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Google Logos: Google Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Flintstones
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Google has had some great logos over time, but I must say today's logo depicting the Flintstones 50th anniversary is my alltime favorite.  If you have not yet seen it, here it is.



We celebrated Google's tenth anniversary two years ago with our list of the top 30 Google logos.  This Flintstones logo should now top the list.


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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 30, 2010   0 comments
Google Instant & Organic Keyword Research
Monday, September 27, 2010
So now that the dust has settled and Google Instant has changed the way we search (I'm kidding), how have you been impacted by Google Instant? 
  • Traffic down?
  • Long-tail not converting?
  • Branded searches up?
Well chances are the impact on your site has been minimal.  That is providing that you have a clean site that is easily crawled by the search engines and that the content that you are serving up to your visitors is useful and informative.

That's not to say that Google Instant will not have an impact on how people find your site in Google.  While I personally find Google Instant a tad distracting, it has made me change my search habits albeit slightly.  I consider myself a pretty savvy searcher, after all I work in the Search industry, so chances are if I have changed my search habits perhaps the typical Google searcher will have as well.  I should mention that for the most part I have Google Instant turned off.

So what does this mean for SEO and keyword research efforts?  Here are a couple of areas of impact that I think Google Instant has had and will continue to have, specific to Google search results.

The prime organic real estate within Google's organic search results has become even more important.  Being in the top three in Google is ever so important now (not that it wasn't in the past).

Blended Search or Universal Search has again become even more important.  Items such as videos, news releases, images, local search results will now attract eyeballs more than ever.  As you type your search query into Google, you can expect to see various universal search results populate your results.  Chances are people may be more inclined to click these items.  Was this part of the mandate with Google Instant?  To get users to engage more with Universal results?  Your guess is as good as mine, but

Page titles and page descriptions (read: title tags and meta descriptions) are extremely important and probably more important than ever.  Google still bolds related keywords in their results, so having optimized page titles and descriptions is a must.

What is the Impact of Google Instant on Organic Keyword Research?

I'm glad that you asked.  The impact of Google Instant on organic keyword research is actually a positive one.  Here are five areas where Google Instant will have an impact on organic keyword research.
  1. Keyword Education - If anything Google Instant will force users to pay more attention to the search suggest functionality.  However, just out of curiosity, I wonder how many people look at the keys as they type as opposed to looking at the search suggestions or search bar?  Regardless, people will be taking note of the search suggestions that appear.  For site owners and marketers this means leveraging this as a keyword research tool.  For searchers, this means being educated on related topics as they search.  It is really a win-win for everyone.
  2. Slight Shift in Keyword Strategy - where it once made sense to optimize for head, torso and long-tail, the focus might shift to an in-between aka torso strategy where the phrases being optimized are not too general in nature but are not necessarily five or six word long phrases either.  I still believe that long-tail is important even after Google's MayDay update.  Head phrases will always drive a lot of traffic, but the trick is to find the sweet spot.  At the end of the day, you need to provide content that your audience is seeking.  Incorporating proper keywords does not change, you just have to get smarter with your keyword selection and optimization efforts.  Optimize for your user first and the search engines second.
  3. Page Titles must, must, must be Optimized - once your conduct your keyword research, you need to focus on proper keyword placement within the title tags of our site's pages.  Important and relevant keywords should appear near the beginning of your titles.  Your page titles should be reflective of the page copy and where possible leverage secondary key phrases to support your primary phrase.  Finally, ensure that each and every page that you optimize has a unique and compelling title.
  4. Page Descriptions Need to be Well Optimized - your meta description needs to be optimized and not just optimized, but well optimized.  Keyword placement within your page description is important, but do not get carried away.  Avoid diluting your descriptions with too many key phrases.  Remember, meta data is simply data about data and the engines do use this in part to determine the topic of a given page.  Try not to confuse them.  Place relevant keywords near the beginning of you description and try to make every description somewhat unique.  Remember that typically the engines will display around 170 characters, but Google in fact will index upwards of around 1,100 characters from the meta description.
  5. Integrate Paid and Organic Keyword Strategies - is your left hand working with your right hand?  If you have not yet started doing this, ensure that your paid and organic keyword baskets compliment each other and work together.  Google Instant means that if you’re not in the top three, you may have to leverage paid initiatives to gain the visibility that you once had, even if you are found on the first page of results.  Frankly, I find it annoying that Google may indirectly be forcing the need to rely on paid tactics when users still click on an organic results 60-70+% of the time.  Relevancy of results can suffer as the outcome.  While your organic keyword list may be a variation of your paid keywords, it is important to cross reference both.
As you can see Google Instant does not necessarily have a profound impact on your organic keyword research efforts.  Google Instant simply heightens the importance of good old fashioned keyword research and the need to really pay attention to exactly what it is that your audience is looking for.  Providing informative keyword rich (but not spammed) content will continue to drive qualified traffic to your site, which in turn should help acquire and generate the leads that you are so tirelessly working for.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, September 27, 2010   0 comments
Old Google Keyword Tool is Gone!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Looks like Google has finally removed the old Google Adwords keyword tool as they mentioned last month.

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posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Friday, September 24, 2010   0 comments
Top 5 SEO Lists of the Week - Week of September 20th
In case you missed last week's list, check out our top five SEO lists of the week - for September 13th.    We have some great resources again this week and our very own Marketing Jive appears on the list this week as well.

Here is a look at out top five SEO lists of the week.

#5. Master your per-page keyphrase strategy in 6 easy steps - Successworks.  Lots of keyword research related posts this week, which is a good thing.  As long as people are using search engines, keyword research will be a key strategy that you can use to leverage to intercept your audience.  Not a lot of new tips discussed here, but good reminders none-the-less.  http://www.seocopywriting.com/content-marketing/master-your-per-page-keyphrase-strategy-in-6-easy-steps/

#4.  6 Ways to Ensure Better Rankings in Google Instant - Marci Rosenblum had a nice little post over at Search Engine Journal on some tactics that you can employ to ensure that you remained found in Google Instant search results (which by the way, we are hearing that a number of searchers are not too happy with).  Our favorite tip from Marci's post?  Her suggestion to include Google Suggest as a keyword research tool is a good one.  Check out the other five tips over at search engine journal.  http://www.searchenginejournal.com/6-ways-to-ensure-better-rankings-in-google-instant/24213/

#3. 22 Social Media Marketing Management Tools - Top Rank's Online Marketing Blog.  Lee Odden came up with a pretty detailed list of 22 different social media marketing management tools, platforms and services to help manage and scale your online marketing efforts on the social web.  What I liked about this composition is that there were a number of resources that I was not familar with.  From cloud-based environments to Enterprise social media management systems, Lee has provided a pretty in-depth list of social media tools that chances are you may not have heard of either.  http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/09/22-social-media-marketing-management-tools/.

