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11 People Who Will Have the Largest Impact on Search in 2011
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
2010 was a huge year for search.  In fact, 2010 was probably the most monumental year in Search ever.  In an industry where change is regular, we experienced unprecedented change  in 2010.  Google rolled out more major updates in a calendar year than ever before and while they make 400-500 algorithm changes a year, this year Googlers were working a little overtime.  Yahoo, well Yahoo is still suffering vertigo.  I still do not think the decision to replace Jerry Yang with Carol Bartz was the best thing to do.  It is sad to read a lot of the stories coming out of the Yahoo camp these days.  ASK, although a proverbial fourth place finisher in search was simply ahead of its time.  ASK could have been a really great search engine and quite honestly it looks like Google has been intelligent to realize that ASK was doing a lot of great things back in 2007 and has adopted some of the cool features that ASK was using a few years ago.  That leaves us with Bing.  You have to give the folks at Microsoft credit.  They are really trying with their Bing search engine.  But guess what?  I still cannot find what I'm look for half of the time when I search on Bing.  Oddly enough I also feel as though Google has taken a huge step back with the search experience of their engine.  Anyone else finding frustration with Google search results lately?

So where does that leave us as we enter 2011?  Google is still the dominate player in search.  According to comScore data, Google is still hovering around about a 65-66% market share in the US while Yahoo floats around 16-17% and Bing around 12%.    The thing is that Google's competition does not necessarily come from these other search engines.  People are visiting other verticals and other social environments other than a search engine.  It should not come as a surprise that Google's largest threat may be Facebook, Twitter or both.  Or perhaps it comes in the form of new search services such as Blekko.  Regardless the times they are a changin' and 2011 will be an interesting year for Search.

11 People Who Will Have the Largest Impact on Search in 2011

Who will the top players in Search for 2011?  Well we have hinted at at a few above, but here are eleven people that we feel will have the most significant impact on Search in 2011.

#11.  Carol Bartz, CEO, Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) - it has been a difficult couple of years for Yahoo, and quite honestly things are not looking better on the immediate horizon.  We include Carol Bartz in our number eleven position as she has the potential to make quite a splash or perhaps make none at all as some are suggesting that she might be within her final days at Yahoo.  For most of you with your own websites, looking at your analytics you will see that Yahoo still drives a nice portion of your site traffic.  Expect this to change if it has not yet started to already.

#10.  Andrew Mason, CEO, Groupon - why do people search?  Simple, because they are looking for information.  In case you haven't noticed, the online thing is not going away.  People are slowly shifting to the Internet for all of their information, news, TV and video, social interaction and shopping.  Andrew Mason created an environment known as Groupon that offers deals in local markets with deep discounts on everything from hotels to spa treatments to restaurants and oil changes.  Will this have an impact on Search?  You bet it will.  It already has.  Perhaps you are aware that Google was looking to purchase Groupon for an estimated $6 billion?  The social attraction of a crowd and the fact that deals are there to be had bolds well for Andrew Mason and Groupon.

#9. Marissa Mayer - vice president of geographic and local services at Google - Google is pushing (and focusing on) local search.  They transferred one of their brightest search minds in Mayer to drive Google's "contextual discovery" project.  According to Mayer, "contextual discovery" is:
The idea is to push information to people. It’s location in context. Inside the browser and a toolbar, can we look at where people have been going on the web — then we deliver it. But it’s a big UI challenge. In the browser it might be a panel on the right or bottom that complements your browsing. On the mobile phone, it’s where you are in the physical world. We can figure out where the next most useful information is. In a restaurant maybe it’s a menu. Or maybe it’s a social menu. It’s about explicit and implicit location.

#8.  Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams aka the Twitter Guys - a lot of people spend a lot of time on Twitter.  You want to find out breaking information where do you go?  Google or Twitter?  There are increasing signs and evidence that many go to Twitter first and then go to Google second to verify.  Twitter has already made its mark on search and regardless if whether it is a fad or not, Twitter has popularized micro-blogging.  The Twitter guys are not search guys per se, however they have created an environment where people go for real time information.  2011 will see Twitter mature and continue to provide timely information.  Twitter and search go hand in hand, why else would Twitter be working so hard to obtain ownership over the (currently parked) domain name twittersearch.com?

#7.  Satya Nadella - Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Online Services Division - Microsoft  - the vision for where Bing is going just might be coming from Satya Nadella who heads up all of Microsoft's online services.  From advertising to search itself, you can bet that Satay Nadella has a plan for Microsoft's search engine Bing.

