great pages to leverage the branded authority and link to relevant category or even deeper product level pages.  As part of an internal linking strategy, this can provide some great link authority to deeper site pages.
  3. Build Trust with your Audience - there is a good chance that your audience is expecting to see that you carry certain brands.  If you are Home Depot for example, people expect that you will carry Dewalt Power tools.  For the record, Home Depot does a great job with their Dewalt Tools brand page on their site.  By featuring "brand" pages on your e-commerce site, you can help build that trust that users are looking for.  If you are a well known brand such as Toys"R"Us or home deport, people will be expecting to see these brands being featured on your website.  This can be a great opportunity to optimize for the various brands and drive additional traffic to your site that is already somewhat qualified.
  4. Naturally build your external link inventory - if you have a good relationship with your suppliers or vendors, you can request that they place a link from their web properties to their brand page on your website.  If your branded page becomes somewhat of an authority, there is a good chance that your vendor might link to you regardless.  This is a great way to build up authoritative links to your site for high traffic driving vendor phrases.
Content development can take many forms.  If you are an e-commerce site and you do not currently feature brand/vendor pages, you might want to consider it.  These pages can be great for driving traffic to your site and can also assist in generating links to your web properties.  This content is easy to create and even easier to incorporate into your site's existing content. The return that you get from brand/vendor pages will make you wonder why you didn't incorporate this type of content earlier.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, March 29, 2010  
SEMPO State of Search Engine Marketing Report Results Released for 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Results from the annual SEMPO State of Search Engine Marketing Report have been released and suggest that the industry will grow from $14.6 Billion in 2009 to $16.6 Billion in 2010.  The report, which is based on a global online survey of nearly 1,500 client-side marketers and agency respondents conducted by Econsultancy, estimates that the North American search engine marketing industry will grow 14% this year from $14.6 billion in 2009 to $16.6 billion by the end of 2010.  A total of 1,472 respondents took part in the survey, including 527 advertisers and 944 supply-side respondents carrying out search engine marketing on behalf of clients.

The market has grown by roughly  four times since 2004.

The largest hurdle facing marketers?  The study suggests that measuring the return on investment (ROI) is the biggest challenge facing marketers this year in all three key search tactics covered in the survey -- search engine optimization, paid search, and social media marketing.  Other key findings include:
  • Around half of companies (49%) are reallocating budgets to search engine marketing from print advertising.  
  • More than a third (36%) are shifting money away from direct mail 
  • Almost a quarter are moving budgets from conferences and exhibitions (24%) and web display advertising
  • The rise of social media marketing budgets, although still modest compared to search engine optimization and paid search, represents the biggest opportunity for search marketers this year.
  • More than half of advertisers (56%) and agencies (62%) say that Google keywords have become more expensive over the last year.  
  • About a third of advertisers noted an increase in Yahoo (32%) and Bing (29%) keyword costs.
  •  97% of the responding companies are paying to advertise on Google AdWords.
  •  In comparison, half of responding companies (50%) use Yahoo! Search. This percentage has dropped from 68% in 2009 and 86% in 2008.
  • The proportion of advertisers who say they use Microsoft‟s Bing search engine stands at 44%,
    compared to 54% who said they used Microsoft Live (MSN) search in 2009.
  • Three quarters of respondent companies are using Facebook (74%) and Twitter (73%) to promote their brands or companies.

According to the official press release,
Marc Engelsman, SEMPO Research Committee, said, “While measuring ROI seems to be an obvious reflection of today’s economic environment, it is important to note as it will likely continue to drive budget decisions.  This bodes well for the continued growth of the search industry as evidenced by the projected increased investment in search tactics.”
SEO vs PPC: Where are Advertisers Putting their Dollars?

There were some interesting trends reported from the SEMPO study with regards to SEO vs. paid search.
  • On average, companies expect to spend 43% more on SEO in 2010 than they did in 2009 (44% specifically for North America)
  • More than half of companies (52%) expect to spend more on SEO in 2010 than in 2009, and this
    compares to only 9% who expect to spend less. Some 39% of respondents say they will spend
    about the same.
  • On average, companies expect to spend 37% more on paid search in 2010 than they did in 2009
    (38% for North America).
  • Half of companies (50%) surveyed expect to spend more on paid search in 2010 compared to
  • 16% of respondants say they will spend less on paid search.
It was interesting to note that for SEO, 42% of respondents say ROI measurement is one of their three biggest challenges, while 43% cite this problem for paid search.  So for companies, where is the budget coming from for SEO and paid search increases?

Furthermore,increases in search marketing budget is coming from various marketing and I.T. programs as seen here:

and on the paid side of things, budget is coming from the following areas:
 The 111 page PDF report can be accessed via SEMPO members by clicking here.  Last year's full report can be found here.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, March 25, 2010  
Bing Changes Announced at SES NY
According to WebProNews, Microsoft has announced some new updates to Bing today at SES NY. There's an update to the Bing user interface, which adapts the page and search results based on the intent of the query. "We'll be testing a new user interface that includes new design concepts that move the Quick Tabs functionality to the top of the screen, so customers see a more  visual and organized page," the rep explains. "On the left side of the page, there will be query-specific options to help refine users’ questions and help Bing better understand user intent. This rolling update begins today and will become available to approximately 5% of customers."