#2.  The SEO’s Handbook – 53 Resources For First Time SEOs - Our old friend Neil Patel had a great post about 53 resources for first time SEO's.  For any who know Neil, you know that he is a pretty bright guy who, dare we say, has leveraged white, grey and possibly even some black-hat SEO tactics in the past.  Regardless, he has been pretty successful and he provides a pretty decent list of SEO resources in this post.  While he somehow left Marketing Jive off of the list, we'll forgive him... this time.
http://www.quicksprout.com/2010/09/21/the-seos-handbook-53-resources-for-first-time-seos/

#1.  Bing SEO:  49 SEO Tips for Optimizing for Bing - Marketing Jive.  This is an extensive list that we compiled to help webmasters and marketers with their optimization for Bing.  With Bing now powering Yahoo results (which we are still not a big fan of), the importance of optimizing for Bing becomes more important.  Our list includes on-page optimization techniques, interlinking ideas as well as some technical and site architecture tips for Bing.



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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 24, 2010   0 comments
Bing SEO: 49 SEO Tips for Optimizing for Bing
Thursday, September 23, 2010
 In case you missed our recent four-part series on optimizing for Bing in 2010, we have compiled a list of not five, not ten, but forty-nine SEO tips to help optimize your site for Bing.  We have added some additional items that were not found in our previous posts.  These items are in random order and are not listed by priority.

You may notice that a number of these SEO tips are applicable to other search engines.  We realize that not all of these SEO tips are specific to Bing, but these tips will help you gain a presence within Bing search results as you optimize your site for your users and for Search.

49 SEO Tips for Bing Optimization
  1. Create unique title tags for every page on your site
  2.  For greatest efficiency and consistency, write titles using this syntax: keyword phrase, category/page topic, website title (or brand)
  3. Keep the title text between 5 and 65 characters in length
  4. Place primary keywords near the beginning of the title
  5. Register your site with Bing Webmaster Center
  6. Create unique meta descriptions for each page, using keywords specific to that page
  7. Keep the meta description text between 25 and 150 characters in length
  8. Make the description text unique on every page
  9. Avoid using the title tag text verbatim in your meta description
  10. Place relevant keywords in body text headers (as used within tags such as <h1> </h1>, <h2> </h2>, etc).  Do not over do it with keyword placement!
  11. Use one <H1> heading tag on each page
  12.  Place relevant keywords in the copy of your body.  Again as the Bing Webmaster team has communicated, "Your body text content is indexed just like everything else, and in the effort to determine the site’s theme and the relevance of your content to keywords, your body text is definitely considered within that process. Including your keywords and key phrases in your body text simply reinforces your use of those terms used in the higher priority parts of the page. But without their use in those aforementioned areas, they won’t stand out as easily as definitive keywords for your site’s pages."
  13. Place relevant keywords in links to other pages on your site.
  14. Use absolute links (i.e. links with the full URL path) where possible.  The use of absolute links is important for standardizing your links into one consistent format for each page (This process is commonly known as canonicalization).
  15. Create unique content for your site - well duh!
  16. Make sure that each webpage has a clear topic and purpose.
  17. Place descriptive content near the top of each webpage.
  18. Be careful about removing older content from your site.  Like a fine wine, Bing appreciates legacy, and does place authority on content that is older in nature, providing that it is relevant.
  19. Use descriptive alt text with your images. When you add an <img> tag to your page, be sure to provide that additional meta content. Search Bots cannot read the contents of images, even if it is merely an image of text, so the alt text you add is critical for helping the bot better understand what it cannot see.
  20. Use descriptive file and directory names (i.e. with relevant key phrases) for your site pages.
  21. Use hyphens (and avoid using underscores) as word separators in your URLs
  22. Keep your content within four levels of the root.
  23. Submit your XML Sitemap to Bing
  24.  Optimize images and scripts for more efficient page load time.
  25. Avoid JavaScript or meta refresh redirects
  26. Avoid placing important, keyword rich content in image, Flash or frames
  27. Correct any broken links that you may have on your site.
  28. Monitor your site in Bing Webmaster Center
  29. Make use of clear and easy to follow navigation options on your site.
  30. Work on building the quality of links to your site pages and do not focus on getting links to just the homepage.
  31. Monitor your links and eliminate irrelevant links that have nothing to do with your site.
  32. Avoid reciprocal linking or link exchanges as they serve little or no value in the eyes of the Bing algorithm.
  33. Work on receiving links from related industry blogs and forums.
  34. Avoid paying for links for the purposes of artificially inflating your link inventory.
  35. For RIA-based webpages, instead of using the <embed> tag, use the <object> tag to instantiate your Silverlight content in your page. The <object> tag allows the page to provide secondary, down-level content to be presented in case the initial, primary content (such as a Silverlight application) cannot be presented. By using the <object> tag, you can include text descriptions and other relevant content.
  36. Hosting should be in the market that you are targeting.  Bing uses information, such as the website's IP address and the country or region code top-level domain, to determine a website's market and country or region.  According to Bing, "If you choose to host your website in a different location than your target market, your website might rank much lower in your target market's search results than it does in your local market's search results."
  37. When your web address changes permanently, Bing recommends that you create an HTTP 301 redirect. The use of a HTTP 301 redirect tells search engine web crawlers, such as Bingbot, to remove the old URL from the index and use the new URL.
  38. When you implement a permanent redirect, it's a good idea to ask websites that link to yours to update their links to your website. This enables web crawlers to find your new website when other websites are crawled.
  39. Target only one or two key phrases per page.  This will avoid diluting the keyword density and help communicate the topic of the page to Bing for the purposes of indexing and ranking.
  40. Do not embed access to content you want indexed within <script> </script> tags.
  41. Avoid using REP (Robots Exclusion Protocol) directives to remove your website from the Bing index. 
  42. Scan your website for malware and ensure that your site is being indexed properly in Bing.  Regularly use anti-malware tools to scan your website files for security vulnerabilities and the presence of malware
  43. Use tools like spider simulators to ensure that your pages are crawlable.
  44. Create a media RSS (mRSS) file for submitting videos to the Bing index.  Be sure to include attributes such as title, description, content, link and keywords.
  45. Use custom 404 error pages on your websites.
  46. Optimize all images on your website.
  47. Consider adding rich media such as video content to your site for the purposes of blended search optimization.
  48. Optimize articles and press releases for the purposes of blended search optimization.
  49. Create content for your human visitors, not for the Bing web crawler.
    Bing Optimization Tips

As we can see from the above list, the Bing ranking algorithm analyzes factors such as webpage content, the number and quality of websites that link to your pages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords. As the Bing webmaster team has pointed out, "... site rankings change as Bing continuously reviews the factors that make up the ranking. Although you can't directly change your website’s ranking, you can optimize its design and technical implementation to enable appropriate ranking by most search engines."