#6.  Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Inc. - well maybe more so Apple as a company as a whole.  With the innovation of their infamous Smart phone, the iPhone and surging popularity of their tablet computer in the iPad, Apple's products are revolutionizing search and how people acquire information.  We have been saying it for years that this is the year of mobile.  Mobile is coming and in other parts of the world mobile and mobile search is already there.  The innovation and popularity of the Apple brand will continue to have an impact on search in 2011.

#5.  Rich Skrenta - Blekko CEO - Blekko is a search engine designed to eliminate spam search results, allowing users to search via a subset of the web through its proprietary slashtag technology.  Launched in November 2010, look for more people to try the Blekko experience.  Mr Skrenta gets it and had some profound words in November 2010 when he stated:
Algorithmic search is sinking.

The only way to combat this and return trust and quality to search is by taking an editorial stand and having humans identify the best sites for every category. The algorithm can't find its way through the web's growing hall of mirrors anymore. And it's only going to get worse.

I expect 2011 to be a great year for Blekko.  I for one am excited to see what they can do to help clean up the Web.

#4.  Stefan Weitz Director of Search, Microsoft Corp.- Stefan has provided some insight into where search is currently and where it may be going.  He has stated that "... beyond personalization, we can also tap into the social graph, conveniently captured through online activity..".  We can see things rolling out in Bing Search that deal with both personalization and the social graph based on their relationship with Facebook and the fact that people's likes are showing up in Bing search results.  Stefan Weitz is in a very powerful position to have the ability to have a profound impact on search in 2011.

#3.  Matt Cutts - Google Evangelist - Matt Cutts has his own cult following and really is a personable guy as well as being great public face for Google.  Go to any major search conference and there is a good chance that you will get to hear Matt speak.  A number of people tend to hang off of every word from Cutts even when he speaks in cryptic.  With so many Google updates in 2010, Matt Cutts becomes a key bridge between Google and webmasters/search marketers who are looking to ensure that their sites appear in Google's various search results.  Google's Matt Cutts, is also in charge of much of the search giant's antispam efforts, and tweeted over the past week that Google plans to take a closer look at the practice of "cloaking," or presenting one look to a Googlebot crawling one's site while presenting another look to users.  Matt who is always careful not to divulge too much information does indeed provide great insight into Google algorithm updates and the rights and wrongs of optimizing for search results.  Look for more insight from Matt in 2011.

#2. Larry Page and Sergey Brin aka the Google Guys - with increasing bid prices and ever changing designs to the Google search results pages, it has become somewhat evident that Google (GOOG) understands that it is a business just like any other.  There are shareholders to please.  Can even Google's innovations bring investors the return that they are looking for?  Could 2011 be the year where a string of regulatory and legal woes result in a significant penalty for the search giant?  We already know that there is a strong push in local advertising and local search planned.  We also know that Google is in need of a platform or environment to acquire even more data about their users for more targeted and what Google deems as relevant results.  Could 2011 be the year that Google begins to experience some backlash from their users?  Have they changed too much in recent months?  Have they alienated too many website owners and advertisers?  Maybe or maybe not, but look for Google and the Google guys to continue to innovate in 2011 and for better or worse, Google is the major player in search.  Do not expect that to change in 2011.

#1.  Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook CEO - I know, I know Mark Zukerberg is the Time person of the year, but quite honestly when compiling the concept for this post I knew that Zuckerberg had to be at the top of this list.  Facebook continues to have something that Google does not (at least not on the same scale) and that is user data.  In a relatively short time, Facebook has become one of the largest websites in the world, with more than 500 million monthly users.  Mark Zukerberg is one of the most influential people of the Information Age and in 2011 Facebook will continue to have both a direct and indirect impact on Search and how people connect, find and share information with one another. 

2011 promises to be another interesting year in Search.  One thing is for sure we can expect more algorithm updates, more social factors and savvier searchers.  The real question is whether we will be able to find the right answers to all of our questions.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, December 29, 2010   1 comments
Marketing Jive's Top 20 Posts of 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
It has been a busy year for me.  After nearly seven years at Enquiro Search Solutions, I left in August of this year to join a great team at Beelineweb.com.  From a search perspective, 2010 has been quite a monumental year.  Google has been in constant change mode with major algorithm and infrastructure changes not to mention some serious changes to their results pages.  Yahoo's search results were replaced by Bing, and I'm still not sold on that move.  Bing while gaining minimal market share is still technically a distant third place runner in the North American search engine market.

