If you’ve used the Internet in the last month then no doubt you heard of SOPA and PIPA the two anti piracy bills that groups like the MPAA attempted to quietly pass through Congress. Unfortunately for them someone on the Internet was paying attention, and the day before the vote was to come to pass there was an Internet wide protest.
The blackout was considered the largest online movement ever and involved over 10,000 Web sites, most notably Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter who are perhaps the biggest opposition to the bills. Now, that’s what we call one hell of an opposition. Then at what seemed the last minute, president Obama stood up to announce his opposition to the bills as well and everyone heaved a sigh of relief.
As mentioned, the bills were said to be designed specifically to “fight online piracy.” The bills’ supporters have claimed that this type of piracy costs the US millions of jobs and costs our economy almost $60 billion dollars each year. Since those numbers haven’t been put forth by anyone not supporting the bill, it’s tough to confirm their validity. If they are valid then yes, you could imagine that this is an important issue needing to be addressed.
Unfortunately, under a little scrutiny the bills did not actually fight piracy like they were said to. Instead, they violated Americans’ rights and the First Amendment by censoring the Internet, unfairly punishing domestic sites and were so full of vague language they were begging for future abuse.
Thankfully, these bills were stopped by the banding together of millions of Internet users and standing up against lobbyist. Up to this point it’s been rare to see movements like these build so quickly, but that’s the beauty of the Internet.
As you would expect within our current political environment, the fight was won but the war will continue. These bills were sent back to the drawing board, and you can expect them to pop up within the next month or so.
- Google Falsely Flagged as Malware by Microsoft
The world’s most popular search engine was falsely identified by Microsoft as malware for four hours on Valentine’s Day due to a faulty software security update, leaving many frustrated Internet Explorer users unable to access Google.
- App Store Optimization
The arena of app stores is much like the way organic search results used to be. Knowledge on app store optimization can still provide a big advantage over your competitors and it can be a lucrative way to exploit your old fashioned SEO skills.
- Social Media Insight from 6 Successful Brands on Google+
Google+ is slowly but surely attracting a more diverse user base and big brands are taking notice. Many have fully integrated the platform into their social media strategies. Is Google+ a part of your social media strategy? It should be!
- Spring Forward with Search Strategies for Travel Marketers
We are quickly approaching the travel industry’s high season. Roughly 40 percent of the industry’s annual impression volume takes place between May and August, leaving only a few months for travel marketers to get their accounts in order.
- Facebook Advertisers Testing New Sponsored Stories Actions: Want, Own, Played & More
A limited number of Facebook advertisers are testing what appears to be the next iteration of Sponsored Stories. They are targeting the social site’s users who have played video games, watched videos, or listened to songs, among other examples.
- DuckDuckGo Hits New Milestone: 1 Million Searches
DuckDuckGo has good reason to quack. The small startup search engine announced that it received more than 1 million searches for the first time on the eve of Valentine’s Day. More than a million searches were also conducted on Valentine’s Day.
- Romney, Gingrich Latest to Join the Search Engine ‘Spreading’ Game
Hey, you know what this country needs? Another reason to keep normal people out of politics. Rick Santorum’s icky problem might be a little less problematic for him now that all the cool kids are getting their own Spreading sites.
- Nomenclature: The Industry Case For and Against SEO
“SEO is dead” is the debate that just won’t die. Last week, Andy Betts inspired us to consider again the role and definition of SEO in the age of convergence and collaboration. Search marketers and industry leaders share their thoughts.
- Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics: What to Track
Before you can do anything else with Google Analytics, you need to understand what you’re trying to track and why. Here are a few ideas for some types of data you may want to track correctly from the beginning in Google Analytics.
- SEO: A Force for Good
Think about what the web would look like without SEOs working to help legitimate sites rank for the terms that they should rank for. The more optimized and targeted a website becomes, the greater the chance a potential customers will find it.
- How Local Small Businesses are Evolving Their Online Marketing Strategies
Small businesses are merely scratching the surface when it comes to penetrating the web for marketing needs. Are decades-old mom-and-pop businesses finally open to reaching a target audience through alternative means like Google and Yelp?