Hopefully these SEO tips help as you optimize for Bing.  Good luck and happy binging!

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 23, 2010   6 comments
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part IV: Link Authority
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
In case, you missed our first couple of post in our series optimizing for Bing in 2010, here is a recap:

Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part I
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part II: Content Optimization
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part III: Site Architecture


The third component to focus on when optimizing your website for Bing search results is link authority, more specifically building quality links to your web properties. Depending on who you talk to, there are different ways to accomplish this. Some will tell you to submit your site to various directories, some will tell you to purchase links while others will tell you to create content that will naturally acquire links.  While it is a little more work, I recommend the third option.  Creating important, useful content can be a great way to build the link inventory of your site.

So before you go out and start trying to acquire links, it is important to understand just exactly what a quality link is.  A quality link is:
  • one that comes from a site/page that is related to your content
  • one that features similar or the same keywords that are found on your site pages
  • one that features keyword placement in the anchor or linking text in the link to your page
There are additional criteria that make a "good link" a "good link" as we have highlighted in a previous post, Building External Link Inventory: 11 Things to Look for in a Good Link.   Hopefully you have a general idea of what makes a link a quality link.  With link building it is not necessarily the number of links that you have, it is more about the number of quality links that you have.  When optimizing for Bing, it is definitely a matter of quality of quantity (not unlike Google) when it comes to building your link authority.

How Do I Build Link Authority When Optimizing for Bing?

Again general best practices should apply here, but when seeking links and building your external link inventory, there are a number of items to consider.  Bing's position on link building is straightforward - according to Bing, "we are less concerned about the link building techniques used than we are about the intentions behind the effort." 
  1. Bing prefers quality over quantity - Inbound links (aka backlinks) are crucial to your site’s success in ranking.  Backlinks should be relevant to the page being linked to or relevant to your domain if being linked to the homepage. Inbound links from sites considered to be authoritative in their field are of higher value than those from unrelated sites.
  2. Keep links up to date - Thinking of moving your site or changing your site's URL?  Notify websites linking to you of your new web address. When you implement a permanent redirect, it's a good idea to ask websites that link to yours to update their links to your website.
  3. Link Building should be on-going - according to Bing, you need to consistently build your backlink inventory.  In fact the Bing webmaster team has recommended leveraging the following for improving backlinks to your sites:
    • Start a blog. Write content that will give people a reason to link to your website.
    • Join a reputable industry association. Oftentimes they will list their members and provide links to their websites.
    • Get involved with your community. Participating with your community through blogs, forums, and other online resources may give you legitimate reasons to provide links to your site.
    • Do you have helpful tips about your business that people might be interested in? Pitch your story to a reporter, and they might link to your site in an online story.
    • Press releases. If your company has scheduled a significant public event, consider publishing an online press release.
    • Suppliers and partners. Ask your business partners if they would add a section to their websites describing your partnership with a link to your website. Or, if your suppliers have a website, perhaps they have a page where they recommend local distributers of their products.
    • Evangelize your site in the real world. Promote your website with business cards, magnets, USB keys, and other fun collectibles.
  4. Content is king - oh no not this again.  Well we cannot understate the importance of informative and useful content when it comes to link acquisition.  Providing high-quality content on your pages is the single most important thing you can do to attract inbound links. If your content is unique and useful to people, your site will naturally attract visitors and, as a result, automatically get good links to your site. By focusing on great content, over time, your site will naturally acquire those coveted inbound links.
  5. Relevance is important -  unrelated links carry minimal value with Bing.  If your site is about "green widgets" than other widget sites that link to you are relevant.  If other "green widget" sites link to you, these links are even more relevant.  Get the picture?  
  6. Avoid link exchanges - there is really no value in these especially if the site you exchange links with is totally unrelated to your site's content.
  7. Links from authority sites carry more weight - a site that has built an authority for a given topic will provide a highly qualified link.  In Google, this is in part determined by PageRank.  (i.e. a link from a related site with a PR of 7 carries more weight that a link from a related site with a PR of 1.).  These types of links are not always easy to obtain, but getting a handful of these types of links can make a great distance.  Think of getting links from .edu or .org sites as the engines (Bing included) tend to treat these sites as more authoritative.
  8. Work within your community - Identify relevant industry experts, product reviewers, bloggers, and media people and let them know about your site and its content.  Links from these resources can provide great benefit.
    • Participate in relevant blogs and forums and refer back to your site's content when applicable
    • Join and participate in relevant industry associations and especially in their online forums
    •  
  9. Publish expert articles to online article directories - articles can be great forms of linkbait that can drive quality traffic and improve the link authority of your site.
  10. Leverage social media - Use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to connect to industry influencers to establish contacts, some of whom may connect back to you.
  11.  Avoid buying links to artificially inflate your link inventory - according to Bing, "...Paying for or participating in non-relevant link exchange schemes will not improve your page rank with Bing, and in fact, it could very well hurt it. What will ultimately improve your page rank is creating great content, earning inbound links from relevant, authoritative websites, and performing legitimate SEO on your site. If you build your site with a focus on helping people find great information, you'll be on the right track for earning the highest rank your site deserves."
  12. Monitor your link inventory and remove bad links where required - Submit a request on the Webmaster Center's Crawling/Indexing Discussion forum. As long as you own the site hosting the page with the bad link, Bing can help by deleting the content from the index, the cache, or both.
The Bing webmaster team has shared some of these tips and more here.   Remember that the Bing ranking algorithm analyzes factors such as webpage content, the number and quality of websites that link to your pages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords.  Improving your link authority is but one piece of the equation when optimizing for Bing in 2010.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, September 22, 2010   0 comments
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part III: Site Architecture
Monday, September 20, 2010
You know one area where I prefer Bing over Google is with the homepages of the respective search engines. I love the dynamic nature and `picture of the day`on Bing.  I like the little information tidbits at the bottom.  It`s kind of a fun way to begin your search.