A new search experience for autos will also be rolled out (and available to everybody in the coming weeks). It pulls together disconnected content from across the web for what Bing calls a "one-stop-shop."

In addition, there is a new Foursquare map app for Bing Maps, where customers can see Foursquare check-ins, badges, and mayorships in Bing Maps.

When asked about how businesses can monetize the new opportunities presented by Bing, Mehdi said they can provide different kind of ads and find out more about user intent. "Signals of data have helped us understand user intent," Mehdi said.

The flighting of most of the updates begins today and will be rolling out to all customers later this spring and summer.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, March 25, 2010  
25 Must Read SEO Posts of the Week
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Well it is conference season in the Search industry and as a result there are a lot of announcements and blog posts flowing through the online space.  Sure you can spend your time on Twitter trying to follow all of the stories and thoughts of industry folk, or you can hang out here and check out some of our favorite SEO Posts of the week.

These are just some of the items that we thought were worth checking out.  In random order, we present 25 must read SEO posts from the past week or so.
  1. John Battelle On The Future Of Search -Search Engine Land (Post by Enquiro's own Gord Hotchkiss)
  2. SEO for AJAX - Search Engine Journal 
  3. 5 Tools For Monitoring Social Media - ASK Enquiro
  4. SEO 101 – Part 13: Everything You Need to Know About Links, Search Engine Guide
  5. 35 Crucial SEO, Twitter & Social Media Statistics for Business People - www.seoptimise.com
  6. Matt Cutts Interviewed by Eric Enge - http://www.stonetemple.com
  7. 5 Ways to Make Back Links More Powerful - Search Engine Journal
  8. An Illustrated Guide to Matt Cutts' Comments on Crawling & Indexation - SEOmoz
  9. Best Backlinking – Link-Building Strategies 2010 - www.hyperarts.com
  10. Google Analytics Opt-Out: Watching, But Not Worrying - ASK Enquiro 
  11. Taking stock of the SEO mindset  - http://www.huomah.com
  12. 71 Chrome Extensions for Blogging & SEO - SEO.com
  13. 9 Do’s and Don’ts For Building a Social Bookmarking Network - Search Engine Guide
  14. A New SEO Perspective - Distilled blog
  15. Search Engine Penalties: What’s All the Fuss? - ASK Enquiro
  16. SEO 101 - Part 11: Everything You Need to Know About SEO Copywriting - Search Engine Guide
  17. How To Create A Powerful SEO Plan In 10 minutes - Search Engine People
  18. At SXSWi, Twitter may finally have met its match - cnet.com
  19. 71 Technical Factors For Backlink Analysis (From 30 Link Building Experts) – Part 2 - Search Engine Land
  20. W3C Validation for SEO – Myth and Reality, Search Engine Journal
  21. Review of Top Competitive Research Tools, SEO Book
  22. Search Analytics Ideas From SES - Web Pro News 
  23. News Search Optimization from SES NY 2010 - SE Roundtable 
  24. 5 Reasons Social Media Should Be a Part of Your SEO Strategy, KoMarketing Associates
  25. Mobile SEO Tips: The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Search Optimization - Marketing Jive

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Top 10 Search Events of Q1 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Can you believe that we are close to wrapping up the first quarter of 2010?  Where does the time go?  Well we thought that we would revisit some of the top SEO/Search related events from the past quarter.

#10.  Facebook prepares to launch "Zero" for mobile phones - In February, Facebook revealed details of a stripped down text only version of their mobile site which they are calling Facebook Zero.  According to Facebook, more than 100 million people now access Facebook from their phone. 

#9. comScore Releases 2009 US Digital Year in Review - In a report that summarizes 2009 digital marketing trends and implications for 2010, in early February, comScore launched a report stating that 2009 proved to be a critical year in digital marketing as the economic environment brought unprecedented challenges to the industry. After years of strong growth across the digital economy, the recession introduced softness to many digital business sectors.Some key points from the report include:
  •  Six out of seven U.S. Internet users now view online video content in a month, with YouTube and Hulu continuing to experience rapid increase in viewership.  Video optimization is something that we continue to be big fans of.
  •  Social networking continued to gain momentum in 2009 with nearly 4 out of 5 Internet users visiting a social networking site on a monthly basis
  •  The U.S. core search market grew 16 percent in 2009, driven by a 6-percent gain in unique searchers and a 10-percent gain in search queries per searcher.
#8.  SMX West 2010 - maybe it is just me, but coverage on SMX West 2010 seemed a little skimpy this year.  Virginia Nussey of Bruce Clay did have a nice post on 3 takeaways from SMX West 2010 that you can check out here.

#7.  SEMPO Releases Results for Annual Search State of the Union survey - details will be out later this week as to the results from the annual SEMPO.  Expect an update on the rising popularity of social media and the impact it has had on search engine marketing.   SEMPO mentioned that they have had a record number of respondents, as well as a record number of countries participating in the survey.