Throughout all of the changes, Marketing Jive has tried to keep on top of the major search news and has continued to provide SEO tips and best practices in the ever evolving world of search.  Here is a look at our top 20 posts from the past years.

Marketing Jive's Top 20 Posts of 2010

#20.  SEO Education & Knowledge Transfer: 21 Ways to Share SEO Knowledge - 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.  The need for updated SEO education has become increasingly important with the emergence of things such as Google Instant and Bing utilizing their relationship with Facebook into search results into their search results.  The sharing of accurate SEO knowledge is key to the progress and management of your online marketing efforts.


#19.  SEO and Punctuation: 7 Things to Remember About Punctuation and Search Engines - This is an interesting topic that can easily get confused by Webmasters and site owners.  We're hoping to clarify as opposed to add to the confusion with this post on SEO and punctuation.


#18.  SEO Strategy: The Timing of Implementation - One of the drawbacks to SEO and one of the main reasons why so many companies are hesitant to follow through with a detailed organic SEO strategy is the time that it takes to see results. Organic results are not as easy to track as sponsored listings. It's fairly easy to determine if your PPC campaign is a success or not as you can measure your return directly compared to your spend. However with organic there are a number of factors that can impact your organic rankings...


#17.  There’s More to SEO than Just Link Building - The fact is that the search engine algorithms are fundamentally based on link popularity.  Yahoo for example, was started by David Filo and Jerry Yang got together  in February 1994 to organize their favorite sites on the Web.  They began compiling their lists of favorite links eventually turning Yahoo into the most popular destination on the Web.  While link popularity stills rules the Web, there is more to SEO than link building.


#16.  Content Development Strategy: 10 Items to Incorporate into Your Requirements - There are certain items that, regardless of the above, you will want to have as part of your content requirements.  As you plan or refine your content development strategy you will want to ensure that you have the following in place.  These requirements will allow you to efficiently produce the content that you need to reach your desired target audience.


#15.  Tools to Diagnose Impact of Google Algo Updates - Google Algorithm Changes & Updates Part Three - In our final installment of our series on Google Algorithm Updates and Changes we looked at various tools that you can use to help diagnose whether or not your site has been impacted by a recent Google update. Google makes upwards of 500 changes per year to their algorithm. Some of these changes will have no impact on your site while others may have a significant impact.  Here is a look at how to evaluate whether you have been impacted by a Google algorithm update.


#14. 14 Sitemap Best Practices for Optimizing Your Sitemaps - Our definitive list of sitemap best practices will feature tips for both XML and HTML sitemaps, but for the most part is geared more towards the HTML sitemap.


#13.  Planning a Content Development Strategy - 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.


#12.  What Makes Google Tick? Hundreds of Items Used in their Search Algorithm - a look into some of the items that Google incorporate into their algorithmic recipe.


#11.  Interlinking Strategy: Establish an Interlinking Process - many site owners do not pay enough attention to internal linking and establishing an interlinking strategy.  Here are some tips for establishing an interlinking process for your web properties.


#10.  Content Development Strategy: Guiding Users to a Better Experience - Guiding your audience to the information that they are looking for via well established content will help build that relationship that you need to establish  in order to be successful in the online arena.  From an online perspective that may mean providing user generated content to help establish trust in your product or service offering.  It may mean establishing a "how to" video to communicate how to use features of your product.  Regardless the importance of content development and content marketing is most likely more important now than it has ever been.


#9.  Homepage Optimization Best Practices - your homepage can be the most important page on your site.  So why haven't you optimized it then?   Here are some great tips for optimizing your homepage for both the user and the search engines.


#8.  Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part IV: Link Authority - our final installment of our four piece series on optimizing for Bing.


#7.  Learn About Google Instant with these Ten Great Resources - Google rolled out Instant in September, here is a list of ten great resources to check out in order to learn more about Google Instant.


#6.  Google MayDay Update: Definitive List of Resources - Google MayDay shook up a lot of sites,  Many are still recovering.  Here's a great list of resources on the Google MayDay update from last spring.



#5.  Mobile SEO Tips: The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Search Optimization - 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 forecasts spending to reach $6.5 billion during this same time.  Our post on Mobile SEO tips can help you begin optimizing for mobile.


