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This is a rather short post on a broad topic for controversial Web 3.0 standards. But I was intrigued by a video of the CMO at Intel, Sean Maloney, who recently discussed Web 3.0 trends (The power of a spur of the moment interview using 2008 technology web cam!).
The changing faces of web technology may have been passing you by. But keywords such as viral campaign, video explosion, user-generated content, optimized images, electronics, software development, hardware development, network protocols, internet adoption rate, mobility, hi-def cameras (check out the powerful flip camera and get a free course on how to use it), expansion of notebook devices/functionality, global thinking and people collaboration–these are all elements of the emerging Web 3.0 world.
“Television still forms an emotional connection to many across the globe, but the next three years will see drastic changes in how users connect and interact.”
A most recent report from Morgan Stanley talks about important trends in the internet and search/social media business, and it was released only a few weeks ago.
While full of charts and not too many explanations, it is revealing to see the data, including the work that has gone into discussing usage patterns, social networking, mobile, emerging markets, video and more.
Download the Morgan Stanley Internet Trends Report. (pdf, 5.69mg) or read it below.
Read this doc on Scribd: Internet trends 2008
Finally, you will hear folks referencing Web 3.0 as the “Semantic Web,” and further Semantic Web discussions may be found here.
Use Cases and Case Studies are also available, and warrant further reading for the interested.
So what’s the advice here? Get started with videos (youtube.com to start), a wordpress blog (mine under development), optimize your site/pages and let users and search engines know what the pages are about from keywords on the page (simple, right?). The concepts of natural, topical and non-spammy content, and metadata and titles are important, as are user-friendly designs and sound web information architectures.
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Ranking has been, and always will be, important.
I mean, ultimately, if no rankings exist (I’m talking about the first page of search engines) for keywords that are searched for (try Google Suggest), you are not using natural, organic results to drive traffic, or you have just started.
You may be employing other strategies for driving traffic, which is good–you should have a blended approach–but you *must* track everything you do, and Google Analytics is most often the starter analytics package of choice. In fact, since it’s easy on your wallet (free), many opt to use this system. It is used on websites from static to dynamic. There are even free WordPress Analytics Plugins, easy to set up. Check out Joost De Valk and his wordpress Google analytics plugin (he’s a great SEO tool builder in the Netherlands; contact him if you are reading from Europe).
Rankings are important. But after ranking and traffic comes the critical (and often underused or misdiagnosed) web analytics. What questions should you ask? What’s important?
Recently, at a publishers convention, I discussed SEO, search marketing trends and tracking (wpa-online.org), and it was apparent that many knew the basics of SEO and had analytics running on their sites, but did not necessarily know what were important metrics to track.
Learn more about page views, user behavior tracking, average time on site, importance of understanding bounce rates, unique visitors, referrer traffic and optimizing landing pages here.
Search Engine Optimization using proper KPI (key performance indicators) analytics is a must-do, don’t-miss situation.
Many SEO firms are now ROI-based (not just rankings anymore), like my new friend and SEO expert Gab Goldberg. I recommend you check him out.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free web-analytics package that offers compelling features and benefits such as keyword comparison, custom dashboards and AdWords integration for everyone from senior executives and advertising and marketing professionals to site owners and content developers.
More information is at Google Conversion University. The informative site talks about:
Also, how about those privacy concerns–where Google might use your data (for/against) in some fashion? Read the industry and benchmarking trends report that recently came out for more on that.
So I recommend you look at these videos in the following order:
Overview Analytics video 1: “A Small Business Approach to Web Analytics: John Marshall” (Ex-ClickTracks);
Google Analytics Video 2: “Google Analytics Interface Tutorial”;
Google Analytics Video 3: “Optimizing Customer Experiences”; and
Google Analytics Video 4: “Bounce Rate: The Simply Powerful Metric” (this guy is a guru in this industry).