#6.  SES NY 2010 - I attended this show last year and though that it was actually pretty decent.  Taking place from March 22 to the 26th, SES NY again featured some great keynote speakers including:
  • David Meerman Scott - Author, World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas.
  • Avinash Kaushik - Author, Blogger, Analytics Evangelist, Google
  • Yusuf Mehdi - Senior Vice President of the Online Audience Business, Bing
This is a great show, but really they should have better price points as conference attendance might improve as a result.  This year, they offered something new in terms of Advertiser and Agency passes with prices starting at $10K for 10 passes.   http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/newyork/

#5.  Yahoo Celebrates its 15th Birthday - could this be its last?  Although started in 1994, Yahoo was incorporated on March 1, 1995.  They posted a Yahoo timeline on flickr to celebrate. 

#4.  Google Crawling AJAX - in late January, Vanessa Fox shared a great piece on the fact that Google is continuing to crawl AJAX, sharing some Google advice on using AJAX.
  • Google Webmaster Central Blog: A Spider’s View of Web 2.0
  • Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel: Crawling and Indexing
  • Google Webmaster Central Help Center: AJAX
As to whether or not you should start implementing Google's AJAX proposal whereby an AJAX-generated URL that contains a hash mark (#) would also be replaced with a URL that uses #! in place of #, Fox states:
Should you start implementing? Depends. If you’re able to implement another method for search-friendly AJAX, I’d suggest going that route, since it will make your site available for a wider audience, including those on screen readers, mobile devices, and who use search engines other than Google. If you just aren’t able to implement another method and it’s either this method or nothing, well, then it’s better than nothing. Should you start now? Google doesn’t seem to have everything polished, but there is evidence that they’ve begun crawling these URLs. It seems inevitable that Google will support this implementation, so if you’re planning to use this method, you may as well get started.
#3.  Google Releases Their SEO Report Card - confirming many SEO best practices, Google released their SEO report card.  Intended to  provide Google's product teams with ideas on how they can improve their products' pages using simple and accepted optimizations.  Simple practices such as fixing 404s and broken links, simplifying URL choice, and providing easier-to-understand titles and snippets for their pages to benefit both users and search engines.  The SEO report card can be viewed here.  More information on Google's SEO report card can be found at:

#2.  Facebook Surpasses Google in Traffic - in early March, Facebook surpassed Google in terms of visitor traffic.  According to Hitwise data, for the week ending March 13, visits to Facebook.com accounted for 7.07 percent of all Internet traffic in the United States compared to Google's 7.03 percent.  A sign of things to come?

#1.  Google Leaves China - lots of Google vs China news leading up to this decision, but on March 22, 2010, Google announced its departure from China.  While Google will retain their office in China, the company decided to redirect Google.CN to Google.com.HK.  Google Hong Kong offers simplified Chinese results with one major exception, the results are uncensored. Google's announcement, included the following:
 earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk. Due to the increased load on our Hong Kong servers and the complicated nature of these changes, users may see some slowdown in service or find some products temporarily inaccessible as we switch everything over.

Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement.
 Google was also quick to add that "these decisions have been driven and implemented by our executives in the United States, and that none of our employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them."

Of course there were numerous other events that transpired in Q1, but these were a couple that we had on our radar.


posted by Jody @ Monday, March 22, 2010  
Mobile SEO Tips: The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Search Optimization
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Continuing with our mobile search theme this week, we wanted to share some mobile SEO tips that marketers can leverage to help enhance their presence with mobile search.  Why focus on mobile?  Well this stat tells it all, a recent study from the International Telecommunication Union suggests that by the end of 2010, the number of mobile phone users on the planet will increase from about 4.6 billion to 5 billion.  As a result you can expect consumers to begin to feel more at ease with mobile shopping.  If anything else people are already using their mobile phones to find timely information whether it is an address, flight information or a restaurant menu.

According to a study from Retrevo, 55% of people aged 18-24 have used a mobile phone to assist in the shopping process.  People, especially digital natives are comfortable in using their mobile phones to surf and to purchase. An eMarketer report from March 2008 suggests that spending on mobile advertising will reach about $19 billion in 2012 with the US market forecasted to reach $6.5 billion during this same time.

Here are some tips to consider when optimizing for mobile search.

