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10 Great Mobile Resources to Checkout
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Mobile is coming, mobile is coming!!! Wait mobile is already here.  In fact in some parts of the world, mobile has been around for quite some time.  When I say mobile, I am really referring to mobile marketing.  I am still not seeing a lot of organization leverage mobile marketing as well as they should.  Innovation in the mobile field has produced some pretty sick (in the good kind of way) technologies.  Just think of all of the cool smartphones out there.  We have all seen the stats on global mobile usage, so we know that mobile is only going to continue to explode.  For those of you not in the know, according to the International Telecommunication Union from October of 2010, there are 5.3 billion mobile subscribers (roughly 77 percent of the World's population).  As a consumer or as a marketer mobile now touches you like never before.  We are truly in an age where we cqan "reach out and touch someone" at anytime and pretty much at any place.

So just how does one keep up on top of mobile trends and technologies?  I'm not a mobile marketing expert by any means, although we have featured pieces on mobile search in the past with posts such as our popular Guide for Mobile Search Optimization.  I find the world of mobile search fascinating so as I was researching some data and looking for mobile stats, I came across a ton of great resources on mobile that I thought I would share.  Some of the reources are simply recent articles of the opinon variety while others are full blown mobile specific sites.  Regarless, I think that you will find value in many of the folowing mobile resources.

10 Great Mobile Resources to Checkout

These resources are in random order so feel free to check them out at your leisure.
  1. Mobile Marketing Watch - http://www.mobilemarketingwatch.com/
    Stay up-to-date on the latest mobile news with fantastic insight into mobile technologies, devices and companies.  Great resource for both consumers and marketers.  The site features a number of useful resources including a section on whitepapers and a look at predictions for the mobile industry http://www.mobilemarketingwatch.com/category/mobile-resources/in-the-news/predictions/.
  2. Mobile Design and Development - O'Reilly.com
    http://oreilly.com/iphone/excerpts/iphone-mobile-design-development/mobile-web-development.htmlThis is a great one-stop shop resource for learning about the fundamental principles and techniques for creating designs for multiple mobile devices.  This is but an excerpt from the book "Mobile Design and Development" by Brian Fling.
  3. Mobile Shopping Trends (Infographic) - Read Write Web.  Some interesting stats for the ecommerce and retail folks.   Learrn how consumers are leveraging mobile as they make their purchase decisions.  Did you know that it is estimated that world e-commerce sales in 2015 that take place via a mobile device will be $119 billion?
     http://rww.readwriteweb.netdna-cdn.com/assets_c/2011/06/the-intellegent-shopper-30494.php
  4. Top 3 Takeaways From Google’s Inside Search Event - Bryson Meunier.  Fun quote from the article: 
    As Google’s mobile ads team put it in a webinar last month, for a business to not have a mobile site to engage the 15-30% of Google queries that are mobile is like “not engaging with your customers on a Thursday—literally like having your doors closed.”

    http://searchengineland.com/top-3-takeaways-from-google%E2%80%99s-inside-search-event-82531
  5. Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 - http://www.w3.org/TR/mobile-bp/.  Just a good resource to bookmark.
  6. Automatic mobile rendering for Google Sites - a recent post that shows you where Google may be heading with regards to mobile. http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2011/06/automatic-mobile-rendering-for-google.html
  7. dotMobi - http://mtld.mobi/ One of the great resources from dotMobi is their inventory of industry trends http://mtld.mobi/resource/why-mobi
  8. Nearly 80% of "On-the-Go" Audience Shops on Mobile, 72% Buy Local Deals - interesting data on what the "busy" kids are up to these days when it comes to mobile usage.
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/80_percent_shop_on_mobile_72_percent_buy_local_deals.php
  9. JiWire Mobile Audience Insights Report - some great inisght into recent mobile usage trends and where we can expect to see growth.  This is really a tremendous resource for those looking for mobile demographics.  Here is a sneak peek at some data on the top 10 mobile devices being used in the US based on data from Q1 2011:


  10. 14 Differences Between Mobile Search & Desktop Search Results - another informative piece from Bryson Meunier over at his Search Engine Land coolumn.
    http://searchengineland.com/14-differences-between-smartphone-search-desktop-search-results-74687
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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, June 28, 2011  
Future Google Panda Algorithm Updates Coming Soon
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
There is a lot of discussion that Panda 2.2 is currently happening or will be released this month. (We have yet to see concrete proof of this). As a result, we should be prepared to mitigate any traffic disruptions from Google.

