Google Press Announcement 9/08/2010 –LiveBlog

This is eVisibility’s liveblog for the Google Announcement on 9/08/2010. Coverage officially starts at 9:30 AM PT.  Please follow this feed as we continue to update prior to the event and during the coverage.

As reported in yesterday’s Google Press Release post, the announcement has been made that there will be an announcement today.  All of the constituents of Google-ville have been left to wonder.  Will it be a major update with real-time search, Google TV, HTML5 or perhaps a curve ball from left field?

9:24 AM Currently the live feed has a repeating video that resembles the takeoff pattern from the Space Mountain at Disneyland.  Maybe this is a foreshadow to the launch of a fiber optic solution for Google TV.   It is wishful thinking as I could certainly use that service.

9:28 AM There was a lot to be said about the interesting Google logo patterns over the last few days.   Some have wondered if this is a clue that HTML 5 will play a major role in the ‘new’ Google.  Then again, it could be just a fanciful way to hearken that a major announcement is imminent.  I joke with coworkers that with the liquidity that Google has, they should buy an island and start a country.   It’s the most profitable endeavor on the grandest scale you could ever partake in.

9:30 AM It looks like we are just about to begin, the feed is working really hard to connect.  If you would like to also listen in you can catch the Google feed at http://www.youtube.com/google

9:33 AM I’ve just been sent a link by a cohort with a description of a product called ‘Google Instant’ which claims to substantially reduce the time it takes to perform a search.  I hope he didn’t just send me the end of the movie Pelican Brief right as I sat down with my popcorn.

9:38 AM We’re still awaiting the feed from Google, but in the meantime I’ve been picking at the Google Instant demo.  It certainly makes for a speedy retrieval of results.   The issue with reducing the speed of result retrieval maybe that consumers will be further trained to engage the organic listings rather than Paid.  I’m sure that Google has done it’s homework.

Google Editorial, SEO No Comments

Google Press Conference Event One “You Won’t Want to Miss.”

Google press release to launch on Wednesday

Google is on the brink of announcing one of its biggest advancements in recent years. Trouble is, no one seems to know just what that advancement is.  Speculation has centered around Google’s search algorithm, with some suggesting that the way we search may be changed forever. However, Google has kept its cards very close to its, no doubt, diamond-encrusted chest and has so far been able to keep its big news under wraps.

Search engine optimization, as an entity, is forever evolving. Those smart, athletic, and physically attractive folks who work in the SEO industry recognize that any news from Google is worth paying attention to–after all, Google is essentially their office, employer, and god.  And this news, Google claims, is big.

However, it’s more likely that the announcement - which as been touted by Google as “an event you won’t want to miss”- will be a disappointment and more of a technical tweak than process overhaul. Still, there is enough of a buzz around those involved in the world of search engine optimization to suggest that the news will be worthy of note.  Whether it will have an effect on the structure of internet marketing companies is another question.

Time to speculate then, I think you’ll agree.

Google's new "doodle" a clue on press release details?

Google's new "doodle" a clue on press release details?

Well, there are a few clues as to what Google’s big announcement might be.  First is their latest “doodle” that was released today and features an array of different colored balloons that fly across the screen when you tease them with your cursor.  Some have theorized that this is to with the transmission of the first ever TV tube picture, which occurred on September 7–in 1927.  Another clue might center on the location of the press release–San Francisco’s art museum.  Art, balloons…What does it all mean?

We’ll find out tomorrow, and so will you by keeping track of our live blog.

Analytics, Blog, Paid Search, SEO, Social Media, The Lighter Side of eVisibility, The Weekly Insider, Uncategorized, eVisibility News No Comments

Mobile Search Engine Optimization: The Cool Leading the Cool

Search Engine Optimization has hit molbile phones

“What do you mean you don’t have a Smartphone?!” This is the sort of bewildered reaction you are likely to get these days if someone finds out you use your pocket-sized communication device for something called “phone calls,” and not for tagging yourself in photos performing illegal acts. After all, Apple just sold over 2 million more iPhones (pretty cool), and Google claims that their consumers are activating around 160,000 Droid smart phones . . . every-single-day! Now that’s cool.

If you are one of the unlucky souls stuck with an ancient relic, insensitive to the need for real time-updating of Facebook profiles, you, instantly, are very uncool.

Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android have taken over the cell phone – sorry, cool people, I mean “Smartphone” – market, separating themselves with intuitive and original applications that combine to make their devices more lap top computer than mobile phone. Now you can check email, update social media, dabble in the stock market, book vacations, and play console-quality games, all from your pocket-sized phone—cool! But the versatility of these phones has created an opportunity. Internet marketing agencies, themselves extremely cool, have had to adopt a whole new angle of attack with this influx of smart phones, adapting their methods to be compatible not just with computers, but with phones as well. Suffice to say, the era of mobile SEO is well and truly here.

