Archive for July, 2009

Get your site ready for Bing Search on Yahoo

July 31, 2009

With the marriage of Yahoo and Microsoft now done, the honeymoon process of integration is going to begin.

The result for us is that rather than three main search engines we will only have two to think about.

With Microsoft recently unveiling Bing as its new search engine model, now is the time to familiarise yourself with the intricate workings of this product.

Many Bing features are substancially different to Google so taking the time to learn how to get the best from Bing as well as how best to present your site to Bing is important.

Read more here;

Bing Webmasters Report

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What will the Microsoft Yahoo tie up mean to you?

July 30, 2009

While it was an open secret that a tie up was on the cards, what is less clear is what the marriage will actually mean. It is being described as a revenue sharing platform, or to put it another way, Microsoft are going to be running their search engine on Yahoo’s pages, along with their ppc and then sharing the revenue with Yahoo.

This will give Microsoft a far larger audience than it has on it’s own, but the question has to be…… If Microsoft has a better search engine, why is it in third place in the tables? Wouldn’t it make more sense to roll out Yahoo’s search engine onto Microsofts platform?

I suppose that the thought is that Bing is a superior product that to date has not had sufficient time to prove itself. On that basis it does perhaps make sense for Yahoo to adopt Bing.

The probably result is that their combined market share will not be hugely affected, it might even possibly be hurt as unhappy Yahoo users defect to Google.

One probable change that will affect the seo community is the loss of Yahoo Site Explorer. Currently the best resource for competitor backlinks numbers, without it an opportunity exists for someone to step in and provide an accurate service.

As we all know, Google won’t release accurate backlink data on competitor sites, Bing doesn’t release anything, and Alta vista takes their data from Yahoo.

How this useful feature of Yahoo is going to be replaced is currently not clear, but there are many in the world of SEO who will need a replacement sooner rather than later.

Google post above expectation earnings

July 23, 2009

Google sees profits rise for second quarter by 19%. while IBM saw a rise of 12%.

Strong performances from two US technology giants have surprised many observers. Google Posted profits of $1.4 bn (£851m) or $4.66 a share, compared with $1.25bn in the equivalent quarter last year.

Revenues increased 3%  for the period at $5.52bn, with just over 50% coming form outside the US.

Google however said ” Paid Clicks fell from the previous quarter, even though they were 15% higher than the previous year.

What this seems to be reinforcing is that as trading conditions become tighter, more business owners are heading for Google as their advertising solution.

IBM put their growth down to better margin performance. Although revenues dropped by 13% as corporate spending fell, cost cuts and a move to more profitable businesses helped it beat earnings forecasts.

IBM also raised their full year forecast. It now expects earnings of $9.70 per share, up form $9.20.

US stocks have have a good week, Intel also posted above expection results.

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Microsoft to offer Office online for free

July 21, 2009

The battle for online dominance between Google and Microsoft shows no sign of letting off. Microsoft are in the process of moving their operations further towards “Cloud” Computing with a free version of Microsoft Office available early in 2010.

It is unlikely that Microsoft would be making this move if it wasn’t for Googles bold attempt to stand toe to toe with Microsoft by launching Google Docs.

Google Docs has only a tiny share of the market currently, mostly personal, but it is currently signing up 3000 business customers daily and this figure is set to rise.

The online version of Office will be a pared down version, so you will still need to buy the full software to use all of its features.

With Microsoft trying to strike back into Googles core revenues with Bing and it’s projected Yahoo tie up, it looks like the next decade is going to be more than a little interesting, as google and Microsoft slug it out for supremacy. One thing is for sure, we are all going to benefit from this ongoing battle and in addition we are not going to be paying for it.

Yahoo and Microsoft close to agreeing a deal

July 20, 2009

After what can only be described as a long and difficult courtship, it looks increasingly likely that Microsoft and Yahoo are going to agree on a deal that will see Microsoft take over the running of Yahoo’s search operations.