 
One hint that keeps coming up re: future algorithm updates is with regards to duplicate content. Google engineer’s, such as Amit Singhal, have commented on this with regards to Panda:
"Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?"
Last week at SMX Advanced, Matt Cutts confirmed that Panda 2.2 will be looking at targeting scraper sites and re-publishers of content.  Other interesting findings have been divulged from Google:
  • Matt Cutts reversed his advice and now recommends a site almost never use nofollow on their links
  • Content to ad ratios must be adhered to
  • Google will be cracking down on over-SEO’d sites
  • social metrics (Google +1) will continue to play increasingly important roles in their ranking algorithms
We have discussed some of the factors that seemed to trigger the Google Panda update previously.  A number of these items continue to be the focus of Google's subsequent "Panda enhancements".  As a result of Panda, and with future algorithm updates expected, the key items that should be addressed include:

 


  1. Duplicate Content / Clear Canonical Signals – especially when it comes to content syndication. It there is significant duplicate content (either on-site or off-site) there is a need to have strong canonical signals in place. Quite honestly, Google needs help in understanding who the originator of a piece of content is.  Google's crusade against duplicate content has been an admirable one, yet is this a battle that even the mighty Google can win?  Think of all of the content that is produced on a given day?  There are an estimated 1.6 million blog posts everyday.  That is like 584 million posts a year.  A half a billion new pieces of content per year just from blog posts.  People are web-happy as there are over 60,000 new websites added to the Web everyday.  Of all of this content, duplicate content will be inevitable.  There will always be duplicate content on the Web.  The job to decipher and sift through all of this content is something that mere algorithms cannot do alone.  Duplicate content is a leading contributor to web spam and irrelevant content that currently pollutes the Web.  It will be up to site owners and web master to ensure that their content is unique with clear canonical signals for engines such as Google.  Failure to provide unique content that delivers value to its intended audience will only result in more Web pollution. 
  2. Placeholder pages / low quality content – Google continues to recommend either removing these pages or enhancing them to improve the quality of them.  This comes straight from their webmaster guidelines.  I would even go so far to suggest that nearly all sites out there have some form of placeholder pages within their site's composition.  An easy way to check is to use your analytics and look at things such as top referring pages or most popular pages.  Examine the pages that are consistently found at the bottom of this list.  Why is that?  Is it simply because they are not optimized, or is it a case that these pages simply serve no purpose to your audience?   Now is as good as time as any to revisit your content and really take a deep dive to determine if your content is a useful and beneficial or is it just a content placeholder?  If you want to be proactive with future Google algorithm updates and future variations of Panda, clean up your content.  It's not rocket science.
  3. Content to Ad Ratio – keep the user experience in mind with any pages that feature advertising (affiliate, AdSense) on them. The ads should not be dominating the composition of the page.  People create content for different types of reasons, some good and some bad.  If you think about it, Google has contributed to the whole "content is king" mentality only to find themselves struggling to determine the true value and quality of this content.  Creating content for the sake of generating Ad Revenue is something that not only advertisers have been leveraging, but bloggers, publishers, and even kids in their basements all have been producing for years.  How many makeshift directories have you come across that are flogged with AdSense or affiliate advertising.  The bottom line is that site owners can still incorporate advertising with their content, it is just that this advertising should not overpower or dominate the page.
  4. Fresh / Timely Content – this could be in the form of new content or adding content to existing pages. A content refresh strategy may be required. Another form of improving the quality of content on pages and to entice social engagement.  There seems to be a consensus that to do well in search you have to create content and create more content, but the fact is that content development does not just mean writing 100 articles or creating another 20, 000 pages for your site.  Enhancing your existing content can be a great way for Google to find out just how authoritative your content can be.  Adding new stats to an existing page.  Adding new product features or testimonials to a product page.  Responding to comments on a blog post, and the list goes on, you can see how easy it is to enhance content by simply adding to the pages that you have.  You do not always need to create a new page of content to perform well in search.
  5. Dealing with Directories – Google has been targeting directories for the past couple of years. Look for Google to target things like search results from directory-type sites even more in the future. Google is not a fan of “displaying search results within their search results”.
  6. Social Signals – Facebook “likes’ and shares continue to be important as are other social engagement metrics such as Twitter activity and links from social sites.  The search engines have no choice but to incorporate social factors in their ranking algorithms.  For the simple reason is that these are the environments and communities where the masses are gathering.  How many of you "login" to Google before bed each night?  How many of you check Facebook or login to Twitter before bed?  Online activity has changed and is continuing to change and search engines  such as Google realize this.  Google is no longer the only game in town.  However they still dominate Search in various markets around the world.  If you want to continue to perform well in Google post Panda, you need to factor in social activity.  Ensure that your site employs social engagement triggers that allow your site visitors to share, or tweet or link or blog about what they experienced on your site, with your brand or with your products/services.
Some say "what's old is new again", but with Google and their algorithm updates, change is the only constant.  Failure to change and adapt to the Google algorithm will only mean traffic woes for your site.  If you are reliant on Google traffic you need to play by their rules and keep on top of their updates and algorithm changes.  Is it advisable to be so reliant on traffic from Google?  The honest answer is no because as we have seen with a mere algorithm update, Google can dictate and control your online fate, that is if you let them.  There will be updates to Google Panda.  There will be future algorithm updates.  Do not expect things to remain as they have been, do not try to game Google results, because just when you think you have, Google will roll out another update.  Become an authority in your field, do not worry about individuals rankings, focus on delivering what your audience is looking for.