Mobile SEO Tips
  1. You need a Mobile Friendly Site - Ensure that you have a Mobile friendly site
    • this may mean creating a mobile version of your site
    • this may mean creating a mobile microsite
    • ensure that you can replicate all of the important functionality that you see on your regular website
    • keep the design simple and clean
    • Use valid XHTML 1.0 code
    • test to ensure that the site will render appropriately across various mobile devices
    • if you are a more robust e-commerce site, consider creating an m-commerce site (mobile site) with
      • mobile galleries
      • product catalogs and shopping basket
      • billing management
      • ease of use/login
    • for smaller businesses, ensure that you set up a mobile site with basic features that include:
      • text, graphics and video
      • click to call
      • custom forms
      • device detection and optimized rendering
      • customized design with branded elements to match your existing web site to help deliver a successful user experience for different mobile users
  2. Own Your Mobile Domain - when designing a mobile site or even if you just want have your mobile domain available for future scalability, try to own your mobile domain.  Consider getting a dotmobi domain.  A .mobi domain is a top level domain approved by ICANN that is restricted for mobile devices and sites.  Visit http://www.dotmobi.org/ for additional details.
  3. Follow Website Accessibility Guidelines - pay attention to W3C guidelines and standards which can be found here.  While a separate, mobile version of the website is not required, if you are creating a mobile site, you want to ensure that the layout is easy to use and view on mobile devices.
  4. Avoid Complex Navigation - this is true for website or mobile optimization.  Keep it simple, you know what it is like navigating a site from your smart phone.  If you are using your phone to find information, you are most likely looking for this information in a hurry.  Make it easy for users to find what they are looking for.
  5. Leverage SEO Best Practices - keyword association is important with any Search activity, whether it is online or mobile.  As a result the need for optimized pages is important if you want to be found by your desired audience.  As part of your mobile SEO efforts, ensure that:
    • Page Titles are optimized with relevant keywords being used by your mobile audience
    • Landing pages are optimized with relevant keywords being used by your mobile audience
  6. Keep on Top of Mobile Technologies -  the technology continues to improve and get better.  Avoid using intensive presentation methods such as Flash and Ajax.  Again keep the design simple.  While we expect technologies to improve, you want to ensure that your mobile site will load fast and provide an output that is useful to the user. Understand all of the options that you have available when implementing and optimizing a mobile strategy.  Stay informed.
  7. Leverage Sponsored Search for Mobile to support SEO - Google Mobile, Yahoo Mobile and Mobile Advertising through Microsoft to promote your brand via mobile ads.  Using Google Mobile as an example, Sponsored search results on Google Mobile work on a pay per click as well as a pay per call basis. Every ad contains a headline and a description with a maximum of 18 characters each. The third line contains the site URL or a telephone number or both. Advertisers can therefore choose to connect to customers via whichever medium - phone or website. In addition, when using mobile advertising with Google, you can:
    • leverage keyword targeting to target specific searches on mobile phones
    • leverage contextual targeting and reach readers of mobile web pages reading about a given topic
    • leverage carrier targeting to target specific carriers
    • target ads based on compatible devices
  8. Consider Multilingual mobile site optimization - this one is fairly obvious
  9. Submit to Mobile Search Engines - this can be done by accessing resources such as this.
  10. Optimize for Local Search - ensuring that your site is well optimized for local search, will mean that people should be able to find you when they are looking for local resources.  Update your profile and include links to your mobile site (if you have one) and make it easy for users to find your business and more importantly "reach out and touch your business".  It is not just about the Yellow Pages anymore.

Notable Mobile Search Engines
  • Google XHTML Mobile Search from Google Mobile
  • Bing for Mobile from Bing Mobile
  • Yahoo! Mobile
  • MSN Mobile Search
  • AOL Mobile Search
  • Technorati Mobile
Mobile Website Design Resources

  • Mobile Awesomeness - http://www.mobileawesomeness.com/
  • MobiSite Galore - http://www.mobisitegalore.com
  • Accuracast - http://mobile.accuracast.com/
Additional Resources
  • MobiForge - A Beginner's Guide to Mobile Web Development  -
  • A Guide to Mobile Web Design Tips & Tricks - http://mashable.com/2009/11/26/mobile-web-design/
  • Mobile Website Articles - http://www.mobilewebsitedesigner.com/articles/
  • Mobile Web Development - Mobile Design and Development - http://oreilly.com/iphone/excerpts/iphone-mobile-design-development/mobile-web-development.html

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, March 17, 2010  
Google Nexus One Phone Now Available in Canada
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
It has finally been announced that Google's Nexus One phone is now available in Canada.  Starting today, an additional version of the Nexus One is available from the Google web store that is compatible with AT&T’s 3G network. This new model can be purchased as an unlocked device without a service plan. In addition to AT&T’s 3G network, this device will also run on Rogers Wireless in Canada. According to Google:

Two versions of the device are currently offered. Both versions support four GSM radio frequencies (850/900/1800/1900), but the supported 3G/UMTS bands will differ depending on the version selected. When ordering, you'll be able to select either of the following devices:
  • 3G coverage on networks that use the 850 MHz, 1900 MHz, and 2100 MHz frequency bands (recommended for use on AT&T in the US and Rogers Wireless in Canada)
  • 3G coverage on networks that use the 900 MHz, AWS, and 2100 MHz frequency bands (recommended for use on T-Mobile in the US)
In addition, the Nexus One will deliver 2G/EDGE speeds on these networks and also supports WiFi.
These cover most major GSM mobile providers worldwide; however, if you're unsure of the bands supported by your mobile service provider, please contact your provider directly prior to purchase.

The Google Nexus One phone can be purchased here.  According to cbc.ca:
In a blog post, Google explained that Canadians can choose from two versions of the Nexus One, each of which work on different 3G cellular frequencies. The version introduced in the United States in January works on T-Mobile's U.S. network. The new version introduced on Tuesday works on AT&T's network in the United States and on Rogers in Canada.
A spokesperson for Google Canada added that the Nexus One had been successfully tested on the Rogers and Wind Mobile networks, which use the same respective frequencies as AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States. She declined to say whether it would work on the new network recently rolled out by Bell and Telus, and could not say why the company chose to make two separate phones rather than one that works on both types of 3G frequencies.
"It's an ongoing project to extend the availability around the world," the spokesperson said. "We'll continue to launch more phones that work on different networks and providers."
Google's (GOOG) share price was up slightly to finish the day at $565.20.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, March 16, 2010  
Mobile Search & Mobile Advertising: The Next Dot Com Bubble?
This is a topic that we haven't touched on in a while.  Mobile Search and Mobile Advertising is nothing new.  For some reason North America has been slow to adopt mobile as compared to other areas of the world.  I am going to state the obvious here, Mobile is big and it is not and will not be going away.  With the advent of Smart Phones (iPhone, Google Android anyone?) people are more wired than every before... and where the masses are so to are advertisers and marketers.