#4. What’s the Best Way to Deal with a Search Engine Algorithm Update - 2010 Edition - 2010 was the year of the search engine algorithm update.  There were a lot of changes with Yahoo, Bing and mostly with Google.  So how do you deal with an algorithm update?  In most cases, you just need to sit back and hold on.


#3. Bing SEO: 49 SEO Tips for Optimizing for Bing - 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."


#2.  Google Algorithm Changes & Updates 2010: Part One - a look at some of Google's updates from the first half of 2010.  From Caffeine to MayDay, Google had an extremely busy year that has had a dramatic impact on organic search.  Is there more to come in 2011?  We think so.


#1.  What Happens When Link Popularity, well Becomes Less Popular? - So what then happens when link popularity becomes… well less popular?  I am speaking from a search engine algorithm perspective.  What if the engines were to drastically change their algorithm so that link popularity was not as important of a factor as it is today? Find out with this post from July of this year.


There you have it, it has been a busy year for the search engines and for Marketing Jive. We are looking for guest bloggers for 2011. If you are interested, drop us a line on Twitter by visiting @marketing_jive.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, December 19, 2010   2 comments
Top 5 SEO Lists of the Week: Dec. 13th
Friday, December 17, 2010
There were some great posts that came from the Search world this week. We scoured the Internet and came up with some of the best SEO lists from the past week. These lists offer great SEO insight and great reminders about SEO practices that you can leverage to ensure that your content reaches your intended audience. Of course if your site features poor content, well then SEO might not be enough.

In case you missed last week's top SEO lists, you find find it at: Top 5 SEO Lists of the Week: Dec. 6th

Top 5 SEO Resource Lists:  Week of December 13th, 2010

#5.  SEO Strategies for Content Marketers - Online Marketing Blog.  Ok I have said it before, Lee Odden is one of my favorite people in the online marketing world.  He is a bright individual, a great conference speaker and overall good guy.  We have covered some of Lee's thoughts on content marketing previously but this article serves as a great reminder and the importance of how to properly leverage your content for marketing purposes.  You know that when someone talks about developing searcher personas, planning a content strategy and establishing editorial plans that they have a good understanding of content marketing.  Lee Odden is one of the best.  Read more over at Lee's blog.
http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/12/seo-strategy-content-marketers/

#4.  2011 SEO and Social Media Checklist - Search Engine Journal.  Jennifer Horowitz over at Search Engine Journal has compiled a nice list of SEO, blog and social items into a great checklist that we can use for our 2011 SEO efforts.  Some really sound tips here.
http://www.searchenginejournal.com/2011-seo-and-social-media-checklist/26172/

#3.  10 Facebook Pages Every Marketer Should Follow - All Facebook.  This is a pretty good list of some well known resources that you should be following on Facebook.  I am actually not following all of these resources, so if you excuse me, I have to jump over to Facebook and follow a few folks.
http://www.allfacebook.com/10-facebook-pages-every-marketing-professional-should-follow-2010-12

#2.  6 New Tools Every SEO Should Check Out - SEOmoz - I love learning about new SEO tools, especially if they make my life easier and help me digest the information that I need to make sound strategic and tactical decisions.  Rand Fishkin has compiled a list of some great new tools that are out there including:

  • http://ontolo.com/ - link building
  • LDA Content Optimizer - content optimization
  • SERPs Analysis Excel Worksheets - analytics and analysis
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/6-new-tools-every-seo-should-check-out

#1.  The Most Popular Organic SEO Columns Of 2010 - Search Engine Land.  This is probably one of the best lists of the year.  Elisabeth Osmeloski over at SE Land has compiled a nice list of some of the top posts from the past year that have been featured over at SE Land.  From best practices to myths to tool tips and tricks, there really are some great resources listed here.  In fact there are twenty great resources featured.

Great stuff.  Time permitting, I will be releasing some of my favorite posts from the past year in a couple of upcoming articles.  Stay tuned.




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posted by Jody @ Friday, December 17, 2010   0 comments
Top Searches in Google, Bing and Yahoo for 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
There was a lot of change in the Search world in 2010. Google rolled out a major infrastructure change, MayDay algorithm update and drastic changes to their search results page. Yahoo results became replaced with Bing Search and Bing continues to grow their relationship with Facebook.

So have all of these changes affected how or what people search for? Well you be the judge. Here is a look at what people were searching for in 2009 from our post for last year.  Let's compare it with what people were searching for in 2010.