Additional Google Panda Resources

Coming Soon: Google Panda Update 2.2 – Search Engine Land
http://searchengineland.com/coming-soon-google-panda-update-2-2-80848


The Panda Enigma: An Overview of Major SEO Factors - Adam Audette, lead SEO strategist for Zappos
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2076480/The-Panda-Enigma-An-Overview-of-Major-SEO-Factors




High Quality Web Sites – The New Google Ranking Factor – SEO Gadget
http://seogadget.co.uk/high-quality-web-sites-the-new-google-ranking-factor/
 
http://twitter.com/marketing_jive


 
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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, June 14, 2011  
Mobile Activity in Canada
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Last week, comScore shared some interesting information about mobile behaviors in Canada.  This coincided with comScores launch of their mobile measuring product, comScore MobiLens in Canada.  This product presents a leading view on the Canadian mobile media landscape (as well as US, European and Japanese landscapes). 

Some of the findings specific to the Canadian market included:
  • in March 2011, 40.6 percent of mobile users in Canada used an application on their mobile device
  • 32.7 percent used a mobile browser
  • 35.2 percent of the mobile audience leveraged mobile to access news and information
  • 25.4 percent of the audience used mobile to access social environments or blogs
  • 64.5 percent sent text messages while 48.9 percent used their phone to snap a picture


It also looks like there are more Blackberry subscribers/users than iPhone subscribers/users as Research in Motion (RIM) has a 42% share of  Smartphone subscribers.  Apple is second with 31%.



About comScore MobileLens

According to comScore,
comScore MobiLens™ provides an unparalleled view of the U.S., European, Japanese and Canadian mobile media landscapes, connecting data on mobile consumer demographics and behavior with device capabilities to help you understand key technology and consumer trends in the dynamic mobile media market.
For marketers, this product will assist in:
  • Understanding where your target audience can best be reached on mobile—SMS, mobile web or downloaded application
  • Creation of mobile media plans that target specific demographic segments
  • Staying on top of the fast-changing mobile market
A great resource for gaining insight into the mobile audience.

http://www.comscore.com/Products_Services/Product_Index/MobiLens

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, June 09, 2011  
Google Logo Dedicated to Les Paul
There have been some great Google logos over the years, but I have to say that is quite possibly my favorite Google Logo/Google Doodle of all time. The Google Logo is Guitar Tuner in Honor of Les Paul, the legendary musician who would have turned 96 today.

Les Paul died in August of 2009, and was possibly most famous for inventing the solid-body electronic guitar which really became the genesis for rock n roll.  Although known as a musician, Les Paul was a tremendous inventor with his development of multitrack recording, overdubbing, and various effects such as delay and phasing effects.  A true pioneer and pne of the greatest gifts to music that we have ever seen.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, June 09, 2011  
5 Things Preventing You from Ranking in Google
Monday, June 06, 2011
What's Preventing You From Gaining Visibility in Google?

