August 18th, 2012 @ // No Comments
With former Googler Marissa Mayer firmly installed as Yahoo’s new CEO, a number of observers have speculated about the changes she’s going to bring. To be fair, it’s been less than a month since she landed her new job. Still, given her background, one assumption seems fair: local search will start to matter more at the venerable search engine.
At least that seems to be the conclusion drawn by Stephanie Hobbs over at Search Engine Land. She pointed out that Mayer was most recently involved at Google with heading up its local, maps, and location services. Her hand was evident in Google’s purchase of Zagat, the launch of Google+ Local, and even in the development of Google Maps. As Hobbs explained, “Mayer lives and breathes local, knows the increasing importance of local search, and is an expert in creating innovative user experiences in the space.”
So what does that mean for Yahoo? Let’s consider Yahoo! Local for a second. It was potentially on the chopping block in April, but survived. Check it out; it’s a gorgeous, information-filled platform that anyone looking for something to do in their area would find helpful.
When Yahoo followed up its decision to keep Yahoo! Local with launching Yahoo Marketing Dashboard in May, that may have seemed to many like it solidified the company’s commitment to local. YMD, in case you haven’t tried it out, is a free service aimed at small business owners. It offers a number of services, including tools to track your online reputation, business listings, traffic and campaign management, and more.
Just because you get a good-looking experience when you visit Yahoo! Local doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Already, 22 million visitors appreciate it every month – but that’s much less than Yelp’s 71 million monthly users. So what changes is Mayer likely to make here?
Right now, businesses wanting to be listed on Yahoo! Local must choose between a free basic listing with phone number, address, hours, and products and services; or a paid, enhanced listing with logo, tag line, photos, and detailed description. Mayer understands the importance of the user experience – and the major role that well-organized content and information plays in that experience. Hobbs expects her to get rid of the paid listing, and strongly enhance the remaining option to “to allow businesses and users to add much more content ranging from menus to videos.” Look for the ability to create much richer business profiles on Yahoo! Local.
Mayer won’t be able to immediately reproduce Google’s purchase of Zagat, but she might manage a partnership with a local review site. This would allow Yahoo to add more reviews, deals and social features to its local search. Mayer has said before that you need great reviews to get local search right. Odds are that some kind of deal with Foursquare, or a site like it, may already be in the works.
Likewise, according to Hobbs, Mayer will also be thinking in terms of integrating even more social media into local search. The new Yahoo CEO played a major role in Google+ Local, so she understands how important it is to get this right as well.
There’s something else Mayer did at Google that we can hope to see her do at Yahoo, particularly with Yahoo! Local – clean up the design. Hobbs expressed her own hopes for a visual makeover at Mayer’s new company. “Right now, the site lacks the clean and streamlined design that many credit Mayer for championing at Google,” Hobbs noted. “We might expect Mayer to lead a major redesign of Yahoo that would extend into local…and vastly improve the ability of businesses to share content and users to find it.” To be fair, Yahoo has always presented a more “cluttered” interface than Google; how much Mayer can change that and still have the site still feel like Yahoo remains to be seen.
Hobbs goes into greater detail on several other areas she thinks Mayer may look at improving at Yahoo! Local. But I’d say the most telling point she makes is in Yahoo! Local’s demographic. It’s older and wealthier than local search on Google. “According to Nielsen data provided by our friends at Bing, more than 30% of Bing/Yahoo searches come from users in the 55+ age demographic, and more than 20% have household incomes greater than $100,000.”
That’s a pretty sweet target, especially when you consider that you can reach it with less expensive ads than you would be if you were trying to use Google. In that case, we’re talking supply and demand; Google’s local ad market is more saturated than Bing/Yahoo’s.
Does this mean you should start adding Yahoo! Local to your marketing plan? Well, you don’t need to do it right away, but you should certainly keep an eye on where Mayer’s going with her plans for the company. Depending on how it goes, it could make a lot more sense – and dollars – for you to shift some of your advertising budget in that direction. Good luck!
August 18th, 2012 @ // No Comments
You might be surprised to hear that the team at Microsoft working on Bing does a lot more than search. True, the company’s Online Services Division (OSD) deals with its search platform and search advertising. But it also boasts hundreds of developers hard at work writing apps for other platforms.
According to Mary Jo Foley, writing for CNET, the main focus of these developers is the Windows 8 tablet, Windows Phones, and the Xbox gaming console. Their applications often include Bing and MSN data and elements. If you’ve checked out Windows 8 and seen some of the interesting apps that come with it, you’ve probably seen their work.
So what kinds of applications are we talking about? They cover news, travel, finance, weather, sports, and maps. In short, these are quintessential search-related apps, so it’s only natural that a team working in the same department as a search engine would create them. To be fair, though, this group may work in the same division, but it boasts a different name: AppEx, short for “Application Experiences.”