What People Searched for in 2010

Google - here's a look at what people were searching for in Google in 2010.



Fastest Rising
  1. chatroulette
  2. ipad
  3. justin bieber
  4. nicki minaj
  5. friv
  6. myxer
  7. katy perry
  8. twitter
  9. gamezer
  10. facebook
Fastest Falling

   1. swine flu
   2. wamu
   3. new moon
   4. mininova
   5. susan boyle
   6. slumdog millionaire
   7. circuit city
   8. myspace layouts
   9. michael jackson
  10. national city bank


Fastest Rising in Sports

   1. mundial 2010
   2. olympics
   3. espn3
   4. fifa 11
   5. randy moss
   6. miami heat
   7. mourinho
   8. wayne rooney
   9. cricket live score
  10. david villa

In the News

   1. haiti
   2. besiktas
   3. chile
   4. earthquake
   5. lady gaga
   6. iphone 4
   7. jörg kachelmann
   8. menowin fröhlich
   9. mobile technology
  10. oil spill

More top searches in Google for 2010.
  

Bing - here is what was being search for in Bing during 2010.

Most popular overall 2010 searches on Bing:

   1. Kim Kardashian
   2. Sandra Bullock
   3. Tiger Woods
   4. Lady Gaga
   5. Barack Obama
   6. Hairstyles
   7. Kate Gosselin
   8. Walmart
   9. Justin Bieber
  10. Free

Most popular people searched in 2010 on Bing:

   1. Kim Kardashian
   2. Sandra Bullock,
   3. Tiger Woods,
   4. Lady Gaga
   5. Barack Obama
   6. Kate Gosselin
   7. Justin Bieber
   8. Jesse James
   9. Lindsay Lohan
  10. Jennifer Aniston
  11. Michael Jackson

Bing's top Search Results 2010.

Yahoo - Yahoo, while in August had their search results replaced by Bing results also published their top searches for 2010.

Top Searches on Yahoo! in 2010

   1. BP oil spill
   2. World Cup
   3. Miley Cyrus
   4. Kim Kardashian
   5. Lady Gaga
   6. iPhone
   7. Megan Fox
   8. Justin Bieber
   9. American Idol
10.  Britney Spears

Top Searched Obsessions on Yahoo! in 2010

   1. iPhone 4
   2. Lindsay Lohan
   3. iPad
   4. Glee
   5. Jersey Shore
   6. Facebook
   7. Bedbugs
   8. Tea Party
   9. Silly Bandz
10.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (series)

Top Searched Questions on Yahoo! in 2010

   1. How to tie a tie
   2. How to lose weight
   3. How to kiss
   4. How to write a resume
   5. What’s the world’s only immortal animal
   6. Which city has the best tap water
   7. Which natural disaster shortened earth’s days
   8. What is love
   9. What causes lightning
  10. How to boil an egg

View more from Yahoo's top searches in 2010.

Does this resemble what you were searching for in 2010?

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, December 12, 2010   0 comments
Top 5 SEO Lists of the Week: Dec. 6th
As always last week's list can be found at Top 5 SEO Lists: Week of Nov 29th.  Missed some of the latest from the SEO world?  Be sure to check out our Top 5 SEO Lists that we publish each week.  With that here are some of ther lists that we found useful this past week.

Top 5 SEO Lists of the Week:  Dec. 6th, 2010

#5.  Excel Tools for SEO -  Yoav Ezer had a nice little post over at Search Engine Journal with a list of some SEO tools for Excel. As Yoav staetes, "While these tools individually might not compete with the top commercial services out there in terms of premium functionality, they offer lots of useful information right at your fingertips, and are a great starting point for developing your own SEO toolkit." 
Read more: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/excel-tools-for-seo/25942/#ixzz17xMaxIR7
 
#4.  Six Easy Ways to Eliminate Pesky Duplicate Content - Search Engine Guide.  Duplicate content is still a valid SEO concern.  Yet there are a number of simple ways to eliminate duplicate content.  Stoney deGeyter offers a couple of ways to eliminate duplicate content including:
  • removing old files from your server
  • fixing broken links
  • using absolute links
Check out the rest of the article by going to: http://www.searchengineguide.com/stoney-degeyter/six-easy-ways-to-eliminate-pesky-duplica.php

#3.   10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered - a great post over at Hubspot on some typical blog questions that are commonly asked.  Based on a presentation from Dan Zarrella with his scientific webinar series with a presentation analyzing the science behind blogging for business.  Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/7376/10-Common-Business-Blogging-Questions-Answered.aspx

