August 1st, 2012 @ // No Comments
Former Google product manager Marissa Mayer wasted no time making herself at home as the new CEO of rival search company Yahoo. She’s bringing in many new practices that were (and are) staples at her old company. This should do a lot more than just raise morale, though.
Kara Swisher does a great job of covering all the changes. After being spotted in Yahoo’s cafeteria getting her own lunch, Mayer added a weekly all-hands Friday afternoon meeting to the schedule. At the first of these meetings, she announced that the food at Yahoo’s URLs Cafe in Silicon Valley would be free from now on.
For those who don’t know, Friday afternoon all-hands meetings and free food in the cafeteria are classic Google staples. And more seem to be coming. Mayer seems to be planning big changes to the layout of Yahoo’s work areas and buildings. The idea would be to foster a more collaborative environment, probably with a more open floor plan, and add some “coolness” to the place. Mayer is supposed to also be looking at upgrading the goodies you can get at Yahoo’s stores, according to Mayer’s sources. Both of these should make anyone who has worked at Google feel right at home – and it’s putting smiles on the faces of those working at Yahoo (except for, maybe, the accountants).
Arguably, Yahoo employees can use this kind of salve to their morale. They’ve been through years of confusion, poor leadership, and dropping market share. Even so, everyone knows at least some of the reasoning behind these changes; as one of Mayer’s sources quipped, “There’s no free lunch.”
To that end, Swisher reports that “Mayer has been studying org charts carefully this past week” and several sources told her that “she has asked all her direct reports for strategic plans in the next 45 days.” Amid all the cheer surrounding the new CEO of the California-based company, I have to admit this comes to me as no surprise; we could hear the collective sharp intake of breath all the way over here in Florida. Yahoo’s layoffs have been legendary, and there’s no way Mayer will be able to avoid them completely. The seemingly-everything-Internet company is simply too big and sprawling, and Mayer will need to decide where to focus.
One person we do know is definitely leaving was originally pegged by some as likely to become a permanent Yahoo CEO. That’s Ross Levinsohn, who took over as interim CEO from Scott Thompson this year before the board chose Mayer. By some reports, Mayer actually would have liked to have him stay with the company, despite his joining in 2010 Yahoo in 2010 under then-Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. Search Engine Land reported the details of the severance he’ll receive; let’s just say he won’t be hurting any time in the near future, especially if Yahoo’s stock goes up.
So where will Mayer turn her focus next? As a product manager, many hope for a return to creating tech products and improving the ones Yahoo already owns. Some users clearly desire to see Flickr improvements, for instance, and then there’s turning Yahoo Axis into a better mobile browser. That’s just two of many possible examples – and while Mayer may need to make some layoffs related to products and services that don’t make her cut, she’ll also need to recruit new talent. With Yahoo’s campus taking on a more hopeful, more excited vibe, and Mayer’s long history at that other search company, you can bet that some of these great brains will come from Google.
Others will surely come from elsewhere. Yahoo is actively hiring to help make Flickr awesome again, as you’ll note at the first link in the paragraph above. Swisher and other observers think that Yahoo will soon make a splashy purchase of another company with a cool product. Unless that was already in the works before she came on board, I’m willing to bet that Mayer is going to wait at least a month or two; she has some other very important decisions to make, and while she does make quick decisions, they’re never hasty.
Here’s hoping Mayer gets enough time from shareholders and Yahoo’s board of directors to do whatever she needs to do to turn things around. Who knows? We might even stop seeing the company’s name in the press constantly preceded by the adjectives “beleaguered” or “embattled.” Now that would be a change!
August 1st, 2012 @ // No Comments
We’re excited to announce the new SEOmoz YouTube channel! Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/moz. We’ll be adding a bunch of our video content from the last couple of years, including Whiteboard Friday and our just-for-fun videos like Aaron’s First Day. Going forward, you’ll be able to view SEOmoz videos on the YouTube channel a few days after they debut here on the site. We’ll also be doing special YouTube-only content, presentations, and contests – like this one!