In the deal Yahoo will be paid approximately $3 billion (£1.8 Billion) and take a share of Microsofts advertising revenue.

This is seen as the opportunity to create a genuine challenger to Google. Yahoo has a 19% share currently, Microsoft has 8%, Google 65%.

One of Yahoo’s largest investors Carl Icahn, who has built up a 5% holding said over the weekend ” I have been a strong advocate of getting a search deal done with Microsoft.”

Icahn joined Yahoo’s board last year after campaigningto oust the directors. He added “It would inhance value if a deal got done because of the synergies involved.”

It has yet to be seen how this merger will improve the search offering that is currently being offered by either search engine. Google’s success has been in its high levels of customer satisfaction with its results.

Microsofts new search engine offering “Bing” Launched in May has yet to make any significant traffic gains despite Microsoft having a reputed $100 Million marketing budget available.

Twitter….. Realtime News explained

July 14, 2009

Realtime Search:
Realtime search is one of the biggest concepts to talk about in terms of social media. Brett brought up the example of the French airliner that crashed in
South America recently. Information about the incident was available instantly through Twitter.

More significantly, this information wasn’t simply in the form of Tweets about the crash, there was new content being created and linked to in Tweets. This new content, created on the fly and accessed in real time, wasn’t available through Google, Bing or Yahoo yet, but it was in Twitter.

The concept of content discovery in realtime hasn’t really been done (at least not very well) to this point. This is why you’ve been reading weekly rumors of this company or that company being interested in purchasing Twitter.

Marketing:
Social media marketing is entering a whole new level. Business interest in social media started out a lot like business interest started in blogs. When blogs were first coming into vogue, businesses were, for the most part, looking at blogging from a public relations/reputation management standpoint. Of course, as blogs became more and more prevalent businesses increasingly incorporated them into their marketing mix.

The same thing is happening with social media, just a little faster. Take a look at BestBuy and their ‘Twelpforce’ Twitter strategy. They have over 500 people signed up, scouring Twitter looking for folks with questions about plasma TVs and various gadgets.

Social media, particularly Twitter, is moving more and more out of the realm of the ‘optional’ for business. Managing your identity in social media is becoming just as important, if not more, than managing your .com domain. GoDaddy is even going ahead and registering your Twitter accounts along with your domains now.

Just like with your domains, if you aren’t ‘you’ then somebody else is apt to become ‘you’. Twitter registration has evolved to the point that account creation there is just another step in responsible brand management.

Evolution of Twitter:
Now that Twitter has become too big to be ignored and (for many) too important not to use, what comes next? Just as with anything else new on the web, it hasn’t taken spammers long to get into the mix. Spammers have hit Twitter like 7 year locusts. Anyone who has been using the service of a significant amount of time can tell you that the peddlers of porn, mortgage ‘deals’ and pharmaceuticals have arrived en force.

Twitter by nature is completely opt-in so you would think that the spammers would have a hard time with getting much done. Fortunately for the spammers however people are, by nature, just greedy.
The currency of Twitter is (for the most part) your follower count. Whether it’s to increase the effectiveness and reach of your tweets or just to stroke the ego, for many, the Twitter game is largely about growing the follower number.

This has given rise to countless “add 500 followers per day” schemes and mechanisms in order to game the system. The rationale being, if you find somebody with 3000 followers, you are apt to think, “hey, this guy must have something cool to say”. It’s logical enough but unfortunately not necessarily the case.

So, how can you tell if somebody is worth following? That’s a question a lot of people are asking. What is authority? How can you tell if someone is an authority? How do you know the person you are following is even who they claim to be?

Twitter has started verifying accounts for some of the A list set. Celebrities are finding their way onto Twitter in increasing numbers. Prompted in large part by a lawsuit filed by Tony LaRussa, Twitter has started a program of verifying the accounts of celebrities. It’s a step in the right direction which will likely make it’s way from celebrities to businesses soon enough but it’s really just a start. What if you want to find twitter people to follow within niche industries, or within your local area? 