From my first two posts in the series, you will remember that when optimizing for Bing, there are three areas to focus on as communicated by the people at Bing, as a recap those three things are:
  1. Content
  2. Site Architecture
  3. Link Authority
Today in our third installment of optimizing for Bing in 2010, we look at the second item from the list above; site architecture.  Never mind Bing, but having a logical URL structure and hierarchy to your site is key for any search engine optimization efforts that you may be working on.  If your site’s structure and hierarchy is blemished or broken, then it will not achieve the optimal placement within the search results that you desire from the search engines.

Below we have compiled ten tips that will help you optimize your site for Bing.  While many of these tactics and practices are not unique to Bing, there are a couple that are more specific for Bing.  Regardless following these best practices can help you gain a more visible presence in Bing.

Optimizing for Bing: 10 Site Architecture and Technical Tips

  1. Use descriptive file and directory names - educate Bing and the other search engines about the topicality of your site through your site hierarchy.  Relevant keywords in your naming conventions can provide a big boost.  Besides being far more user friendly for end users to remember, the strategic use of keywords in file and directory names will further reinforce their relevance to those pages, to both the user and thus to the bot.

  2. Use hyphens (and avoid using underscores) as word separators - This syntax will help msnbot (and soon Bingbot) to properly parse the long name you use in individual words instead of as the folks at Bing state, `"having it treated as the equivalent of a meaningless superlongkeyword."


  3. Do not bury your content/limit your directory depth - according to Bing, creating a deep directory structure will likely mean the bot never gets to your deepest content. To alleviate this possibility, make your site’s directory structure shallow, no deeper than four child directories from the root.  I would add that the closer you can keep you important to the root, the better. 

  4. Submit your XML Sitemap to Bing - this is simple as following these instructions: 
    • Step 1: Copy and paste the entire URL below as a single URL into the address bar of your browser:  http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=www.YourWebAddress.com/sitemap.xml  Be sure to include the full URL for your website’s sitemap.xml file at the end of this line.
    • Step 2: Change “www.YourWebAddress.com” to your domain name 
    • Step 3: Press ENTER

  5.  Be aware of page load times - search engine crawlers are still a little lazy and if a page takes too long to load, the crawler may simply abandon the page.  Try externalizing elements such as Javascript and CSS.  Removing JavaScript and CSS code from your pages into external files offers additional advantages beyond just shortening your webpage files. By being external to the content they modify, they can be used by multiple pages simultaneously. Externalizing this content also simplifies code maintenance issues.

  6. Avoid JavaScript or meta refresh redirects - we need to take a hard stance on this.  Whenver you need to place a redirect on a page, always, always, always use a 301 redirect.  It is just safer to do so.  Technically you can also do page redirects with JavaScript or <meta> “refresh” tags. However, these are not recommended methods of accomplishing this task if you would like to achieve optimal SEO results. These methods were highly abused in the past for hijacking users away from content that they wanted to web spam that they didn’t want. As a result, search engines take a dim view of these techniques for redirect. To do the job right, to preserve your link authority, and to continue your good standing with search engines, use 301 redirects instead.

  7. Avoid creating pages in forms, Flash or frames - this can help prevent Bing from not seeing all of the content you would like them to.  According to Bing, types of pages that can trip up search engine bots include forms (there’s typically no useful content on a form page) and authentication pages (as bots can’t execute authentication schemes, so they are blocked from seeing all of the pages behind the authentication gateway). Pages that require either session IDs or cookies to be accessed are similar to authentication pages in that the bot’s inability to generate session IDs or accept cookies block them from accessing content requiring such tracking measures.

  8. Avoid having a high number of broken links on your site - this can have an impact on crawl rates and how effectively Bing is able to crawl and more importantly index your site`s content.  Also from a user perspective, ensure that your site features a custom 404 error page to help direct them to the information that they are looking for.

  9. Domain age is important to Bing - Bing places some weighting on the age of your domain, so before you proceed with some re-branding, you might want to consider the impact that this has on your search engine placement especially in Bing.  Domain age is one way that Bing establishes authority for your site.


  10. Monitor you site in Bing Webmaster Center - http://www.bing.com/webmaster.  While the information presented in BWC is not as in-depth as  the data found in Google Webmaster Tools, you can still review crawl and indexing issues.
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part I
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part II: Content and On-Page Optimization

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posted by Jody @ Monday, September 20, 2010   0 comments
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part II: Content Optimization
Sunday, September 19, 2010
On August 24, 2010, it was announced that Bing search results would now be fully powering Yahoo search results in the US and Canada.  If we combine the search engine market share of this transaction Bing now has just over 28% market share in the US.  That is just under half of what Google`s market domination currently is.  That is somewhat significant and the need to optimize for Bing has become more important.  Having said that, it does not mean that drastic changes are required.  As we pointed out in part one of Optimizing for Bing in 2010, typically what works for Google should work in Bing.

Optimizing efforts for Bing should mean that you are applying SEO best practices that start with:




Content
Site Architecture
Link Authority

If you do not believe me take the word from the folks at Bing when they suggest:
The most basic advice we can give for achieving optimum rank for your site in Bing is to do the following:
  • Develop great, original content (including well-implemented keywords) directed toward your intended audience
  • Use well-architected code in your webpages (including images and Sitemaps) so that users’ web browsers and search engine crawlers can read the content you want indexed)
  • Earn several, high-quality, authoritative inbound links
For part two of our Optimizing for Bing in 2010, the focus is on the first piece of the equation; content and on-page optimization.

Optimizing for Bing:  Content & On-Page Optimization

The tips that you will see here are, if anything else, great reminders about how well written content proper on-page optimization can assist you with being found in the Bing search results.
  1. Title Tags are Important - not unlike other search engines, the ability to provide data about data through meta data can help instruct msnbot as to what your web page is about.  In fact, via Bing`s Webmaster community they have come out and stated that Webmasters can easily do this by adding unique titles and meta descriptions to each page. If webmasters don’t provide search engines with good, keyword-oriented, well-written caption source data, the resulting captions created by algorithm, no matter how hard we try, won’t represent your website as well as those websites whose webmasters did provide this unique and important data.