I had an interesting conversation with Manoj Jasra of Web Analytics World the other day as he came over to my place for a quick visit.  Manoj and I both agreed that Mobile is where it is at, and that Mobile is just now starting to get the attention that it deserves.  There are huge opportunities with Mobile and not just with Apps, but with advertising and the ability to find information real-time via a mobile device.

Chris Crum over at Web Pro News had a great piece on mobile search the other day that we would like to reproduce pretty much in its entirety here.
Original Post:

Critical: Improve Your Mobile Search and Advertising Strategy
Don't Let Your Search Strategy Get Left Behind By the Mobile World

A Google exec recently said, "In three years' time, desktops will be irrelevant." That's debatable, but there's no question that mobile use will have grown much more than it already has. Based on comments in a recent keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn't seem to think PC use is going to drop too much, but he did say, "Mobile queries are just going to keep going up and up and up."

 A study released last month found that the number of mobile phone subscribers is on track to increase from 4.6 billion to 5 billion globally by the end of 2010. Another study found that consumers are getting more comfortable with mobile shopping.

Mobile Search

Google has dominated the search market for a long time, and while this still continues to be the case, it's important to note that search in general changes with mobile. People are searching in different ways than just using their favorite search engines. They're using different apps. They're using their voices. They're scanning barcodes for instant access to product information. The number of ways people are finding information with their phones is only going to keep increasing. On mobile, it's not just about Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

That's not to say these three aren't still incredibly important to mobile. In fact, the search share among these top search engines may even become more greatly divided as time goes on. We're seeing different mobile carriers and manufacturers making deals with these companies, which affect the default search options for various devices. As we discussed before, mobile search engine use may be largely dictated by device popularity, which is (in my opinion) one of the biggest things Bing will have going in its favor in terms of market share - Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 phones will come with Bing hardware keys, meaning the most convenient way to search on these devices will likely be to hit a single button taking the user to Bing. If these devices become popular, it could be huge for Microsoft in search.

 As far as Google indexing and mobile sites goes, Google's Matt Cutts says, "If you can find a way where your existing site will work well in mobile browsers, we're not worrying about supporting two completely different sites."

To learn about this subject in more detail, read the Google Webmaster Central Blog posts: Help Google Index Your Mobile Site, and Running Desktop and Mobile Versions of Your Site.

 The article went on to discuss mobile search advertising and creating separate mobile-focused campaigns to help optimize keywords and ad text for people using mobile devices.

One of the most important things any search marketer can do with regards to a mobile strategy, is to simply keep up with the latest mobile trends and innovations. This space is rapidly evolving, and new apps are released frequently. Pay attention to hot apps, and how your target audience is engaging with them. What devices, operating systems, and browsers are hot? Monitor studies and surveys that delve into demographics. Try to stay ahead of the curve.

Mobile Search and mobile advertising are in fact being leveraged by many businesses.  The question is, is your business leveraging mobile?


posted by Jody @ Tuesday, March 16, 2010  
SEO Tools: Some Great Resources
Sunday, March 14, 2010
There are a number of resources out there with regards to SEO tools out there.  In fact, there are so many SEO tools out there, that it gets difficult to evaluate them all.  From link analysis and link building resources to competitive research tools, there are numerous SEO tools out there that can be used as part of your arsenal.  The fact is that there are many free tools that one can leverage as part of their SEO efforts.

As a result, we wanted to compile a list of seven great resources on SEO tools that you might want to evaluate and learn more about.  There are more than this of course, and their are some popular SEO resources that are clearly absent from this list.  We wanted to provide a list of some of the resources that you may not be aware about.  Think that we have missed a resource?  Leave a comment and let us know about it. 

7 Great Resources for SEO Tools
  1. SEOforums.org - http://seoforums.org/seo-tools/ - a nice repository of free SEO tools  ranging from a wide spectrum of SEO topics including: link analysis, keyword research, rank checkers, meta data tools, social media tools and more.

  2. Online SEO Tools – the Ultimate Collection - Search Engine Journal.  This is a great resource for the simple fact that the tools mentioned in this list are all free.  This is a nice compilation with a diverse list of tools across a number of different SEO areas.

  3. SEOBook - http://tools.seobook.com/ - One of the most popular and well used resources for SEO tools comes from SEOBook.  We found a number of the tools useful, but not spectacular, hence the placement of this resource.  From keyword research to link analysis, SEOBook features some of the typical tools that many novice online marketers leverage as they build their knowledge base.

  4. SEO Company - http://www.seocompany.ca/tool/seo-tools.html - has an extensive list of 136 SEO tools ranging from code validators to Google ranking tools.  The depth of this list was good enough to earn a bronze medal on our list of top SEO Tool resources.

  5. Search Engine Genie - http://www.searchenginegenie.com/seo-tools.htm - this one made our list due to the number of unique tools featured on the list.  There are tools such as a Twitter button generator, a Bing ranking checker, comparison tools and more.