Like any site owner, you are probably wondering how you can rise to the top of Google and other major search engines? Well there is no fast way to do this and nothing is guaranteed when it comes to organic search. Quite honestly it takes time and a lot of work to capture organic visibility in Google.

Google has had unprecidented change with their SERPs in the past 12-18 months. More so in the past 6-9 months, making it ever increasingly difficult to "rank well" in Gooogle's naturnal search results. So just what is preventing you from ranking well in Google?  What is preventing you from gaining visibility in Google?  Well it could be any number of things, but here are some items to consider.

5 Things Preventing You From Ranking in Google
  1. Competitiveness – simply put there are certain verticals/industries/key phrases that are much more competitive than others and as a result will be more difficult to rank for.
  2. Google Algorithm changes – in October 2010, Google again began placing more weight on brands for branded searches.  Previously where a brand would have the top two listings for their branded terms in Google, they now had as many as eight of the top ten listings which has subsequently pushed other resources off of the first page of results.  As an example, a search for “pizza hut” in Google.com has pizzahut.com occupying the top 7 organic results as seen here:
  3. Google & Directories – Are you a directory type site?  It is no coincidence that since late 2009, Google has been targeting directories (either right or wrong) within their search results.  Some suggest that Google finds directories as a form of competition and as a result rank these directories accordingly.  Recent algorithm updates such as Panda have seen a number of directory-type sites incur a decline in rankings within Google results.
  4. Google’s Focus on Quality Content – Google’s recent updates and upcoming algorithm updates will continue to focus on what they perceive a “quality content”.  This means that sites with higher quality content will be the ones that will be gaining the exposure in the search engines.  A word of warning, clean up your duplicate content.
  5. Dynamic nature of the SERPs – going back to June 2007 with the launch of Google’s Universal search results and with blended results from other search engines, the results pages of Google have undergone a massive transformaiton over recent months.  Optimizing for blended search and such can help you capture some of the valuable landscape that has become a Google search results page.

While I am not going to get into details on how to overcome these areas. these are definitely some items that might explain why you are not seeing yourself for various key phrases within Google's results.  Of course if you have technical or site architecture issues, you might have larger items to address.  If you are targeting the wring key phrases you might wantto revisit your keyword options.  There are a large number of factors as to why you may not have the visibility that you desire in Google.  After all we are all at the mercy of the mighty algorithm.





Image courtesy of: http://myseopandit.com/blog/category/techionary
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posted by Jody @ Monday, June 06, 2011  
Schema.org Providing a Richer Web Experience from Major Search Engines
Friday, June 03, 2011




A fairly substantial announcement from the major search engies with the anouncement of schema.org.  Schema.org is basically an accumulation of schemas such as HTML tags that can be used by webmasters to markup their pages to provide more information to the search engines.  Not unlike meta data, which is data about data, schema.org provides access to structured data that the search engines can display in their search results.  According to the schema.org site,

On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.
Benefit of Schema.org:  Schema.org provides a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!

This is a good thing as it can further help search engines determine what a page is actually about, especially if there are semantic differences with a given topic or object (say "Apple" as an example).

What is Microdata?

Microdata is a proposed feature of HTML5 intended to provide a simple way to embed semantic markup into HTML documents. - source wikipedia.  Really not unlike metadata, microdata is still data about data, but specifically is data about objects that have properties.  A common example used is the "person" object that has a number of variables such as "name", "age", "address" etc.  Microdata is simply the data about these objects.  More on microdata here.

Example of markup with and without microdata markup - from Wikipedia

Typical Markup about  a page with informaiton about a person:


Same markeup with microdata:

Vanessa fox posted a great piece on the schema.org announcement where she answers the question "What About Microformats & RDFa?"