- Google Tries to Diagnose Health Conditions on Symptom Searches
Google is adding a new health search results feature. Whenever you search for a symptom or multiple symptoms of an illness, Google will show you a list of possibly related health conditions related to your query to get you to answers more quickly.
- Search Engines Crazy in Love on Valentine’s Day 2012
All the major search engines are celebrating Valentine’s Day this year with special logos or pictures on their home pages. In addition to Google’s Valentine’s Day Doodle featuring Tony Bennett, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and others are sharing the love.
- Google-Motorola Acquisition Approved in U.S., EU
In a pair of announcements made just hours apart, the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission each announced that the $12.5 billion acquisition had been cleared by their respective anti-trust authorities and could proceed.
- 4 Ways to Kill Your PPC Health
An agency/client PPC relationship is a lot like a doctor/patient relationship. Both parties are responsible for the health of the campaign, and they need to work together. Not doing so can lead to less than optimal PPC well-being.
- How to Make PPC Count Without Conversion Tracking
Imagine for a second a PPC advertiser’s worst nightmare: You log into AdWords and your keywords, ads and campaigns all have zeros in the conversion stat column! Worse yet, it isn’t a performance problem – just a tracking problem. Here’s what to do
- Valentine’s Day 2012 Searches: Gifts.com, Yelp Win Big [Infographic]
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, Gifts.com appeared in the top five search results for 60 percent of non-geographic “gifts” keywords during January; RedEnvelope.com placed a distant second, with a 37 percent share of search, Conductor reports.
- Valentine’s Day 2012 Google Doodle Animates Tony Bennett’s ‘Cold, Cold Heart’
Google’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Doodle is an animated love story, set to Tony Bennett’s “Cold, Cold Heart”. The video is embedded on the homepage, with a hand-sketched effect Google logo. Also, Google has a fun Easter Egg for you this Valentine’
- Google Wallet Disables Prepaid Cards Until Security Flaw Fixed
The company said it has temporarily disabled the use of prepaid cards on its retail platform as it looks to remedy a security flaw which could allow an attacker to steal the PIN number on Google Wallet systems. Google says a fix is coming soon.
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Google recently bought Zagat, the highly popular restaurant review service. Since that purchase Google has wasted no time in premiering Zagat rated restaurants in Google Offer’s. With Google’s muscle behind Zagat, if you don’t already have the restaurant you’re promoting in this review system then you need to make a big push on it right away. Unfortunately, it’s not a quick and easy process.
Zagat.com has 3 rating systems for restaurants:
- Yellow Pages – This just means you’re in the restaurant directory.
- Member Added – This means you’ve been reviewed by at least one member of Zagat.com
- Zagat Rated – This means that you’ve actually been Zagat rated in one of their surveys.
By being included in any of these you are allowed to add an online reservation and online delivery option by using opentable.com and seamlessweb.com.
However, becoming a Zagat rated member is what you want to strive for. It has the benefits of setting up photos, 360 degree virtual tours, submitting menus and offering discounts to members of Zagat.com through Savored.com.
To be considered for a Zagat survey you need to submit a press kit to Zagat at firstname.lastname@example.org. The press kits contain basic information about you and your restaurant. Zagat then files away the submissions on a weekly basis and holds onto them for up to two years. We’re not sure how long it takes on average but we get the impression that it’s a long time.
Zagat is a very well known and trusted source of restaurant reviews. So, even if it takes a long time to get a rating from them, it’s still an avenue worth pursuing. To get started in the process you can go here.
If you target mobile users, you’ve been able for some time now to pinpoint specific carriers in specific countries. Verizon users in the U.S., for example. Now there are two additional advanced targeting options in your campaign settings:
1. WiFi targeting
Let’s say you have a really killer video you want your prospects to see, but you know it might load slowly on mobiles accessing 3G or other standard data services. In this case you can target users you know will have a high-speed connection, namely WiFi, and in this campaign make your video available to them only:
2. Mobile operating system targeting
Let’s say you have an app for iPad users. This lets you show your ads just to them and know that Droid users won’t be bothered:
Better still, you can target users with a certain version of operating system. With each operating system you choose, you can add all of the versions, or specific ones:
Google explains it here.