  6. SEO Tool Land - http://www.seotoolland.com/ - we liked this one as this resource include video tools, HTML analysis tools, as well as various SEO tips and tricks.

  7. SEO Tools.com - http://www.seotools.com/ - not a very extensive list, but we liked their cloaking checker tool that can be accessed here.  Brought to you by Bruce Clay a well trusted agency in the search industry.  Bruce Clay also offers a Toolset that features some additional SEO tools http://www.seotoolset.com/tools/free_tools.html
We will post a list of some of our favorite tools that we use regularly in an upcoming post.  Have you created an SEO tool and want to share it with others?  Drop us a line and we will evaluate it and see if it makes our list.


posted by Jody @ Sunday, March 14, 2010  
Which Attribution Solution Is The Right Fit For You? - ClearSaleing Webinar
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
One of the marketing buzzwords that we identified in our annual list for 2010 was attribution.  This buzz about attribution is definitely holding true as there continues to be a ton of discussion around this somewhat complicated topic.  I was live blogging a webinar presented by ClearSaleing entitled "Which Attribution Solution Is The Right Fit For You? ".  The webinar was moderated by Mike Grehan from Incisive Media and featured the following presenters:
  • Adam Goldberg - Co-founder and CIO of ClearSaleing
  • Dustin Engel - VP Strategy & Business Development

Adam started out by defining two types of attribution:

  1. Operational Attribution - attribution applied everyday.  It consists of cross-media tracking, daily analytical insights and daily optimization (manual or automated).  He went on to discuss advertising with a purpose by leveraging incremental reach and brand attachment through to influence by differentiation and personalization and closing with the conversion.
  2. Project Based Attribution - data aggregation from disparate systems, monthly,seasonal and quarterly insights, budget allocation for the upcoming season/quarter.  It's about planning for upcoming time and the time ahead.
Dustin Engel then mentioned how attribution needs to be layered into analytics and used display ad servers as an example.  The pros being the low level of implementation with cons being limited channel visibility and limited insight into organic channels.  From there he discussed how analytics factors in with strong digital coverage and the ability to data mine against site traffic and CRM data.   While heavy implementation may be required, the audience for this is really those who are existing site analytics users and those who have a limited desire to understand post-impression data.

In terms of advertising analytics there can be a high level of accuracy due to consistent tracking methodology.  In addition you have the ability to manage large volumes of data from internal and external systems. 

With regards to business intelligence, those who are confident in lift metrics will receive the most benefit.  You will have the ability to pull in and interpret data from disparate sources with the ability to manage large volumes of data.

Adam added that you should be focusing on both operation and project based attribution.  There is a lot of data that is required to ensure that attribution is be effectively tracked.  He mentioned Forrester's 2009 Wave report that highlights some attribution vendors.  The report selected vendors for a 44-criteria evaluation to determine the leaders in the attribution management field. The vendors were selected based on product fit, customer success and Forrester client demand. The evaluation process lasted several weeks as Forrester worked with each vendor to get a true understanding of the attribution offering, strategy and market presence.  Report can be downloaded here.

The Q&A portion was interesting as someone asked what lift metrics mean?  Dustin stated that this is really where you are looking for high level lift when you run a certain campaign.  It sounded as though this was tied mainly to brand lift.  They then touched on the rebirth of display and banner blindness.

Overall, I was disappointed with the webinar based on the information presented.  It was a little too "salesy" for my liking.  There were however some great questions in the Q&A and one potential resource that was mentioned was the sister site of ClearSaleing: http://www.attributionmanagement.com/.  For those looking at more on attribution, this might be an interesting resource to check out.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, March 10, 2010  
B2B Content Development: Auditing Your Existing Content
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Last week, we discussed the steps required to establish a content development strategy for your web properties.  The first step of the planning is really evaluating your existing content and determining how effective your content is in terms of speaking to your desired audience.  Content really does form the foundation of your website.  Failure to provide informative and useful content may mean that site visitors leave never to return again.  Even worse they leave to go to a competitor's site.   Hence the reason for on-going peer review or audits of your site's content.

Content Mapping

So where should you begin as you audit your website's content?  Well the first thing you need to do is take inventory of the content on your site.  Break it down into silos or categories if needed so that you can determine the most engaging areas of your site vs. other areas that may require improvements.  For B2B sites, this might mean segmenting your content audit into areas such as:
  • product/services
  • tech specs
  • white papers
  • testimonials
  • user reviews
  • video / rich media
Basically, you need to take inventory of all of the content that you have and evaluate how well your visitors are engaging with it.  Map your content out to determine how many areas you actually feature on your website.  Do these areas feature enough content with regards to the topic area?  Should you be continuing to add content to these areas?  Is this content unique and differentiated from that of your competition?  Most importantly you need to determine if your messaging is speaking the language of your targeted audience.

Speaking the Language of Your Audience

From my experience, I have worked with many B2B clients who have very niche service/product offerings and part of the problem is that they do not understand the proper messaging that they should be serving up to their audience.  As a result they use all of this industry mumbo-jumbo that more often than not involves messaging that their desired audience is not in fact using.  They fail to effectively reach their audience and have an increased risk of being part of the consideration set.  Enquiro's BuyerSphere project, talks more about this risk at great length as the project examines how businesses buy from businesses.  The point is, that failing to use the language of your target audience can be the difference as to why visitors stay on your site, why they come back to your site and whether or not they end up converting based on their site experience.