The AppEx team still reports to the same head as the Bing core engineering team, however: Brian MacDonald, corporate VP of Online Services. Don’t let the “corporate” part fool you; MacDonald can claim some serious applications experience. He used to head the NetDocs team, a group that was trying to create an Internet-centric office suite. This happened before Microsoft had completely embraced the Internet and the cloud, apparently, since the company killed NetDocs because it would compete with Microsoft Office. (I have to wonder what MacDonald thinks of Office 365).
The AppEx group lets Microsoft tap into the big data/cloud assets the company now possesses thanks to Bing. For example, the Bing team created a version of Bing Maps for the Windows Phone. Other apps on the horizon could tap into a cloud at the back end and content built with MSN on the front end.
According to Adam Sohn, Bing’s General Manager, in Online Services “We want to use assets we’ve built to make other Microsoft products more compelling.” So it makes sense that the company would start building apps like this to enhance its various platforms, especially as mobile computing diversifies.
But the AppEx team’s work won’t be just for Microsoft platforms in the future. Foley noted that the group has already done some preliminary work on Bing apps for iPhones and iPads. Heresy? Hardly; given the popularity of those platforms, it’s more like good business sense. No doubt we’ll see more cross-platform Bing-related apps coming out of this group in the future.
August 18th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Over the past few years, the topics I’ve researched, written, and spoken about have evolved. One of the most common questions I’m still asked about is the relationship between social media sharing and SEO performance. Thanks to Rand and his awesome team at SEOMoz, I got access to their Mozscape API and was able to actually start to answer these questions in a scientific way.
To complete this analysis, I compiled a database of more than 25,000 URLs that had been shared at least once on the three major social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LIinkedIn), were at least a month old, and had at least one incoming link.
First, I looked at the relationship between the number of times a URL was Tweeted and the number of incoming links it had pointing to it. I found a convincing positive relationship. Those URLs that got more Twitter love, also got more link love.
Secondly, I looked at Facebook and found, somewhat unsurprisingly, almost exactly the same effect. Facebook popularity is related to inbound link popularity for URLs.
Finally, I looked at LinkedIn sharing. Of course the numbers are much smaller here due to sharing activity being much more common on Twitter and Facebook, but I still found another positive relationship.
For all of the “big three” social media networks, I found that social sharing had a positive relationship to incoming links pointing to a URL. This result is basically what I expected to see. However, when I took a step back and compared the actual Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient of the sharing on the three networks to inbound links, what I found was surprising.
While all three networks did have a positive correlation, the strength of the relationship was strongest for LinkedIn. So, while LinkedIn may be the least obvious choice for sharing activity, it is still incredibly important for marketers also interested in SEO performance.
Looking for more insights into online marketing? Don’t miss the free webinar on August 20th with Rand from SEOmoz and Dharmesh from Hubspot: The State of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2012.
August 18th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Hi SEOmoz fans. I’m Paddy, I work at Distilled. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. We’re going to go through eight link building tips in eight minutes. I’ve just presented at MozCon, and we did 35 ways to get links in 35 minutes. This is a lot shorter, but hopefully you’ll get some good tips out of it.
So, number one, this is a little technique you can use to mine through your competitors backlinks and pull out the links which are good for you. So the process, you go to Open Site Explorer, put in your competitor’s URL, you can download an Excel file, put that Excel file into a Google custom search engine, then you can search for whatever you want. So you can search for guest posts, you can search for competition, you can search for sponsored links, you can find all of these really cool places your competitors have got links and average those guys as well and just piggyback off the back of their link building.
Number two: Go to Meetup.com and search for the word “blogger” and refine the results by your area, and you’ll find local bloggers meeting up in the same place. So you may find music bloggers, design bloggers, fashion bloggers. Instead of emailing all of those people, just go to the event. Go and meet them, say hello, buy them a drink, go and have dinner. It’s a much better way of building a relationship than just firing a bunch of emails out, and this is going to build a good long-term relationship with those guys.
Number three: Build good infographics quickly. Infogr.am is a really, really cool tool for uploading your own data. You can put headlines. You can create really pretty graphs. So without the need of a designer, you can just put out your own infographic really, really quickly. I wouldn’t recommend doing this over and over again. But if you get some good wins with it, take it to your boss and show how, “I did this. I’m not a designer. Get us a designer for a day and let’s see what we can do.” It’s really good for building that case, then showing your boss.
Number four: Finding your competitors’ guest posts. I’m guessing your competitors are doing guest posting as well as you. They’re going to be lazy. They usually write a byline, such as this, so written by “John Smith, CEO of Company X.” Just take a snippet out of that bio and search for it in Google. You’ll find a bunch of other places that they guest post. You can reach out to those guys as well, and you’ve got a few easy win links.