    The title tag also known as your page title is a critical element for helping the search engines identify the contents of your page.  Placing relevant keywords (without spamming) near the beginning of your titles can help instruct Bing as to what your page is actually about.  They won`t place you in their search results for "Red Widgets" if your page does not make mention of "red widgets".  Specific tips from Bing with regards to the title tag include:

    • The closer the word is to the start, the more heavily weighted it is as a keyword. This is true for the bot as well as the reader.
    • Keep the title text between 5 and 65 characters in length
    • For greatest efficiency and consistency, write titles using this syntax: keyword phrase, category, website title (or brand)
    • Make the title text unique on every page
    • Don’t use any of the following special characters in title text: '"&lt;&gt;{}[]()


  2. Meta Descriptions - while search engines reserve the right to use a variety of inputs for filling out site description snippets in their SERPs, webmasters who provide unique, concise, compelling, and keyword-laden descriptions in their tag’s description attribute help guide what will be seen with their websites’ result within the Bing results.  Specific tips from Bing with regards to the meta description tag include:

    • Create unique descriptions for each page, using keywords specific to that page
    • Keep the description text between 25 and 150 characters in length
    • Do not copy title tag text content as a description; this is a wasted opportunity to develop more keywords and adds no value
    • Make the description text unique on every page
    • Don’t use any of the following special characters in description text: '"< >{}[]()
    • Additional details can be found here.

  3. Keyword Placement is Important - without overdoing it, where you place the keywords within your content can have an impact on your SEO efforts.  This should be nothing new to you, but according to the Bing Webmaster team, keywords should be used in the following areas of your pages:
    • Page title (inside the title tags)
    • Body text headers (as used within tags such as <h1> </h1>, <h2> </h2>, and so on).  According to the Bing team: Lastly, don’t mistakenly think using keywords in body text is a waste of time. Your body text content is indexed just like everything else, and in the effort to determine the site’s theme and the relevance of your content to keywords, your body text is definitely considered within that process. Including your keywords and key phrases in your body text simply reinforces your use of those terms used in the higher priority parts of the page. But without their use in those aforementioned areas, they won’t stand out as easily as definitive keywords for your site’s pages.
    • Links to other pages (the link text between the <a> </a> tags)
    • Meta tags (specifically when used with the name="description".  It is still a best practice to include your main key phrase in the name="keyword" tag as well)

  4. Content should be unique and speak to the needs of your audience - from what we can tell, Bing`s algorithm does not decipher duplicate content as well as say Google.  Therefore in order to gain visibility within Bing, try to ensure that your content is not written for the search engines but written for your audience.  Avoid using industry jargon, and present content that your visitors will find useful.  If that means including testimonials, well include testimonials.  If that means have pricing on your site, well that might be a good idea as well.  Frankly writing unique, informative content can also act as linkbait and help you generate links and build link authority to your site.

  5. Bing likes content that has been around - it appears that the Bing search algorithm places more value on domain age, so you might want to think twice before you get rid of some of that older content on your site.  You just might be performing well in the decision engine of Bing.
In order to optimize for Bing, your initial focus should be around your content and while this type of optimization is not specific to Bing, there are areas that are more or less important to Bing than to say Google.  Regardless publishing fresh and informative content can help you improve your presence in Bing.

In Optimizing for Bing in 2010 Part III, we will focus on the site architecture aspect.

Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part I

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, September 19, 2010   0 comments
Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part I
Friday, September 17, 2010
I have been in the Search Engine industry for the better part of the past decade.  I have seen a lot of changes, some good and some not so good.  I have seen dominant players falter (i.e. AOL and Yahoo) and emerging new technologies (i.e. YouTube) innovate the way we share and absorb information.  During this time I have watched and waited for Microsoft to do something significant with their Search platform. 

From 1998, when they were known as MSN Search where they obtained their results from technologies like Inktomi to 2006 when they re-branded as Live Search providing terrible search results to June 2009 and the coming of Bing.  From there a ``partnership``with Yahoo.  There has been a lot of change with Microsoft`s search efforts.  A couple of these events even made our list of the top 10 moments in search engine evolution.

During this time Microsoft has struggled to achieve market share in the search space.  If we go back a couple of years to September 2007, we see that Microsoft had a 10.3% market share in the US.  A year later, they dropped to 8.5%, last year Bing managed to jump up back to 9.4% but still a distant third place to Google and Yahoo.  Currently Microsoft`s Bing by itself sits at around 11.1% market share.  This number increases to 28.5% if we include Yahoo.  (Based on comScore data).

So enter June 2009 and the most recent incarnation of Microsoft`s search engine, Bing, the so-called decision engine is launched.  The release of Bing was met with many positive reviews as a great improvement over Live Search.  The way we see it, Microsoft`s search platform could not have gotten any worse.  The one issue that I have had with MSN, Live Search and Bing was the search results.  I still feel that while it has gotten better, there is still a long way to go to provide more relevant search results.  However, the same could be said for Google, especially in the light of things like Google Instant, a nice attempt but frankly a distraction.  The fact is that in Bing, Microsoft`s search offering has improved.  With the latest launch of IE 9, Bing has promised an ever better search experience, so the need to optimize for Bing is a reality.

Last month marked the official launch of Bing providing Yahoo search results.  Well I think that is a step backwards for the search industry, but it does allow Bing results to reach a wider audience.  As a result for site owners, business owners, online marketers and SEO folk it means that there is a need to optimize for Bing results.  A few years back, we provided some tips on Live Search indexing guidelines, and now we thought that it was time to revisit optimization tips for Bing.


Do I Have to Optimize Differently for Bing than for Google?

This is a question that many people often ask, and traditionally the response has been that if you optimize for Google the rest (i.e. other engines) will take care of itself.  Well that is true to a certain degree, but the Bing algorithm is not the same as the Google algorithm so there are factors that while similar have different weighting as part of the respective search algorithms.

The fact of the matter is that there are three areas that you need to focus on for success.
  1. Content - creating useful, informative and unique content will always help you be found in the search engines providing that the search engines can effectively crawl and find this content.  All of you sites with your prime content behind login should really think about that approach.  Content will always be a part of the search equation.
  2. Site Architecture - again, make it easier for the crawlers to find your content.  While the crawlers have become more efficient in recent years and we expect no less when Bingbot is released in a couple of weeks, having a clean site architecture that is organized in a logical manner is never a bad thing.  As the folks at Bing have stated:
    The use of consistent data structures between pages on your website (such as placing similar data between pages using a similar tree structure, similar class names, support standard markup technologies, such as microformats, etc.) will also help improve the effectiveness of our crawler, which puts more of your content into our index.
  3. Link Authority - if you have read some of my previous posts on link popularity, you will know that I think too much emphasis is placed on link popularity, however generating quality and relevant links to your web properties can still mean why you have presence in the search results vs. why you may be nowhere to be found.
So in order to optimize for Bing, there are three things that require attention:

Content + Links + Architecture

Still wondering if you need to optimize for Bing?  Check out the findings from this post stemming for the recently confirmed news that Bing is fully powering Yahoo results.  To answer the question, do you need to optimize differently for Bing than Google, the answer is yes, but only slightly.  It is true that many SEO best practices used for Google will apply to Bing, but there are some additional practices that you can employ for further success.  We will discuss these in part two of Optimizing for Bing in 2010.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 17, 2010   0 comments
Top SEO Lists of the Week: Week of September 13, 2010
In case you missed last week's list here are the top 5 SEO lists from last week


This week our list includes some familiar faces and blogs.