#2.  How to build links when you don’t have linkable assets - http://www.hugoguzman.com.  This post discusses the idea of linkable assets and how to obtain links when you have very few or no linkable assets.  Some of the tips include:
  • Look for sites that link to two or more of your top competitors. 
  • Use social media monitoring tools to identify brand mentions that aren’t accompanied by an inbound link
  • Look for guest posting opportunities
  • Submit to directories.  (although this can have a limited benefit based on the effort required.)
The full list of tips can be found here: http://www.hugoguzman.com/2010/12/how-to-build-links-when-you-dont-have-linkable-assets/

#1.  Comprehensive 2010 SEO Guide to Keywords - a cool little recap of some great keyword tools that you should be using.  You most likely are using some of these tools, but there may be a couple that you were not aware of.  With keyword research being a critical as it is, you can never have enough keyword tools at your disposal.  Bruce Clay.com


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posted by Jody @ Sunday, December 12, 2010   1 comments
Google Instant Preview Tips and Tricks
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
As you may be aware, Google has been busy this year. From infrastructure changes to algorithm updates to a total revamp of their search results pages. A recent change that you may have noticed is Google's Instant Preview. While this is not really innovative, ASK has had their ASK binoculars feature for a few years, Google Instant Preview is a pretty substantial change for Google's search results page.  Launched in early November, Google Instant Preview allows users to get a glimpse into a site prior to clicking through to that site.

Here is how Google Instant Preview appears for Marketing Jive:

Clicking on the magnifying glass to the right of the title will present a preview of Marketing Jive.  This may have an impact on whether or not users will continue to click through helping the user determine if the site is relevant to their search query.  This could have a dramatic impact on certain sites and whether a first time visitor potentially visits your site or one of your competitor's sites.  As a result you might want to take a look at the aesthetics of your website.

Google Instant Preview Tips


Here are a couple of tips to ensure that Google Instant Preview does not work against you.
  1. Ensure you have a visually appealing header - the use of color can be a good thing as you want your site to stand out a little and draw the attention of users who may be using the Google Instant Preview feature.  A conspicuous and visually appealing header can be very beneficial for optimal Google Instant Preview effect.
  2. Avoid using a lot of Flash on your site pages - While Google can index content within Flash files, it is still not ideal and Google has a harder time with Flash than with regular HTML.
  3. Plan your site design - Considering a website redesign?  Ensure that you carefully plan the look and feel of your pages and your overall site design.  Not just for Google and the search engines, but more importantly for the user.  Test out a couple of variation to see which design is more engaging.  Be smart with your usage of graphics, charts, and other visual aids as they ca be used to grab a searcher's attention.
  4. On-Page Elements and On-Page SEO becomes even more important - with Google Instant Preview, Google is forcing the user to potentially look at a site before clicking on it.  Now more than ever, people will be using on-page information to decide on whether it is relevant to their needs.  For example more attention to information that is found in the title and header tags, navigation elements, and in images may be used to determine the value of a page, it’s relevance, and whether or not it’s worthy of an actual click.
  5. Simplify your design - make it easy for users to find the information that they are looking for.  Content silos and clear navigation paths become even more important.
  6. Ensure your site has a modern look - pages that look like they are (or even worse actually are) from 1996 will not cut it anymore.  They just will not be appealing to many users regardless of how great your information, messaging or content might be. 
  7. Color Me Bad or Color Me Good? Use a fitting color scheme, and do not always trust your web design firm.  People react to different visual signals and colors.  Again keep it simple and try not to confuse your site visitors by overdoing it with your color schema.
  8. Leverage you page real estate wisely - avoid making your pages too busy.  Ensure that your important content is in the prime areas of your site pages, above the fold and is easily identified.
  9. White Space is your friend - the use of white space can help direct you site visitors' focus to your important content.  Remember regardless of the visual appearance, your site must be relevant to the searcher and to your site visitor.
  10. Content is King - ha thought you were finished hearing this phrase?  Your content is ultimately the reason people will have either a poor or successful experience on your site.  You become an authority in the minds of Google and your site visitors with well written and useful content.  Content will also be your best asset when it comes to SEO and when it comes to Google Instant Preview.  How you present this content now becomes even more important.

Looking for a few more tips on Google Instant Preview?  Google was nice enough to share a few tips of their own.