A few words from Rand on the contest:
Here’s the rundown:
Create a 2-minute video on your favorite inbound marketing tool or tactic. You’ve got 2 minutes to tell the SEOmoz community why this one thing is awesome and how to use it to get real marketing results. Your video can be as simple as you talking into your webcam ZeFrank-style, or as complicated and special-effects-y as you care to make it, but it can’t be longer than 2 minutes! We’ll be selecting winning videos in the following categories:
The winning videos will be selected based on how informative, entertaining, and actionable they are (infotainable?). Winners will get their videos featured on our YouTube channel (along with a link and shoutout in the video description) and will also win an SEOmoz swag bag!
Entries are subject to the SEOmoz Community Etiquette Disclaimer. Videos must be original content that are not previously posted anywhere else.
Make sure the file name has the your SEOmoz username, or we won’t know it’s from you. When you click the button below, you’ll be prompted to upload your video – simply select the file you want and click “Open.” You’ll see a progress bar letting you know how long you’ve got left for the video to upload, and when it’s complete you’ll see a message saying your upload is completed. The uploader may run a bit slow depending on your connection speeds, so please be patient. Ready to upload? Let us have it:
Submit your video by Wednesday, August 15th. We’ll start announcing the winners on Tuesday, August 21st and will release a new winning video on our YouTube channel every weekday until all the winners have been announced.
August 1st, 2012 @ // No Comments
Google recently updated its claims regarding the ability of other webmasters to affect your rankings via negative SEO. While questions about the efficacy of negative SEO continue to exist, it does not seem to be slowing down the growth of what is arguably the most contemptible part of the search industry.
On July 9th, a good friend of mine reached out to me with a problem. As a very risk-averse webmaster, he constantly plunges into the numbers, especially anchor text diversity, in order to make sure his site is as penalty-proof as possible. The latest updated data in SEOmoz’s MozScape revealed a massive shift towards anchor text over optimization for several primary terms. It took only a few minutes to identify the culprit.
Diagnosing the Damage
The first step was to dig down into all the link data to identify just how deep the damage was. We downloaded all the links available on SEOmoz, MajesticSEO and AHrefs to make sure that we had every possible outlet covered. It didn’t look good. On a primary keyword, the number of unique linking domains with exact anchor text went up 20x in a matter of two days. Below is an example of one of the spam posts.
Now the leg work began of identifying as many negative links as possible. But this is when it got interesting. We were able to quickly identify that there were several sites involved in the attack.
Wait, what? Did you just read what I read? Distilled, the venerable white-hat SEO company was being attacked along side several bingo sites and an insurance liability website. This was too interesting to give up. At that point, I knew my day was shot.
Footprints, Footprints, Footprints
Let me go ahead and get this out – if you are thinking about doing negative SEO and are not a regular practitioner of black hat SEO, you are going to get caught. Sorry, but you just haven’t thought it through enough to cover your tracks. What follows is a perfect example of that.
After digging through several of the XRumer spammed backlinks, most hitting up old .cgi guestbooks and bulletin boards, I noticed a handful of sitewide links coming from poor quality blogs. My first instinct was that these were from hacked sites.
But something was different about these. Normally hackers hide their links in the posts with display:none tags so that the webmasters never actually see the bad links. It is a very effective strategy, but in this case they were fully exposed. So I checked another site that seemed to follow the same pattern.
In this example, the links were included in a post. It is very strange for a “hack” to follow such different patterns, sometimes dropping links sitewide and other times just in posts. So, it was time to investigate these anomalies. Off to one of my favorite sites, DomainTools.