#5.  5 Clichés That Make You a Better SEO - Stoney deGeyter - Search Engine Guide.  I really enjoyed Stoney's couple of SEO cliche posts.  In this one, Stoney outlines five cliches that he feels can make people become a better SEO.  Our personal favorite?  "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."  Another reason that we included this post in our top 5 lists of the week is because it contains a links to Stoney's "Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist".  Stoney was featured in our number one spot last week, and this week he remains on our top five list with his follow up piece.  Well done!
http://www.searchengineguide.com/stoney-degeyter/5-cliches-that-make-you-a-better-seo.php

#4.  9 easy tips to jump start your SEO copywriting strategy - Heather at SEO Copywriting shared some useful tips to help site owners with their copywriting strategies.  There are some great reminders here including:
  •  Review your Google keyword strategy - you guys do know by now that keyword research is on-going right?
  • Have different target audiences? Build customized landing pages
  • Quit overwhelming and accept the baby-step reality - establishing a content development strategy is a lot of work, we know that and that is why so many people fail to capitalize on their content.  Baby steps lead to giant steps.
http://www.seocopywriting.com/content-marketing/9-easy-tips-to-jump-start-your-seo-copywriting-strategy/

#3.  6 Tips For Making Content Pop on the Social Web - Lee Odden over at Top Rank Marketing posted some great tips for getting noticed in the social scene.  Lee shares six guidelines that stand out for helping content get better reach.  In brief they are:
  1. Purpose
  2. Message
  3. Packaging
  4. Distribution/Promotion
  5. Call to Action
  6. Monitor, Measure, Analyze and Act
We would probably add another and that is perception/value.  Have a clear value statement to illustrate the benefit to the audience.  All and all, another useful post for Lee.
http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/09/making-content-pop-social-web/

#2.  Tips for getting help with your site - Google Webmaster Central Blog.  Google shared some insight into how you can get an answer to search or webmaster questions that you may have, by providing a list of eight actions that you can take to have someone at Google answer a question that you might have.  Of course complying with all eight of these tips does not ensure that your question will get a response, but it will help.  Probably two of the bets tips are to
  1. Keep your question specific
  2. Make it relevant to others
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/09/tips-for-getting-help-with-your-site.html

#1.  Link Building 101 - The Almost Complete Link Guide - the folks at SEOmoz continue to provide great SEO information, they have done so for years.  Scott's piece is a good refresher on link building best practices and includes tips such as:
  • the need to create a link building strategy
  • link placement and where your links should be found
  • anchor text
  • content relevancy
  • tools for gathering competitive link intelligence
Overall, a great list of items to consider when proceeding with your link building strategy.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 17, 2010   0 comments
Who Are the Richest People in Search?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The business of Search has made quite a few people a lot of money. From those folks at Microsoft to the Google guys, over the past decade there have been a number of people who have done quite well as a result of the Search business. As of 2009, here is a look at the ten richest people in Search.

10 Richest People in Search

#10.  Barry Diller - the CEO of IAC/InterActive Corp. parent company of ASK.com.  At 67, Diller is still worth an impressive 1.15 billion US and ASK.com is the fourth most popular search engine in North America.


#9.  Jerry Yang - Yahoo co-founder and CEO who stepped down in January 2009 is worth $1.3 billion


#8. David Filo - co-founder of Yahoo worth $1.3 billion US down from his 2006 worth of about $2.4 billion.  Tough times at Yahoo indeed.



#7.  Kavitark Ram Shriram - an early investor in Google, Shriram is worth an estimated $1.4 billion.  He still possesses $600 million worth of Google stock.


#6.  Mark Zuckerberg - in his mid-twenties, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly worth an estimated $2 billion US.  Facebook has grown in popularity and despite privacy concerns is still one of the most visited destinations on the Web.  In early October, look for the movie The Social Network which depicts just how Zuckerberg and friends came up with the world's most popular social network.


#5.  Eric Schmidt - the first of three Google guys on our list.  Forbes deemed the CEO of Google to have a 2009 worth of $5.5 billion US.  Schmidt was the 40th richest American in 2009.


#4.  Steve Ballmer - anyone else find it interesting that the Google guys are roughly the same age as the Microsoft guys that are Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates?  There have been a lot of successful duets in the world, but with an estimated worth of $13.3 billion, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is doing just fine.  Ballmer was very outspoken in Microsoft's attempts to acquire Yahoo a few years back.  It looks like he got his way after all.  Microsoft's Bing is now fully powering Yahoo results as of last month.


#3.  Larry Page - Google makes a lot of money.  So much so that in a little over twelve years, the Google guys are tied for the distinction of being the 11th richest people in America.  Do you think that Larry Page ever thought he would be one of the richest Americans as he started out with Sergey Brin working out of a garage in the late '90's?  Google is still the juggernaut of Search.  Don't look for this to change anytime soon.


#2.  Sergey Brin - tied with his partner Larry Page for the 11th richest person in the US, the Google guys are worth an estimated $15.3 billion US each.  Not bad for a guy in his mid-thirties.


#1.  Bill Gates - in his early fifties and worth an estimated $50 billion US, Bill Gates is Mr. Microsoft.  According to Forbes.com, Mr. Gates is America's richest person for the 16th straight year.  Microsoft's search engine Bing has recently become the second most popular search engine of choice and is now powering Yahoo's search results.  Bing is still a distant second to Google, but is gaining some ground on the search giant.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, September 15, 2010   0 comments
Top SEO Lists of the Week - Week of September 6th
Saturday, September 11, 2010
It's that time again, time for our Top 5 SEO lists of the week.