Google Instant Preview Tips from Google

In order to get the best advantage of Google’s Instant Previews, Google suggests the following:
  • Keep your pages clearly laid out and structured, with a minimum of distractions or extraneous content. This is always good advice, since it improves the experience for visitors as the simplicity and clarity of your site will be apparent via Instant Previews.
  • Try to avoid interstitial pages, ad pop-ups, or other elements that interfere with your content. In some cases, these distracting elements may be picked up in the preview of your page, making the screenshots less attractive.
  • Many pages have their previews generated as part of our regular crawl process. Occasionally, we will generate screenshots on the fly when a user needs it, and in these situations we will retrieve information from Web pages using a new "Google Web Preview" user-agent.
  • Instant Previews does not change our search algorithm or ranking in any way. It's the same results, in the same order. There is also no change to how clicks are tracked. If a user clicks on the title of a result and visits your site, it will count as a normal click, regardless of whether the result was previewed. Previewing a result, however, doesn't count as a click by itself.
  • Currently, adding the nosnippet meta tag to your pages will cause them to not show a text snippet in the results. Since Instant Previews serves a similar purpose to snippets, pages with the nosnippet tag will also ignore previews. However, think carefully about opting out of Instant Previews... as with regular snippets, previews tend to be helpful to users. Previewed results were more than four times as likely to be clicked on. URLs that have been disallowed in the robots.txt file will also not show Instant Previews.
  • Currently, some videos or Flash content in previews appear as a "puzzle piece" icon or a black square. Google is working on rendering these rich content types accurately.
Google Instant Preview should actually force you to take a good luck at your web site because you know that the searchers out there may be taking a closer look and are determining whether or not your site makes the grade.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, December 08, 2010   0 comments
Top 5 SEO Lists: Week of Nov 29th
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Last week's top five SEO lists.

 #5.  Top 5 Search Engine Optimization Audit Quick Tips - BillHartzer.com.  Bill discusses a couple of best practices with regards to optimization items such as:
  • 404 errors
  • Repetitive Title Tags
  • Improper url strings
  • Website Structure Review
  • External CSS Files
http://www.billhartzer.com/pages/top-5-search-engine-optimization-audit-quick-tips/


#4.  Six On-Page SEO Basics Revisited - Search Marketing Standard.  You can never get enough of these reminders.  Why do site owners continue to neglect these fundamentals?   From optimization of title tags and meta descriptions to the proper use of anchor text and alt tags these reminders are items that you should have addressed long ago.  This is a pretty basic list but good reminders none-the-less. 
http://www.searchmarketingstandard.com/six-on-page-basics-revisited


#3.  Top 10 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Blog - Search Engine People.  Blogging is a great form of content development that can assist your SEO and online marketing efforts greatly.  In addition, a blog can be a great way to drive additional traffic to your website.  This post from Kirsty LaVier shares ten tips on how you can get more out of your blog traffic or at least how you can get your blog to drive more traffic.
http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/increase-traffic-blog.html


#2.  9 Step SEO Checkup Using Google Webmaster Tools - Search Engine Land.

You should already be using Google Webmaster Tools.  If you don’t yet have Google Webmaster Tools running on your site, setup is easy. Sign in to your Google account, then go to Google.com/webmasters/tools and follow the instructions. You’ll either need to upload a single file to your site, or add a simple META tag. If you’re using WordPress, you can use one of several easy plug-ins to handle the job for you.

This piece from Ian Lurie includes some nice tips and tricks of using Google Webmaster tools.  For example reminders that you can use GWT to:
  • Test your rich snippets
  • Tweak sitelinks
  • Submit video sitemaps
  • Submit and diagnose your XML sitemap
http://searchengineland.com/9-step-seo-checkup-using-google-webmaster-tools-57061

#1.  45 New Link Building Resources: the "Signal Builder" Edition for 11/19-12/02 - http://ontolo.com.  This is a newly updated list of link building resources with some fun stuff included as well.  While not everything might be specific to your needs, you are bound to find a resource or two from these lists that will help you with your link building efforts.
http://ontolo.com/blog/45-new-link-building-resources-signal-builder-edition-1119-1202




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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, December 07, 2010   0 comments
SEO Tips: URL Best Practices 2011 Update
Thursday, December 02, 2010
As we move into 2011, it is important to remind webmasters and site owners of the importance of URL structure.  While recent discussions suggest that Google may be paying less attention to keywords in URLs, my experience is definitely showing otherwise.  Over the past twelve to eighteen months, I have actually seen keyword placement in URLs to have somewhat of a significant impact on sites that place well in Google's search results.  A search friendly URL and more importantly user friendly URL can go a long way with your optimization efforts.  I have discussed URL best practices in the past but felt that it was time to update and provide some reminders about URL best practices.