For some reason, people still think that private registration is enough to cover all your tracks. Sure, it helps if you register a new domain and establish private registration at the point of acquiring the domain, but if at any point in your history you had accurate domain registration data, we can get to it. Anyone can. Using the DomainTools Registration History, we were able to track down the original registrant email address to info@——-.com
A Quick Note on Outing
As you have no doubt noticed so far in this post, I am not going to out the perps. We know the motive, and we know the likely perpetrator, but I can’t prove that the parent company knew of the actions, nor even that the SEOs responsible for their accounts were aware of the actions taken on their behalf. I will not allow myself to be responsible for the downfall of a company that may have merely been ignorant rather than malicious, and I certainly won’t open myself up to false flag attacks. That being said, the likely culprits are members of this community, and I believe they have much to lose if they continue in their ways. I can’t prevent you all from connecting the dots, but I won’t paint the picture myself.
So, back to the Investigation.
Now that we had a domain, we had a strong position from which to catapult our investigation. We quickly turned the domain into a twitter account, a twitter account into a link building company out of India. Aside from Distilled, a seemingly random business liability website was lumped into the attack. We were able to determine that the likely culprit owned a site which competes directly with this business liability insurance site. But we were stuck, until my good friend came through and did a quick analysis of the perpetrator’s follow list on Twitter.
After a cursory look, he was able to identify a stinging indictment. Of the 41 individuals the likely culprit was following on Twitter, two worked for a direct competitor of the targeted bingo sites, one of which was the CEO of the company and the other the head of Web Marketing. He also followed Distilled, perhaps waiting to see how they responded when the attack was revealed.
This isn’t quite the smoking gun yet, though, because the connection is not reciprocal. It is a strong indication, but not a nail in the coffin so to speak. But, alas, twitter is only one social media site. After digging deeper and deeper, we were able to find direct conversations of a personal, non-business, nature between the head of Web Marketing for the competitor sites and the likely culprit on Google+.
Of course, this still only shows a link. But, as if the icing on the cake couldn’t get any thicker, here is a nice comment the Director of Web Marketing left on a post about negative SEO just a few weeks ago. As you notice, he is contemplating Google’s updated statement that negative SEO is possible. Seriously, could you make this any easier?
So, what exactly does the evidence tell us…
What do we not know?
If you are a victim of negative SEO, there are a handful of steps you simply have to tag to prevent potential damage to your site.
The Good News
At least at the moment, it appears that the negative SEO attack has been as effective as their ability to cover it up. For the time being, none of the sites appear to have been dramatically impacted by the campaign. However, with looming updates to Penguin, there is no telling. The best bet for any SEO is to stay on top of their backlinks, watching closely to make sure nothing nefarious makes its way into your profile.
After the author wrote this post, Google announced a way to download your most recent links in Google Webmaster Tools that could prove very useful in this situation.
August 1st, 2012 @ // No Comments
Even though online shopping has been around for almost two decades, it is constantly evolving and reshaping the consumer experience. So what does that mean for your bustling eCommerce business? A lot. The web has given consumers more power—the power to move from one business to another within a matter of seconds. So if the power is with the people, where do you go from here?
The Search Era
Online product and service research are two of the biggest activities online. A number of surveys prove that search is the second most common online activity, after email. Even more, the popularity of search spreads across all generations. It’s becoming increasingly clear that implementing a search marketing plan and integrating it in your outreach efforts is practically non-negotiable.
To be seen online and to meet the needs of Internet users and your target market, search marketing has to be in your marketing budget. In a recent Marketing Sherpa survey, it is suggested that search drives an average additional 41% of traffic for companies. For small businesses especially, there is a lot riding on site traffic for more revenue to grow your company.
A Convenient Store
PWC set out to understand how online shoppers are changing retail as we know it. Their research indicates that the ‘convenience factor’ is the driving force behind the growth of eCommerce. ECommerce gives consumers new choices in terms of how they make a purchase and what they purchase—whenever and wherever they want. With this ease of shopping, consumers begin to demand a simple experience from every company, and brands must compete.