#5.  6 Basic Questions For Social-Optimizing Your Company Website
http://www.blueglass.com/blog/6-basic-questions-for-social-optimizing-your-company-website/

Examines whether or not your website welcomes social interaction.  While optimizing your website can help drive traffic, the social aspect can help with engagement.  Is your website social-optimized?  Gina's post will help you determine if your website is social-ready or social-licious.

#4.  8 Ways Backlink Analysis Can Offer Competitive Intelligence
http://searchengineland.com/8-ways-backlink-analysis-can-offer-competitive-intelligence-49954

From the godfather of link building comes this post.  Eric Ward shares eight things that he learned about competitors just by studying their backlinks.  I like item six in Eric's list; Who is bulk spamming social media.  Of course when it comes to evaluating your competitor's links from an SEO perspective, you might want to look at the types of sites that they are receiving links from.  Which types of sites are linking to their (your competition's) key content?  Are the links coming from other web properties owned by your competition?  Who is linking to their articles and news releases?  Evaluating the backlinks of your competitors can provide some useful information as to why they may be performing better (or worse) in the online space than you are.

#3.  7 Compelling “About Us” Pages

http://www.speedofcaffeine.com/2010/09/06/7-compelling-about-us-pages/

Want to build trust with your site visitors?  Try creating a compelling About Us page.  A refreshing article outlining some examples of different but engaging About Us pages.

#2.  Learn About Google Instant with these Ten Great Resources

http://www.marketing-jive.com/2010/09/learn-about-google-instant-with-these.html

The release of Google Instant has made people say, "bet you didn't see that coming" or "this has been done before", or "why haven't the engines tried this before?", but at the end of the day, there are a lot of people talking about Google Instant.  We compiled our very own list of resources to help you learn more about Google Instant and what people are saying.

#1.  6 Clichés That Help You Understand SEO
http://www.searchengineguide.com/stoney-degeyter/6-cliches-that-help-you-understand-seo.php

Stoney deGeyter over at Search Engine Guide writes some great articles.  Case in point his piece called "6 Clichés That Help You Understand SEO".  As Stoney is quick to point out, "Just because something is a cliché doesn't mean it can, or should be, disregarded.".  The article reminds us of some great points including the fact that SEO results take time.  We know that, but people who are less versed in SEO and organic search quite often have difficulty in understanding this.  It simply takes time to produce quality content, optimize it and generate sufficient engagement and links back to the content.  As Stoney adds,

The process of optimizing a site can take weeks and, in some cases, months or years, depending on how big the site is. In most cases SEO is an ongoing process with growing measures of return. The return in SEO is good, but you've got to be willing to invest the time to let it happen.

Time and timing is key for SEO success.

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posted by Jody @ Saturday, September 11, 2010   0 comments
Learn About Google Instant with these Ten Great Resources
Friday, September 10, 2010
Obviously the show-stopping news of the week was Google's launch of Google Instant, the Search-before-you-type results that Google is dynamically generating based on a user's search query.  Lots of discussion in the hours following the launch and we have compiled a list of ten great resources that you might want to check out to learn more about Google Instant.

Ten Great Resources on Google Instant

#10.  How Will Google Instant Impact Analytics?
http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-instant-and-google-analytics.html

#9.  Google Instant Search: The Impact for Ecommerce Site Owners
http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/2233-Google-Instant-Search-The-Impact-for-Ecommerce-Site-Owners

#8.  Fun With Google Instant - "We Didn't Start the Fire"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gxrNYMMWmM&feature=player_embedded#!

This is very entertaining, if nothing else.




#7.  Google Instant Brings Out Ridiculous SEO Alarmists
http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/google-instant-seo-alarmists/

#6.  Google Instant Impact on Search Queries
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-instant-impact-on-search-queries.html

#5.  Google Instant - 10 Things Marketing Teams Need to Know
http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/100910-050505

#4.  Google's Official Announcement
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/search-now-faster-than-speed-of-type.html

#3.  Marketing Jive's Google Instant: More Relevant Results or Not?
http://www.marketing-jive.com/2010/09/google-instant-more-relevant-results-or.html

#2.  Google Instant Complete Users Guide - from Matt McGee over at Search Engine Land
http://searchengineland.com/google-instant-complete-users-guide-50136

#1.  Google's About Google Instant - http://www.google.com/instant/

There will continue to be much discussion as people continue to use (or not use) this innovative release from Google. 

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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 10, 2010   0 comments
Google Instant: More Relevant Results or Not?
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Well at least Google is trying. Trying that is to deliver the most relevant results. Apparently Google feels that users need help with their questions and search queries or at least when it comes to typing them out. With the release of Google Instant, Google has launched "a new search enhancement that shows results as you type... pushing the limits of their technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster." Well ok better search results sounds good. Faster? Are we not already considerably faster in the digital age?

About Google Instant

Who:  Google
What: Search-before-you-type results dynamically generated by a user's search query
Where: Google Search Results

When: September, 8, 2010
Why:  To assist searchers in finding the information they are looking for faster.  According to Google:

  • Before Google Instant, the typical searcher took more than 9 seconds to enter a search term, and we saw many examples of searches that took 30-90 seconds to type.
  • Using Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
  • If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That’s 11 hours saved every second.
  • 15 new technologies contribute to Google Instant functionality.
Google's Official Announcement on Google Instant.

Personally, if there is one thing I cannot stand it is a pushy salesperson. I am not sure how much I like a "pushy" search engine either. You see I like to think that I am a pretty savvy searcher. In fact for the better part of the past decade I have worked in the Search industry.  I am not so sure I need assistance with search suggestions or Google Instant.  Do I always find everything that I am looking for via search, well no, but quite honestly I never will.  Google or any other search engine for that matter can serve up what they think are real-time search results, but if a site has artificially inflated it's link inventory/popularity it may appear within these results.  It still might be irrelevant to what I am looking for.

Google Instant's ability to present different results as we type is cool technology, no question.  I just wonder if it will provide more relevant results or more "noise".  Perhaps I do not want real-time Twitter results populating my search results.  Maybe I'm looking for a how to video (which chances are, I would go to Google-owned YouTube and not Google Search).

Some are already suggesting that Google Instant has caused the death of SEO.  Am I missing something here?  I mean I guess it depends on how you define SEO. The fact is that you will still need to produce content that the search engines can find and that your audience finds benefit in.  SEO has evolved, it is no longer about “optimizing” a page for rankings in the search results.  The search results have evolved.  SEO now simply means ensuring that the content you produce can be found by the search engines, that the search engines treat your content as an authority for a given topic and that other people find your content as an authority by linking or mentioning it (read: link popularity).