Timing of Content Population

As part of your content audit, you will also want to evaluate the age of your content.  How much legacy content do you have that may possibly be a little dated?  How often is fresh new content being added to your site?  Is your content optimized well enough so that it is featured within the search results of major search engines? 

If you have a lot of old content, you might want to consider updating the content?  Is your FAQ section the same as it was five years ago?  Have you updated product descriptions or testimonials?  Your content audit should determine whether or not you need add or update content more frequently.  From an SEO point of view, with real-time search, you will want to ensure that your content features a nice balance of archived, relevant content as well as fresh and timely new content that becomes indexed by the search engines.

The fact of the matter is, you should be reviewing your content as part of a regular content process.  Perhaps this means every six months or annually.  For other sites that are more dynamic, this might be even more frequent or prior to every major site update or redesign.  Think about how often your online content is reviewed and/or changed.  For e-commerce sites this is almost weekly with items such flyers, coupons, mail outs, inserts and in-store promos.  Why should your online content be any different.  There is a shift to digital, yet there is still some merit with some of the old practices that marketers use.

Establishing a content development strategy is key to online success.  Your content, whether it is your website content, Facebook updates or your Twitter posts is how you engage with your audience.  How you populate this content, when you populate this content and where this content is found is not only up to you, but up to your audience and potential customers as well.  As the first step of developing an effective content strategy, auditing your content will help ensure that you are providing the right information/content at the right time to hopefully the right audience. 


posted by Jody @ Sunday, March 07, 2010  
User Generated Content: Google to Crack Down on Spammy UGC
Friday, March 05, 2010
User Generated Content (UGC) can provide great value for your web properties.  In fact, Bazaarvoice reported that 80% of consumers are now seeking user generated content and reviews to guide purchase decisions.  (For the record, Bazaarvoice recently served up its 100 billionth piece of UGC).  However with the good comes the bad and user generated content can be easily exploited if not monitored.

If you are a large e-commerce site, or any site for that matter, that features substantial pieces of user generated content, you will want to take note that Google will be again looking to crack down on spammy user generated content to help clean up the Web. Google is also looking to clean up the Web from sites that have had their content hacked as there continues to be an increase in hacks from things such as Wordpress plugins and the like.  Sites are being hacked like never before, so this is welcomed news from Google.

Announced earlier this week, Google will continue to use Google Webmaster Tools to notify Webmasters of additional issues that Google has detected on their sites.  These issue include:
  • Spammy or abused user-generated content
  • Abused forum pages or egregious amounts of comment spam
  • Suspected hacking
 According to Google,
These notifications are meant to alert webmasters of potential issues and provide next steps on how to get their sites fixed and back into Google's search results. If it pertains to a hacking or abuse issue, the notification will point to example URLs exhibiting this type of behavior. These notifications will run in parallel with our existing malware notifications.
Fighting spam and hacked sites is a large task that Google cannot tackle alone.  The fact that Google is taking steps to address these issues will help, but at the end of the day, Webmasters need to be responsible for their Web properties.  Again not always an easy thing to stay on top of. 

We have noticed an increase in what appears to be spammy user generated content on large e-commerce sites.  From a user's perspective this makes it difficult to trust these sites knowing that due to fake profiles or "phony reviews", our search for information is being tainted.  As Google illustrates, there are those people who create user accounts and will create accounts and "fill their profiles with gibberish, blatherskite and palaver. Even worse, they'll add a sneaky link, a bit of redirecting JavaScript code, or a big fake embedded video that takes your users off to the seediest corners of the web."  These spam profiles have caused issues with comments, communities and user generated content on numerous web site out there.  Quite honestly, Google said it best when they stated the fact that the social web is growing incredibly quickly and spammers look at every kind of user content on the web as an opportunity for traffic.

 Tips for Safely Leveraging User Generated Content / Hacked Content
  1. Understand your CMS - CMS systems are great because they make it easy to deploy content to your site, but auto-generated pages can be abused if you're not aware.  Ensure that you are aware of the possibilities of auto-generated content being populated on your site.

  2. Be Aware - know what to look for.  Watch out for suspect behavior such as multiple user accounts being created from the same IP address, insertion of questionable links in comments or reviews etc.

  3. Employ standard security features on your web properties - use things such as CAPTCHA to help crackdown on spam commentary.

  4. Establish Rules for Publishing User Generated Content - make it clear that users may not upload infringing content to your web properties.  Work to follow the fundamental principles of user generated content services.  For more information visit: http://www.ugcprinciples.com/

  5. Leverage Monitoring Tool - tools such as Google Alerts can be set up to help monitor questionable activity on your web properties.

  6. Consider placing nofollow on comment links or on questionable user profile pages.
  7. Allow users to report spam - empower your users to help control spam commentary and phony reviews.