An ecommerce website is no longer just a sales outlet, it is a way to actively engage with and connect with both leads and customers. A website allows companies to focus directly on the consumer, keeping up with their interests in real-time.
Customers demand customization when it comes to products and delivery, and enhancing the online experience allows researching and purchasing new products and services much easier and more efficient. Businesses benefit from designing search engine optimized websites that encourage quick and efficient product research. Better yet, making an optimized website helps transform leisure product research into an actual online purchase or a new lead.
An Integrated Approach
Though billions of unique searches are conducted every month, the truth is that people use a blend of platforms for information on a daily basis. Having a search-friendly online shopping environment helps companies align themselves with the overall expectations of online consumers. Companies, therefore, need to be integrating mobile, web, and retail to create a seamless experience. These touch points support multichannel sales and ensure an exciting experience.
Taking advantage of ways to enhance online shopping and search activities can ensure that businesses are found and loyal customers are created online. Is your business taking advantage of search as a major marketing cornerstone?
Previous patients from Castlewood testify that this treatment center doesn’t just save lives—they teach people how to live. Castlewood is a residential eating disorder treatment center that offers individualized programs to help clients change. In fact, the facility has been around for over ten years and now has two peaceful locations in Missouri dedicated to identifying, treating and resolving disorders for a longer lasting recovery.
Before the Internet, potential patients found eating disorder programs and treatment centers like Castlewood based on referrals from their clinical professionals. Now, potential patients primarily get their information online, and treatment centers like Castlewood have to be there.
“Clients use the Internet as the new referral source,” the clinical marketing director of the Castlewood Treatment Center for Eating Disorders, Deanna James said. “They want to see testimonials and they would like to see the treatment center before they go. So, we provide all of that information on our website.”
Potential patients check out websites and social sites to evaluate different care centers for eating disorders. Castlewood sought out search marketing years ago to help the company capture the attention of those seeking freedom and help from eating disorder therapists.
“If we don’t rank high, it doesn’t matter what is on our website. It is really important for us to rank high in order to be seen and we utilize search marketing to do it,” said James.
By ranking high, Castlewood increases its exposure to potential patients seeking better health and care. According to James, about 60 percent of the facility’s referrals come from the web. Potential patients are able to find out about Castlewood because of their online rankings. After the treatment center began working with SEO.com, they secured six keywords in the coveted number one search engine results page position and sixteen additional keywords in the top five positions.
Better yet, the company has experienced an increase in organic website traffic by 554 percent.
“It’s a highly competitive field,” James added. So in the end, the use of search marketing to amplify its reach to help others gave Castlewood a definite competitive edge.
Critics say forcing visitors to open external links in new browser tabs may take away from the user experience— we’re here to tell you it doesn’t. Back in the day, opening links in new windows was frowned upon because it was hard for users to manage. Now, opening external links is simpler with the use of browser tabs. This technique salvages user experience and your hard earned website traffic.
Retain Your Readers
Allowing external links to open in the same tab pushes website traffic away. While your audience appreciates related links in your post, neglecting to have the external link open in a new tab can mean your reader may never return.
When it comes to small businesses trying to gain the most visibility online, they can use all the website traffic they can get. A minor detail like ensuring external links open in new tabs can certainly help.
Keep it Simple
When it comes to website optimization, reducing the number of clicks it takes for your user to take action is a huge priority. If you have external links opening in the same tab it adds to the number of clicks required for the visitor to return and take action.
Similarly, keeping all links in the same tab can create unwanted back-button fatigue. Having external links on the same browser tab creates unnecessary work for users as they have to press the back button multiple times to get to their original spot.
If you’re worried about cluttering a user’s browser, make sure you distinguish your plan of action for both external and internal links. Have external links open in new tabs and internal links remain in the same tab. A balance of both techniques will appease users and benefit your business.
6 Months of Free Local Marketing Giveaway — Enter to win!
Article source: http://www.seo.com/news/link-seocoms-newsletter-july-2012/