The power of internet marketing through mobile phones is clear: You are able to get your message through while people are making casual, yet specific searches. A person may be looking for a place to eat on their phone, and if your ad pops up, we’re talking instant impact. They may be looking for a sporting goods store or a plastic surgeon—anything you can imagine—creating opportunities for marketing with each gentle tap of a touch-screen keypad. The Smartphone has allowed for instant searches, at any time, in almost any place. People can act on the tiniest of impulses, or research a great initiative that might otherwise have been forgotten, along with so many other million-dollar bathroom ideas. It is this luxury of instant access, unrestricted connections to the World Wide Web that has opened the eyes of SEO experts across the world. And boy, are they peering hard.

But the road to effective mobile SEO is not easily traveled. In fact, it’s like rush hour, in LA. I could have gone with the Chilean death road analogy, but seeking out effective mobile SEO is much more frustration than danger. Sites require a lot of tinkering and patience to be transformed to a mobile site. A really effective mobile site needs to be optimized for search, display and use on a variety of mobile devices; however, there are some big problems. First off is cost. For many companies, particularly smaller ones, it is just not worth the investment for a mobile site. This is especially true if the company’s niche is unrelated to mobile searches. For instance, why would your local electric company truly need an optimized mobile site? To be cool? It’s simply not worth the money. Even now, with the current boom of the Smartphone, usage is still only a very small percentage of all web searches. Until that changes – which it likely will – companies can do without a mobile site.

Internet marketing agencies, though, have seized upon the potential for further growth in mobile searches and have gotten a jump start. The most powerful techniques being used to bring internet marketing to the smart phone world are through the use of CPA, or cost-per-action offers. CPA is basically a pricing model for online advertising, in which the advertiser pays every time a specific action – a purchase, survey submission, etc – occurs. And CPA offers such as “OfferMobi” present specifically-targeted CPA offers for smart phones, which could become the next biggest advancement in Search Engine Optimization.

In addition to CPA offers, Google’s multi-million dollar purchase of the Admob platform – simply put, AdWords for iPhones – created one of the world’s largest mobile advertising platforms, which claims to serve more than 7.1 billion mobile banner ads per month across mobile Web sites. Google says that Admob allows for an accurate prediction of the future in this market. NostraGoogle? We’ll find out.

But whether Google can really predict the future or not – it failed to predict that Facebook would surpass it as the most used site in the world – one thing is certain: SEO for mobile devices is presents an enormous opportunity, one that has yet to be fully explored.

SEO 1 Comment

SEO: A Never-Ending (Almost) Story

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Is a Forever-Changing Industry

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Is a Forever-Changing Industry

Of all modern marketing strategies, few are as pliable, fast-paced, and prone to change as Search Engine Optimization. So unpredictable is this industry that internet marketing agencies are forever tracking the most relevant blogs to ensure they don’t miss out on the next game-changing development. Considering the nature of the business, then, it is easy to imagine the difference that a month, year, or decade can make to the process of “SEO.” So, if you’ll not mind humoring me, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane.

It’s the year 2000. Search Engine Optimization is in its fledgling stage, having sprung up as a method of online marketing at some point in the mid-1990s. At least, that’s when the process began being referred to as “SEO.” At this time, DMOZ was - and arguably still is - the leader in web directories and considered a much coveted opportunity for SEO back linking. Search engines commonly used a decade ago included Lycos, AltaVista, Excite, Snap, LookSmart, Go, and Hotbot—all of which are now at least redundant, if not long dead.  There was one other that stood out: Google. The year 2000 was the time that Google began to assert itself as the top dog in the realm of search engines due, in large part, to its much faster and more efficient spidering process. Still though, none of the search engines, including Google, were able to index dynamic URLs effectively, if at all. Plug-ins were not – and still, to an extent, are not – available to help read and translate dynamic URLs, an issue that remains a point of frustration among SEO experts to this day. One thing that was born in 2000 and has remained a staple of SEO a decade later is the importance of link popularity; specifically, the need for a balance between the quality and quantity of back links.

Next up is 2002, a year in which some predicted the death of SEO. That was until Google launched AdWords and changed the face of internet marketing forever. Offering pay-per-click and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads, AdWords is the feather in the cap of Google’s empire, and today contributes a large majority of the company’s multi-billion dollar advertising revenue. Google AdWords is a product of 2002 that is still very much alive today, unlike: Yahoo Directory Submissions, which hiked its price up to almost $300 a year, and is now a seldom-used resource; Paid Inclusion in Google, which was done away with in 2006; and search engine minnow AltaVista, which was basically doomed before 2002 even hit the calendar.