The question is why did it take so long for the search engines to come up with dynamic population of search results based on what the user is typing in the search box?  At first I thought that Google Instant was going to be annoying, but now I see the value in it… providing that I find the results that I am looking for.

Here is Google Instant in action as I typed ``Las Vegas``... then appended my query to become ``Las Vegas hotels`` as seen in the second screenshot:


Las Vegas Hotels
Dynamic search results appearing right as we type.  

So how will this impact organic search results and SEO?  Well many have chimed in and there have been some interesting comments:
  • might make the short tail appear artificially more profitable by attributing long tail demand to the short tail
  • As for SEO, I am concerned that results below the fold will be affected, making the need for solid SEO effort ultra important, will be interesting to see what happens!
  • The implication of that will be, that the CPC for the suggested terms will go up, because more advertisers will bid on those “predefined” search terms. Which means more profit for Google and less profit for the advertisers.
  • Long tail won’t be dead, but it will lose importance.
  • Won’t you also agree that Google is deliberately reducing the visibility on Organic results by:
    • Using the drop down suggestion tab to push away organic results.
    • Making users quickly go through the first results (paid search area) to access if they should continue their query or not.

One thing that I find interesting is that this will have a negative impact on engagement with organic results.  Yet the majority of time users click on an organic result.  Over the years research has shown that the split on where people click on a search results pages was typically 80% organic vs. 20% paid.  It is now more likely around 70/30 split.  So why then is Google "modifying" the organic area of the results page?  The easiest or quickest answer that comes to mind is $$$.  To get more engagement with sponsored ads, not necessarily the most relevant or trustworthy (organic) results.  Could it be that Google and other engines appear to be having problems in returning the most relevant results for a given search query?  I personally equate part of this problem due to the focus on link popularity.  Just because a site has a lot of links or even a lot of quality links does not always mean that it is the most relevant result for a given search query.  The link popularity piece of the algorithm needs to be revisited in my opinion.  This is another topic all together.  For now, Google Instant does look like a de-emphasis on organic rankings.

The folks at Search Engine Land have produced some great posts about Google Instant beginning with Matt McGee`s post on the complete user guide for Google Instant.
http://searchengineland.com/google-instant-complete-users-guide-50136

http://searchengineland.com/yahoo-had-instant-search-in-2005-and-dropped-it-50169
http://searchengineland.com/will-google-instant-kill-the-long-tail-50110
http://searchengineland.com/live-blogging-google-streaming-search-event-how-to-watch-live-50064

More About Google Instant

How Will Google Instant Impact Analytics?
http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-instant-and-google-analytics.html

Does Google Instant Mark the End of SEO?
http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2010/09/08/does-google-instant-mark-the-end-of-seo

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/search-now-faster-than-speed-of-type.html

Google Instant Impact on Search Queries
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-instant-impact-on-search-queries.html

Google Instant - 10 Things Marketing Teams Need to Know
http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/100910-050505

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 09, 2010   0 comments
Content Marketing vs. Content Development: One in the Same?
Friday, September 03, 2010
A few weeks back, Adam Singer from TopRank Marketing featured some great coverage of TopRank CEO Lee Odden discussing content marketing at SES San Francisco.  Adam shared a detailed recap of Lee's presentation which we thought was tremendous.  We are big fans of Lee and enjoy his presentations and commentary.  He is one of the truly knowledgeable experts in the industry.

Lee's topic of discussion got us thinking.  Is content marketing and content development the same thing?  One thing is for sure, at the heart of any search or social media marketing program, the focus should be on content.  So what exactly is content marketing?  According to Lee,
It’s creating and distributing relevant content to attract, acquire and engage customers which you know detailed information about. 
Content Development as we define it is:
Creating and communicating content that is relevant to your desired audience to provide them with the information that they are looking for.
Content development is also about attracting, acquiring and engage the audience.  The definitions are very similar.  So is content marketing and content management one in the same?  We think so.  Frankly, the way that we see it, content marketing is a new marketing buzzword that  is really a fancy term for content development.  Lee suggests that one of the main differences between the two is that with content marketing there is a need for developing personas and that this came from the B2B marketing space.  I have a lot of experience and the B2B space, especially when it comes to content, but I am not entirely sure that developing personas is specific to content marketing as opposed to content development.  In fact, we have also used personas for the purposes of establishing content development strategies regardless of the B2B or B2C space.

In the recap of Lee's presentation, Adam reminds us that "Content is why search exists – to organize the world’s information.  Content is also an outcome of social interactions.".  We could not agree more.  From a search perspective, content is not just king, it's the entire kingdom.  Content is the reason why you may be found in the search results at all.  It is why a visitor arrives on your site.  Content is why your visitor comes back to your site.  Content is the life-force of the online universe.  Therefore the need to produce timely, relevant and useful content is critical.

Content Development: 11 Must Reads from Marketing Jive

With Lee's presentation, he discussed 10 things to consider to get the most out of content and SEO.  Lee pretty much nailed it, but we would like to add some additional comments to each of Lee's items:

  1. Goals - strategy is about the big picture, with your content development strategy, you really need to establish clear goals as to what you need to accomplish with your content.

  2. Buyer personas - you should have an understanding of what content that your target audience is looking for.  This helps you tailor that message.

  3. Keywords -this gets back to understanding your audience and understanding just what the are looking for.  As Lee mentioned, "If you attain insight into what it is people are talking about, you can use that to fulfill future search demands ahead of competitors."
  4. Content & digital assets -understand where and what the buzz is and learn how to best serve up your content and through which medium (blogs, video, tweets, news releases, articles etc.)
  5. Editorial plan - helps to prepare for communicating content that people are looking for today but also in the future.  Timing the release of content provide huge benefits from a Search and SEO perspective.
  6. Operationalize SEO - Lee said it best, when he stated, "Many folks in the content optimization process within a company might not care about SEO.  But if you can share keyword lists with team members to inculcate their messages with, these team members can help.  It’s important to make everyone a part of the process."  I could not agree more.
  7. Develop off-site assets - whether online or offline, your content, more specifically, your messaging should be consistent.
  8. Socialize - people are hanging out in social environments online.  You cannot just optimize for search, you need to participate in social discussion, wherever that might be.  
  9. Promote your content - again go where your audience is.  If they are active on Twitter, perhaps you should be as well, notto push your content, but to promote within part of the conversation.
  10. Measure - you are not going to hit the ball out of  the park all of the time, so you will want to monitor your content to ensure that users are engaged and actively frequenting your content.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, September 03, 2010   0 comments
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