Their social media-related sessions, expert panelists and conference support staff were really attentive to detail and provided in-depth, real case studies of success (and not!). And even though the show in Long Beach this week on social media was small (if 200 people is tiny?), I enjoyed having a chance to meet many new people, including the above, and rock star SEOs Rand & Michael.
I was thinking of a great way to introduce social bookmarking to readers of my blog and discovered this cool video–commoncraft actually has many more, if you want to get more creative and useful videos.
Check out the below social bookmarking video explained, and come back next week for more tips on how to reach a wider audience with social media marketing strategies and tools. A quick way to bookmark across many platforms is the tool Socialmarker.
Since we know that search engines love text (it’s what they can “understand”) and users love quality content, how can you write the most relevant, traffic-capturing content to meet the requirements of both?
The answer lies in focusing on the user first, not the other way around.
You need to start by understanding the learning process of humans, what drives us and what makes us take action on something we see or hear.
The best way is to get to the basics. Do you know how we learn and what our behavioral preferences are? If not, here’s a view:
Knowing the above can provide more clarity in your research. When you write, think about the above. More information can be found via Bernice McCarthy’s innovative 4-mat system. It’s a helpful guide, along with an expanded “cycle of learning,” with its sequential pie charts of learning.
You can see how I answered the why (search engines, users); what (traffic capture); how (links out, pie chart reference) in this post. The last category may also have been captured (what if…), but that reader might have left before reading the line.
Make the right and left brain work together. Make it educational, but also entertaining.
We know that search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) and their associated retrieval technology anno 2008 are not much more sophisticated than they were, in say, 1998–or for that matter, in 1945 when a scientist, Vannevar Bush, released his essay, “As We May Think” (reference Internet Pioneers). The system he references is remarkably similar to modern hypertext.
While new interfaces, video, images, binary streams of any kind you can think of are easily presented into plugins and other “wares,” we are still struggling to get to the “next level” of retrieval technology.
Algorithmic search, human-aided search and meta search engines are par for the course. To create a search engine that can also include artificial intelligence and provide scalability for the massive internet is still far away.
In the meantime, we are having fun with universal search/blended search, local search and such.
So in the spirit of the power of video and the explosion of its use on the internet, I found this interesting film from Los Angeles that uses a “thousand words” with pictures and the human spirit.
When search engines can figure out all the “things” they must capture, retrieve, organize and intellectually present–for example, in this video–we have reached a goal that search engine scientists everywhere would want and that, I hope, captures users the same way it does in the film below.
The final scene says it all.
This post is about saving money, specifically for you and your Google Adwords expenditures.
Many are not familiar with the powerful new approach that Google introduced in its paid-click model (pay-per-click advertising). While Goto/Overture was the pioneer by introducing paid search initially (paid advertising, sponsored links), Google came on the scene about 2002 and introduced a different “smart reward” system for performance-based ads management and relevancy of overall bidding, keywords and user experience.
This new, enhanced system allowed the engine to not only allow a bid to position ranking, but to use its own (secret) software-tailored intelligence to improve cost per click by ranking you better than your competition, at a (if done right) lower cost. If your competitor was paying $2 per click for a keyword, for example, you could pay less ($1.50, say), and still be ranked ahead of the competition.
While the current Quality Score (QS) was introduced later and improved over time, it is an important component of the Adwords system today. It is something you should try to understand and apply across all your current accounts.
The Quality Score algorithm in Adwords (search ads and search network are slightly different) is not revealed for obvious reasons (spamming/black hat), but allows ads you create to lift into better positions (ad rank) and lowered price per click based on a few factors you can easily control–or at least try to make “least imperfect.”
Top factors that influence positive, money-saving opportunities using Adwords:
Please read further quality scoring resources below, but here are the top three quickest ways to affect your budget and performance:
1. Keyword matching in title of ad, included in body as well (derivative keyword, plurals, etc). Don’t miss this.
2. Ensure keyword(s) are included and reflected early and often in landing page text, including SEO compliant page setup (Title, description, H1 tags, related keywords in body content, etc). Include more than just graphics and a few bullet points.