While Google and Yahoo both have supported their use with their rich snippets and SearchMonkey programs, respectively, neither format is supported as part of schema.org. However, the engines say that the existing support for these formats will continue (even though they imply they’d like you to switch. From the FAQ:
“If you have already done markup and it is already being used by Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo!, the markup format will continue to be supported. Changing to the new markup format could be helpful over time because you will be switching to a standard that is accepted across all three companies, but you don’t have to do it.”
There are a lot of SEO benefits to using microdata.  Here is one example.  Think of the information that a business can share if they have multiple locations or branches.  Using microdata pertaining to an Orgaization > LocalBusiness can be very useful for searchers and users.  http://www.schema.org/LocalBusiness




Announcements from the Big 3 Search EnginesGoogle: Introducing schema.org: Search engines come together for a richer web
Bing: Introducing Schema.org: Bing, Google and Yahoo Unite to Build the Web of Objects
Yahoo: Introducing schema.org: A Collaboration on Structured Data

Additional Resources

Schema.org - http://www.schema.org/
Getting Started with Scema.org - http://www.schema.org/docs/gs.html
Microdata Format - http://dev.w3.org/html5/md-LC/

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posted by Jody @ Friday, June 03, 2011  
Understanding Google +1
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Back in March, Google began testing their +1 button. It was being tested as a mechanism that could be used to recommend content to your friends and contacts directly from Google search results and ads.  Today, Google officially launched their +1 button for websites.  So just what is Google +1?  According to Google, "+1 buttons let people who love your content recommend it on Google search".  Think of it as Google's answer to Facebook's "Like" button.

Google has been communicated the fact that they are, and will continue to leverage social signals and site engagement signals as part of their ranking algorithms.  Google +1 button is a mechanism that can be used by users to recommend content that they find useful.  Quite honestly the +1 button is a mechanism is another way for Google to help identify "quality content" in their search for improving their search results post Caffeine.  It makes sense does it not?  Improving search results with recommendations from searchers.

But will people accept it?  Being third to market does not always deliver success.  I mean we already had the Facebook "Like" button, will people accept and use the Google +1 option?  Google suggests that "The +1 button is shorthand for "this is pretty cool" or "you should check this out." really Google?  +1 is yet another attempt by Google to re-enter the social arena an area where they have not been successful as of yet.  Where  +1 might become of use is when we examine the trust factor of a site.  There is no better way of aggregating user behaviour than through user recommendations or information that is voluntarily offered for free.  Trust is a key factor in social environments. One of the examples used clearly defines this:  a movie review from an expert is useful, but a movie review from a friend who shares your tastes can be even better.  

As of today,  +1 activity continues to show only on English-language search results on Google.com but Google is planning to roll it our worldwide. 

Google +1 Specifics

Who:  Google
What: +1 Button for sharing meaningful content.
Where:  Google search results, Google Ads, across the Web on websites featuring the  +1 button
When:  June 1, 2011
Why:  Google's response to Facebook's "Like" button and Twitter's "Follow" button

10 Google +1 Tips

Here are ten hints and tips for using Google's +1 button.
  1. Google recommends using the +1 button in conjunction with the “rel=canonical” tag.
  2. You must include one <script> tag and either one +1 tag or a call to the render functionality.
  3. +1 must be performed on a public URL.  If the URL is not public, the result will be an error.
  4. The URL that is +1'd is determined by one of three things, in this order:
    • The href attribute  
    • If the href attribute of the +1 tag has not been set, the next place Google will look is a link tag with rel="canonical" set.
    • The URL of the page as defined in document.location.href
  5. You can place multiple buttons on a single page that all +1 different URLs by using the href attribute as specified in +1 tag parameters to indicate the URL to be +1'd.
  6. Location of +1 is important - consider placing your +1 button above the fold and close to other sharing features on your pages.
  7. Consider pages speed - although Google states that there are no latency issues by using +1 functionality, Google suggests that by placing the tag at the bottom of the document, just before the body close tag, you may improve the loading speed of the page.
  8.  Ensure that you have Google Webmaster Tools set up so that you can access the +1 dashboard that will become available.
  9. Promote the use of +1 - without being "pushy" consider communicating to your visitors to +1 your content if they feel it is of value.
  10. Read this article:  How Google's "+1" Will Impact The Digital And Interactive Advertising Industries
Need more information on how to add +1 to your content, check out Google's Instruction on Adding the +1 Button to Your Site

From an SEO perspective, Matt McGee over at Search Engine Land reminds us that "When +1 launched in March on Google’s organic and paid listings, Google said it would look at +1 click data “as a potential signal to improve search quality.”  Google continues to look at engagement signals and this is an ultimate engagement signal that Google may use to determine sites that users find of value and integrity.


Related Google Resources

Google's Official Announcement:
The +1 button for websites: recommend content across the web
Google's Original Announcement
http://www.google.com/+1/button/


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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, June 01, 2011  
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