2003 saw the beginning of WordPress. This was bitter sweet for both SEO people and the search engines as it allowed for a flood of blogs to populate the internet, but also created an instant breeding ground for spammers. Spam became an epidemic for at least a year after. Google’s release of AdSense didn’t help either, as it led to the creation of millions of “made-for-AdSense” websites that would plague search engines for years to come.

In 2004, something incredible happened: SEO experts suddenly became internet marketers! A glut of spam generated in 2003 paved the way for the year of “professional SEO.” Internet marketing agencies were now responsible for much more than just the ranking of a client’s site, forcing them to expand their general marketing endeavors—essentially allowing for massive growth. Paid inclusion was still extremely popular, and 301-redirects – the process of permanently moving a site while retaining all search engine rankings – were becoming contemporary facets of SEO. 2004 was also the year that Google established its role as the ONLY search engine worthy of note. Simply put, Google became the undisputed source for all searches, making it the number one target for website rankings through SEO.

2005: The launch of Google Analytics. Search Engine Optimization would be forever changed by Google’s latest addition to its line of free services which allowed the user to generate detailed reports about the traffic that was visiting a given site. Analytics was designed to be used by marketers, rather than webmasters, and quickly took off. It is now the most widely used website statistics service in the world. Analytics is used in conjunction with Google’s 2002 addition, AdWords, allowing the marketer full access to data on sales, lead generation, page views, and conversions. In no uncertain terms, the process of measuring SEO success had been reshaped, and remains largely the same today. In ’05, Google also launched its “nofollow” link attribute that allowed people to differentiate between paid and non-paid links in a search engine. It basically served to combat blog comment spam, but SEO experts began attempting to use “nofollow” in their optimization of website architecture—with mixed, but mostly muted success.

2007 saw “targeted traffic” begin to take hold as more and more people involved with SEO started to recognize that it is far superior to random, non-specified traffic. Search engine optimization became more driven by targeted traffic and its specific benefits—that is to highlight the importance of targeting long tail keywords, promoting quality over quantity in terms of visits.

A forum for like-minded SEO experts was launched in the form of “Sphinn” which allowed people to share their theories on search engine optimization in a semi-competitive environment in which other users get to vote on their favorite articles. Sphinn is still going strong today, and has become a source of forward-thinking, industry-altering ideas, and has presented a very passable road to recognition for up-and-comers in the world of SEO. 2007 also saw paid links take another beating at the hands of Google. Toolbar page ranks were secured for non-paid links even further, roughly to the level they are today.

’07 was significant for one of the modern behemoths of internet search, Wikipedia. Wikipedia was able to hit two million articles of information, and was, by now, ranking for almost everything. As domain authority began to eclipse all other SEO factors, Wikipedia quickly became the go-to site for nearly any search. The importance of domain authority was clear, changing SEO tactics forever.

Social Media Playing Bigger Part in SEO

Social Media Playing Bigger Part in SEO

In 2008, social media – which had been gathering momentum since 2004, when Facebook joined MySpace and began the race to become kings of social networking – made its way to the fore. Facebook, of course, won that battle. However, another site joined the ranks in 2006 and quickly made social media relevant for SEO purposes, grabbing the attention of internet marketing agencies the world over. Twitter had arrived; this “microblogging” service rapidly transcended the reaches of established social media (which was mostly used by young people and restricted them primarily to interaction with friends) and gave a public forum for celebrities, professionals, and teens alike to share their thoughts with a diverse – and potentially infinite – network. Of course, any self-respecting internet marketing agency began using social media long before Twitter, but the emergence of such a social media phenomenon paved the way for a whole new sector within internet marketing. Now, anyone looking to market a website absolutely must use social media as one of their main resources. With around 130,000,000 Google results for the term “social media marketing,” it is clear that social media’s place within the world of search engine optimization strategy is very much solidified, and in truth, is only getting stronger.

2009 brought much of the same, with Twitter and Facebook continuing to lead the social media reinvention of modern SEO and internet marketing. Microsoft and Google both signed deals with Twitter allowing them search engine access to “tweets.” However, in SEO, another question quickly arose: “Are you optimizing for Bing?” Claiming to be a different kind of resource than the other search engines, “decision engine,” Bing, became the latest plaything of tech giants Microsoft, who were rumored to have splashed over $100 million on elaborate advertising for the new search engine. And in a sense it paid off. Bing is sleek and stylish and appeals to the younger generations. However, the marketing dollars are sure to fade soon, and questions will remain as to whether Bing can hold on to its users. One became even more abundantly clear though—Google will not be supplanted any time soon.