Having search engine friendly URLs can provide a great lift in placement within the search engine results.  A search engine friendly URL is one that is static (i.e. with no dynamic parameters), is short and contains relevant keywords to the page.

Proper URL structure is one of those items that can have a great impact on your site rankings in the long run. Conversely terrible URL structure can have an immediate negative impact on your search engine visibility.  The folks over at SEOmoz have put together a number of fantastic posts on seo-friendly URLs complete with a great visual that we have produced below:
Courtesy of: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/seo-cheat-sheet-anatomy-of-a-url

 URL Best Practices:  2011 Update
  1. Plan your site hierarchy carefully.  Avoid burying your content deep within your site. Use fewer folders. Try to keep your important site content less than three or four folders deep. If you don't treat your content as important why would you expect the search engines to?   Acceptable: http://www.your-site.com/pages/content/products.  Ideal:  http://www.your-site.com/products
  2. Describe Your Content - to promote the theme of your site, where possible try to ensure that your URLs accurately reflect the page content.  If you have a page on widgets, make sure that the URL is reflective of that.  A well optimized URL for this page may look something like: 
    http://www.your-site.com/products/widgets
  3. Shorter URLs are better than longer ones for usability as they are more easily remembered.  URLs such as http://www/your-site.com/products/red-widgets will be easier to remember than say http://www.your-site.com/pages/content/products/redwidgets
  4. Avoid use of numbers as opposed to using descriptive keywords. The exception may be incorporating the date into URL. Of course with blogs and archived data, many URLs tend to contain a number sequence reflective of a defined time period.  There are exceptions to this practice.  For example, if you have a page about 5 prong widgets, a well optimized URL might look like:  http://www.your-site.com/products/5-pring-widgets (in this case we have used both numbers and descriptive keywords)
  5. Use hyphens as word separators - You can use underscores ("_") or hyphens ("-") but hyphens tend to look better and are preferred by many (search engines prefer the use of a hyphen over an underscore.)  http://www.your-site.com/products/red-widgets is preferred over http://www.your-site/products/redwidgets or http://www.your-site.com/products/red_widgets
  6. Static URLs tend to be shorter and more effective than dynamic URLs. Search engines have been pretty forward in saying that they prefer static URLs.  Example of Dynamic URL:  http://www.your-site.com/products/red_widgets/123?/N-abc-999900721
  7. Sub-domains can be effective if you have the supporting content and a strong "theme" to back them up.  Example:  delivery.widgets.com/red-widgets
  8. Be consistent with naming conventions - this just makes sense does it not?
  9. If you change a URL, be sure to always use permanent 301 redirection – where possible avoid changing the names of URLs frequently.  If you need to change the file name of the URL, be sure to redirect the old page/URL to the new page URL via a 301 redirect.  Avoid using a 302 as they will not help transfer link popularity.  Remember that anytime you change the name of a URL you affect SEO components such as:
    • Interlinking between that page and other site pages
    • External links pointing to the old page
    • Potential existing search engine rankings for the existing (old) page
    • Google PageRank of the existing (old) page
Google has also communicated URL best practices through their Webmaster Tools blog. 

Google's Tips for Optimized URL Structure
  • Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers). For example, if you're searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f1, is much less appealing to users.
  • Consider using a robots.txt file to block Googlebot's access to problematic URLs. Typically, you should consider blocking dynamic URLs, such as URLs that generate search results, or URLs that can create infinite spaces, such as calendars. Using regular expressions in your robots.txt file can allow you to easily block large numbers of URLs.
  • Wherever possible, avoid the use of session IDs in URLs. Consider using cookies instead. Check Google's Webmaster Guidelines for additional information.
  • Whenever possible, shorten URLs by trimming unnecessary parameters.
  • If your site has an infinite calendar, add a nofollow attribute to links to dynamically created future calendar pages.
  • Check your site for broken relative links.
  • Consider using punctuation in your URLs. The URL http://www.example.com/green-dress.html is much more useful to us than http://www.example.com/greendress.html. We recommend that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.


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posted by Jody @ Thursday, December 02, 2010   3 comments
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