Number five: We did this one at Distilled for a client in the UK. Have a profile page for spokespeople and directors of your clients. So when they get quoted by newspapers, by magazines, you can just ask them to link to that profile page. They may not want to link to your homepage if it’s quite commercial, but they’re quite happy to link to a profile page because they’re not commercial. They’ve got good photos, good information about the person. They’re more likely to link to that than a homepage. Also set up Google alerts for the name of that person. So if that person ever gets quoted, you can go along and take a look at that website. See if there’s a link. If there’s not, contact the website and say, “Hey, thanks a lot for quoting our director. Did you know he’s got a profile page here?” And that’s going to link to the profile page.
Number six: This is a freebie for you guys. It’s a guest blog post search engine. You can get it at http://www.paddymoogan.com/guest-posting-search-engine/, and there will be a link in the blog post as well. When you search this engine for your keywords, you will only see results that accept guest posts. So search for the word “travel,”
search for the word “‘food,” whatever your industry is, and the only results that get returned, you can reach out to and get a guest post. At the moment, there are about 1,500 domains in the search engine. That’s going to grow over the next few weeks as I add more to it, but go away, use it, and get guest posts.
Number seven: This could be a little bit stalkerish, but it’s cool. Amazon have a facility where you can search for other people’s wish lists using their email address. So if there’s a really good blogger who you want to impress, put their email address into Amazon Wish Lists and see if they’ve got one. If they have, maybe send them a gift with a little note saying it’s from your company, you really appreciate the work they do and the blog posts they’re putting out. It’s a great way of building a relationship. They’re going to reply to you. They’re going to say thank you.
Number eight: If you’re doing any kind of content based link building–so infographics, that kind of thing–you probably want people to tweet it. When they do, use a service like Topsy or BackTweets. Go and see who has tweeted your content, click on their Twitter profile, see if they’ve got a website. If they have, approach them and say, “Hey, thank you so much for tweeting about our infographic. Did you know you can also embed it on your blog, and here’s the embed code.” You are going to get a much better response, right, from those people than people who you are just emailing who have never seen that content before. So these guys have already interacted, they’ve already tweeted, they’ve shown they like it. So just take that extra step and see if they can embed it and give you a proper link rather than just tweeting about it.
So that’s it. Eight link building tips in what was hopefully about eight minutes. I’m Paddy. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and thank you.
August 18th, 2012 @ // No Comments
The digital landscape has transformed the way people communicate, share information and receive their advertising. Digital marketing can be integrated into all traditional methods of advertising and PR, making it an engagement marketing essential.
When the physical world taps into the digital world, the “phygital mashups” that are created can really hit your audience in a deeply engaging way. When people interact with a brand in a personal way by participating and engaging, they are far more likely to become brand advocates and word of mouth marketers.
Phygital Marketing engages us by tying into things we do, see and interact with in our everyday life. The London Eye projecting Twitter sentiment about the 2012 Olympics was a great example. The amount of negative and positive emotion in Tweets referencing the Olympics was reflected in a nightly light show during the games, with yellow as positive, green neutral and purple negative.
I still love what Fiat and Leo Burnett Madrid did last year with their Fiat Street Evo app. The app recognized traffic signs as if they were QR codes, and associated each sign with a car feature. Thousands of prizes were hidden behind random signs, but you had to get out on the streets and capture the signs to find them.
A retailer in Brazil recently began in-store real-time Facebook “Like” feeds on clothing hangers for specific products. The intent is to help potential buyers with their purchasing decision by showcasing just how great so many real people think the product is with a live stream. A clever way to bring offline online? Or maybe just a way to find out what everyone else is wearing so you can make sure you don’t buy it if you don’t want to show up to the next happy hour sporting what three other guys are wearing?
There are many ways to acquire customers and keep them engaged. Technology and a sound creative/communication strategy can personalize the marketing experience and keep customers coming back. What out of the box and innovative ways are you using to engage your customers?
Do you think Phygital Marketing is going to continue to grow and become the norm? I know I do.
August 18th, 2012 @ // No Comments
Hi, I’m Nate Babbel, and today I am going to answer the question: How can I improve my page load speed?
Page load speed is incredibly important. A one second delay can cost your site as much as a 7% decrease in conversion rate. And on top of that, if your site is too slow, your Google rankings will be penalized.
I will cover more page load speed tips in a later video.
Do you have a question about SEO, internet marketing or social media? If so, post your questions on the SEO.com Facebook page, Tweet us, or leave a comment on the SEO.com Google+ page. For Twitter and G+ use the hashtag #SEOCOMFAQ. Maybe we will use one of your questions in a future video.