So, here we are, then, finally back to modern times. We are literally (yes, I understand the proper use of the word, but this is a blog post, not an editorial) standing at the cutting edge of SEO advancements. Until tomorrow, that is, when it could change all over again. In order to spare myself the indignity of missing the most important SEO news of this year, hence leaving my words suspended in a purgatory of half-finished works, perhaps I’ll wait until December to write 2010…

Analytics, Paid Search, SEO 1 Comment

The Full Power of Social Media Marketing

Social Arrow

With Hitwise releasing a report that social media in the UK now receives more traffic than search, and SWX Advanced’s session on “Ultimate Social Media-Tools,” generated a significant level of dialog regarding shifts in SEO and social media.   Although Hitwise’s reporting methods have generated some levels of controversy (the classification of YouTube as a social media outlet) their recent analysis does bring strong data to the long standing discourse regarding browsing behavior.  For many this shift has been regarded as a “when” rather than a “if.”  As such it is no surprise that we have recently encountered two interesting start-ups, still very much in the beta version, attempting to capitalize on the commercial implications of social media becoming the dominant portal for users on the web.

One of TechCrunch Disrupt’s Battlefield finalists, CompassLabs aims to provide that ever illusive element of social media: buyer intent.  CompassLabs’ algorithms crawl Tweets and Discussion Boards to find strings which signify that a user is looking to make a purchase.  Users who make posts with a high probability of purchasing intent then receive targeted ads directly from participating vendors.  While the success of the company will ultimately rely on the willingness of social media outlets to share user data (CompassLabs’ future with Twitter is in question, and the Golden Calf- Facebook- is still illusive) the concept alone is enough to generate some excitement.

Perhaps the greatest advantage search campaigns hold over social media are the ability to easily quantify effectiveness through analytics.  At SWIX Advanced on Tony Adams of MySpace (!) discussed SWIX, a comprehensive social media analytics tool.  SWIX collects data via pods from 20 social media outlets and provides clear metrics in one location.  With an impressive array of tools and one stop, multi-outlet analytics, companies like SWIX appear to be the next step in fully wielding the marketing potentials for social media.  Going forward it will be interesting to see who else will want to jump into this pot.  Currently SWIX offers their services at monthly rates; but with Bing now offering social media search one has to wonder if one of the web giants will offer a free service that will blow SWIX out of the water.
Business X-Factors, SEO, Social Media No Comments

Google Caffeine: Another Piece In A More Complicated SEO Puzzle

googlecaffeien
Long anticipated and much hypothesized, Google Caffeine officially went live Tuesday evening.  While not an algorithmic change of the Mayday caliber, Caffeine offers significant changes to the user experience with claims that the engine now offers 50% fresher results.  Tweaks in search occur constantly and across all engines with varying SEO implications.  With Caffeine being Google’s most significant indexing change in years, dialog surrounding its impact has rapidly expanded over the past 72 hours.  This change does not come as a surprise to many industry professionals but can be seen as a crucial step in the major search infrastructure overhaul Google has been engaged in over the past year.
Early consensus maintains that Caffeine itself will have very little impact on SEO practices and results.  At its most basic level Caffeine is simply a more efficient crawl to index process in which indexes are updated closer to real-time from the moment they are crawled.  Yes, by itself faster indexing holds almost zero SEO implications, but this would be like saying lettuce has no impact on the experience of devouring a delicious BLT.  While Google’s Matt Cuts claims that the Mayday algorithmic change has nothing to do with Caffeine, it is important to note the impact these two independent updates (or ingredients) create when placed together.  One could consider the Mayday update as an engine modification for more specialized, high end performance and Caffeine as a significantly elevated octane fuel needed to power this engine modification to its highest potential.  As our own Ricardo Figueiredo describes, Caffeine is the means by which Google can effectively implement the changes in long-tail search brought on by the Mayday update.
As search gets faster and more efficient, in particular long-tail search, it naturally then magnifies the importance of every SEO practice.  Site load speed, meta title and tag descriptions, crawl rate, freshness of content– elements that in the past could have evaded the attention they deserve– now hold greater  weight.  In turn we should begin to see faster results from SEO campaigns, but these faster results only mean that maintaining campaigns and desired SERPs over the long term will be even more difficult.  A faster and more responsive search leads to significant complexities in keyword analysis and positioning as #1 rankings may have a higher propensity to change.  For many these changes have already created a notable impact over the past two months.  ”We are seeing a shift to where three or four word keywords are now the new generic keywords” Figueirdo notes.
longertail
For businesses looking to embark on an SEO campaign these changes increase the importance of selecting a team that not just stays on top of changes in search, but looks at them with enthusiasm and actively accepts the challenges brought on by an ever-changing landscape.  Faster search, real time indexing, and long-tail search efficiency mean that staying literally on top of the game now, more than ever, requires an SEO strategy that is dynamic and ongoing.  Short term pushes will see that short term shorten.  In the end Google’s evolving search still maintains the same goal of connecting users to their desired content quickly and efficiently, so it is important embrace these changes as a more effective means to connect consumers to vendors.  If anything Google’s recent changes will separate professionals who are serious about their craft from those who have just been pretending.
Google Editorial, SEO 3 Comments

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