Finding people to follow is easy enough, but how do you tell who is worth following though once you’ve found them?

We are starting to see some sites and services pop up to ‘grade’ Twitterers in an attempt to assign some sort of authority or rank to accounts.  Sound familiar? It should. This is essentially what search engines have spent years trying to figure out for websites.

Personally, I think there is something a little unsettling about the concept of having rank or some arbitrary authority assigned to Twitter accounts, but I suppose it’s probably inevitable to some extent. You can check Klout.net for an example of such a service. Here you will find an algorithmic number value assigned to Twitter accounts.  The ingredients and factors of the algo are (of course) secretive and mysterious, but we’re all used to that by now aren’t we?

So in some regards, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. There’s still a lot of ground to cover with this whole social/Twitter thing.  Remember search? How many search engines did we go through before we got Google? How many Google-killers have come and gone since then?

Social Media is still an area very much in it’s development. There will no doubt be plenty of twists and turns as we move along. However, there is one thing you can absolutely take to the bank: if aren’t in it, you need to get there. For better or worse, “wait and see” strategists have no place in this world.

Google Ban lifted in China

July 7, 2009

Google are once more allowed to provide search in China. Following extensive talks, agreement has been reached. Google only has a 30% share of the Asian search market, Baidu is the dominant market leader with 64% share.

Will Google now be able to make inroads and increase it’s share? It will be an interesting few months for both parties.

Bing’s first months numbers……

July 4, 2009

What sort of a return would you want to see if you were investing $100m in a project? Personally, for that kind of money I would want to see far more than the 1% growth that Bing has achieved fron April figures to Junes. Up to 8.23 from 7.21 while Yahoo also showed a 0.5% rise.

Is this the start of something big? I think the jury is still out on that one.

How to make your Website sell for you – day 1

July 3, 2009

There is one thing that I can guarantee that you require, and that is more sales.

It is a universal issue for every business, large and small. There are many areas that you can focus on in order to gain sales. I want to focus on your online activities.

It would be nice to think that all you needed to do is to publish your website and customers will come running. Sadly this rarely happens, you need to not only drive prospects to your website, but once there you need to convince them to buy from you. There are many things that need to occur in order for your site to make a successful sale, we are going to concentrate on the areas that you can change at little or no cost yourself today.

It is very important that you grab your customers when they land on your site, to do this you need a headline that will show them that you understand their problem and that they have found the answer for it. Most companies treat their website like they treat their advertising, half the ad/website is taken up by their name and logo, and the actual product, service or solution is stuck down the bottom almost as an afterthought.

Switch your priorities and write your website from your prospects point of view, you will increase your sales overnight as each visitor will be sure as they land on your site that you can provide the solution that they require.     

So go now and re write your opening paragraph on your website, so that it no longer reads ” Hi, thanks for stopping by, we are J Kibble and Sons and have been selling English apples since 1874″ to ” Do you miss gorgeous crunchy English apples? We provide the crunchiest apples grown in the UK today……. see our huge variety selection below…..”

Which would you stick around and read?

Tomorrow my next top tip for increased sales…….

Living with Computers

July 3, 2009

I have spent the last two days trying to fix a freezing up problem with a pc in the office. Ordinarily this wouldn’t present too much of an issue, but this pc runs all my seo reporting software for all my clients. As a consequence I have no month end reports to deliver and little hope of producing them any time soon.

The software creator isn’t the most helpful chap so moving to a different pc is time consuming and fraught with agro. My PC man has assured me that it will be working today…… we will see, as i am not convinced.

I have used the reporting software, Agent Web Ranking for a couple of years, and although it is expensive  it has given the most accurate results I have been able to find online. If anyone knows of  a better, cheaper way of providing accurate ranking results then please let me know?

Sometimes I wonder why I work with computers, they make my head hurt!