3. Watch your CTR percentage and tune it upward by creating A/B ads and testing their performance. Remove or pause underperforming keywords; they can affect your QS negatively.
Your competition may be using techniques like these already. Study their landing pages as well, including keyword use for relevancy. Then do all this slightly better, and you will win, while optimizing your Google Adwords budget. Make sure not only to optimize for Google, but learn the best practices for high landing page conversion by reading further materials at MarketingSherpa.
You can review your Quality Score grade right inside the Adwords system:
1. What Google Quality Score is–and is not
2. Quality Score for Google and network
3. How is the Google Quality Score calculated?
4. Landing pages’ load time will be included in Quality Scoring Adwords
I’m working on a project where not only on-page (html/content) and off-page (links) factors are key to success (traffic in this case), but also crucial is generating more or less a rising buzz factor.
Buzz by definition is like the “jungle-telegraph” model–where people start talking about something and naturally share among their friends and social networks.
Just this morning, I heard about the new Papaya Dance, the “next Macarena” (Note: currently, only about 300,000 pages are returned in Google in that search–this will grow).
The idea that generating buzz or natural sharing is easier now than ever may be true from a technology standpoint–just see this screenshot (from 10e20):
… but solid content–quality, that is–with maybe a slight bit of controversy, a fun factor or simply informational pieces–still is just as important. You must learn to use it all.
One place to start your social buzz trek: Learn some related (to your business) tools at go2web20.
As I came to–from what to me seems like the planet’s worst tooth surgery (not kidding)–I found this horrific story on American Express and its “SEO is a waste” comment. You can see the entire piece here (Actual pdf here; see page 29).
In a brief, American Express says, “Don’t waste money on so-called Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) specialists. Search engines are very quick to penalize sites that try to trick their filtering techniques, and once your site has been put on Google’s blacklist, it will take forever to get off.”
Clearly, the writers of this document do not understand the explicit and implicit work, value and results of a white-hat search engine optimization campaign done right. Was this a way to generate link bait for themselves, or just a naive entry onto the net, thinking we in the profession would not notice? Or just plain ol’ quality assurance issues of editorial content?
Who is running search engine marketing over there? It is most likely a qualified group, but it must not have coordinated on these marketing materials–perhaps an honest mistake? The document made it online though, which is a shame.
While the discussion of “SEO professionals” versus “Google spam team” has been an ongoing mention in the press, forums and search engine conferences, the *real truth* is that Google wants a relevant, quality web, providing the results for an overall top user experience. If professional SEO assistance can help attain this goal without spamming the search engines, SEO-ers have done their job.
SEO today is more about traffic and action tracking than pure ranking–something that American Express fails to discuss in this context. Good SEO firms can educate audiences, help steer clear of the landmines and provide more detail than clients ever knew about their site(s). Then, together, they can provide sound strategies and roadmaps for proper buildout of pages and designs.
None of us in this business is apologetic about providing great services and education to help webmasters create the best user experience and traffic generation for themselves.
This document (also from AMEX) is more on target, perhaps written by a SEM Team? You should read it: some valuable tips to consider there.
(the short, semi-pitchy version)…
Today, funnily enough, as Microsoft is making a bid for Yahoo at $44.6 billion to challenge Google and the internet at large, I also make an adjustment in my own landscape:
My new view of the internet launched on February 1, 2008.
Here’s the abridged version of the chronology to this point:
OK, a seed term from Speed, the first movie in a series with Keanu Reeves. “Pop Quiz, Hot Shot: What do the top 2007 winners within the new social media realm have in common?”
Do you know who they are (?):
What they have in common are:
genius, timing, resources/people network, usefulness, uniqueness, filling a need and creating top positions within an emerging technology platform explosion: social media.
Are you thinking about social media this year?