  8. Perform Spot Checks - do periodic checks on your reviews, comments and areas where user generated content is found on your site.  
There is no question as to the value of user generated content.  However, it really should be monitored to ensure that spam commentary is not dominating the conversation.


posted by Jody @ Friday, March 05, 2010  
SMX: The State of Search
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Matt McGee over at Search Engine Land had a great piece as he live blogged from SMX West on today's keynote SMX West 2010 Keynote – The State Of The Search Union.  The panel featured some industry heavyweights including:
  • Vanessa Fox, former Google Webmaster Tools guru and now contributing editor, Search Engine Land
  • Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist, Google Inc.
  • David Roth, Director of Search Engine Marketing, Yahoo! Inc. 
Chris Sherman who was moderating the panel started off and asked the question: Does search still have a bright future?  I loved the response from David Roth:
One of the interesting things about the economy as it relates to search marketing was it gave us a chance to show off our stuff. As a marketer, we were able to show results. There’s been a shift back to SEO, and not just focusing on the paid side.

Check out Matt's full review of the session here.


posted by Jody @ Thursday, March 04, 2010  
Planning a Content Development Strategy
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Yes we know that content is king when it comes to SEO and online marketing.  Your content forms the core of your website. It is the major key in supporting your business objectives and in serving your customers online. Think about it, your website can be your greatest online marketing tool that you have that you can use to speak to your desired audience.  The messaging and type of content that your serve your audience can be the difference as to why users come back to your site or visit your competitor's site.

To be successful in the hyper-competitive arena that is the Internet, you need to provide useful, fresh and informative content.  Content development is challenging - you are asking people and businesses to act as publishers – which more than likely they are not. Content production is also time-consuming. Therefore, the need to plan a content development strategy is a key element of any online marketing campaign.  In the past, we have shared tips on writing content for the Web, but before you begin creating your content, you really need to establish a plan for content development as part of your content development strategy.

Planning is necessary in order to create a successful content development strategy. An effective content creation strategy can help unify your business’ approach to content development in a way that unites all your various stakeholders while factoring in the most important element, your audience.

How to Plan a Content Development Strategy
  1. Begin with an Audit - of your existing content.  Map out your web properties and the various sections of your website to see what you have to work with.  Use your analytics to determine which areas of the site users actively engage with the most. By knowing what content you have, a budget for your content project will be easier to scope out. 

  2. Perform Additional Analysis -  based specifically on the audit that you will have completed, further analysis allows you to consider all factors that will impact the creation, delivery, and governance of your content.

  3. Conduct Usability Research - find out what the users like and dislike about your existing content.  Try things such as A/B testing variation of certain pages.  Gain an understanding as to the type of content that will help get your messaging across and will keep visitors coming back to your site.  Make it easy for visitors to find your content, both in the search engines and on your actual web properties.  Working on controlling the bounce rates of your site pages with effective content creation.

  4. Evaluate Content Types - examine the best options for presenting your content to your audience.  Determine when it is best to present a certain type of content over another.  See below for examples of various content types.

  5.  Benchmark - Examine what your competitor's are doing on their sites... not so you can duplicate what your competitors are doing but to differentiate your content from theirs and to further enhance the experience of your site visitors.

  6. Map Out your Content Goals - at the end of the day what are you trying to get users to do when they arrive on your site?  Are you looking to inform them and have them subscribe to your content, or do you have a specific conversion trigger that you want to drive them towards.  Regardless, mapping out your goals can help clearly define your content development strategy.

  7. Think About SEO - ultimately content is for your users, but if the users cannot find your content, what's the purpose of having it on your website?  Optimize content for both the user and for Search.  Create content that other sites will want to link to, create content that is optimized with relevant title tags, page headings etc.  Be sure that you have the necessary keyword research processes in place to ensure that your content will be well optimized when launched to the world.
Examples of Various Types of Content

Here is a look at some of the different types of content that you can leverage on your web properties.
  1. Traditional Web Page - simply put, this is an HTML web page of content
  2. Articles
  3. Video/Webcasts
  4. News Releases
  5. Lists
  6. User Generated Content
  7. Images/Visuals
  8. Blog Posts
  9. PDFs
  10. Reviews / Forums
The need for a content development strategy cannot be emphasized enough.  Content is your life blood in the online space.  Establishing an effective content development strategy and method for implementing content throughout your web properties will help tie together online and offline marketing efforts, will help with search engine optimization and will help keep qualified traffic coming back to your site.


      posted by Jody @ Wednesday, March 03, 2010  
      Blended Search Cheat Sheet
      This week, we are beginning our series of posts featuring some of the cheat sheets that we have created.  The purpose of these cheat sheets is to act as a quick reference guide to various SEO and online marketing topics.

      Our blended search cheat sheet was created to provide a high level overview of blended search and the different types of blended results that you should be optimizing for.  More about optimizing for blended search.

      Blended Search Cheat Sheet

      Download our blended search cheat sheet.


      posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Wednesday, March 03, 2010  
      Google's SEO Report Card
      Tuesday, March 02, 2010
      Here's something that caught our eye, Google's SEO report card. According to Google, this SEO report card was created as:

      an effort to provide Google's product teams with ideas on how they can improve their products' pages using simple and accepted optimizations. These optimizations are intended to not only help search engines understand the content of our pages better, but also to improve our users' experience when visiting our sites. Simple steps such as fixing 404s and broken links, simplifying URL choice, and providing easier-to-understand titles and snippets for our pages can benefit both users and search engines. From the start of the project we also wanted to release the report card publicly so other companies and webmasters could learn from the report, which is filled with dozens of examples taken straight from our products' pages.

      Check out the report card here.


      posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Tuesday, March 02, 2010  
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