- Basic SEO Troubleshooting With XML Sitemaps
A quick overview of sitemap guidelines and limitations on Google and Bing and some sitemap optimization tips. Also learn a technique that will help you identify crawling and indexation issues using multiple sitemaps in Google Webmaster Tools.
- Richard Petty Driving Experience Revs Up Fan Engagement 700% on YouTube
Working closely with Google, the Richard Petty Driving Experience team implemented a “hugely successful” YouTube TrueView in-stream ad promotion that raised viewership from just over 14,000 to more than 117,000 during a 30 day promotion.
- Power Guest Posting for SEO
Providing great content to authoritative people who are searching for it is a great way to build relationships with important people. This process outlines the basic tactics for power guest posting: finding websites, coming up with content, and making the
- Google Readying Google Drive, Dropbox-Like Cloud Storage
Google is readying a Dropbox-like service and will soon enter the cloud computing storage market. The Google Drive is expected to allow users to store documents, photos and videos on the cloud and make them accessible from any connected device.
- LinkedIn Shares Mobile Advertising Ambitions
During its quarterly earnings call, CEO Jeff Weiner said mobile access represents an ever-growing share of time users spend with LinkedIn. He said the company is investigating ways to monetize those page views with mobile advertising.
- Yahoo Search Engine Market Share Slips in January 2012
A month after Bing surpassed Yahoo to became the No. 2 search engine in the U.S., Yahoo’s search share continued to decline in the New Year, according to comScore. Meanwhile, Google climbed past a 66 percent share of the search market.
- Craig Silverstein, Larry & Sergey’s First Hire, Quits Google
Craig Silverstein, the first employee hired by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, is leaving the company. Silverstein, who helped build the Google search engine, met Page and Brin while the three attended Stanford.
- Google Retires Drop-Down Menu, Black Navigation Bar Returns
Google’s drop-down menu, which was introduced in late November as part of the “next stage” of its massive redesign, is history. Google will revert to an updated version of the black navigation bar that began appearing ahead of the launch of Google+.
- 8 Search and Social Takeaways from Covario INFLECTIONPoint 2012
How to be smart with a strict budget, the importance of timing and levity in social media, retaining value in SEO, content marketing, and the convergance of search and social were among the hot topics, tips, and takeaways at INFLECTIONPoint 2012.
- 5 Must-Have SEO Skills
On-page optimization is just the beginning. In addition to having a deep understanding of web analytics and metrics, modern day SEOs need to be skilled in technical SEO, social media marketing, link building, usability, and content marketing.
- Lead Scoring: How B2B Search Marketers Can Lead the Process
Lead scoring could become a key component of the B2B marketing strategy. This column evaluates some of the factors involved in lead scoring, and how B2B search marketers can contribute to and ultimately step to the forefront of the process.
- Reputation Management and Social Monitoring Made Easy
Why spend money on monitoring and defending a brand when you can spend money promoting a brand? Let me introduce you to some of my favorite online reputation management tools that are of an immeasurable value for combating negative brand mentions.
- Google Users Dislike Personalized Search Results [Survey]
Should Google’s search results be personalized based on past searches and information from social networking sites? Forty-five percent of respondents to a recent Google search survey said no, compared to 15.5 percent who said yes.
- adCenter Increases Ad Text Limit to 71; Adds Budget Overview, Mobile Targeting
To simplify importing ads for AdWords to adCenter and align with industry standards, adCenter has changed the allotted character count in ad descriptions from 70 to 71. Here’s a quick look at all the latest changes to Microsoft adCenter.
- A Good Social Media Marketing IDEA: Identify, Deliver, Empower, Amplify
Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research and co-author of bestseller “Groundswell”, shared tips for success in social and instigating positive change by causing trouble in a way that’s disruptive at Covario’s recent INFLECTIONPoint 2012 conference.
- Google Screenwise Pays People to Search the Web With Chrome
A new Google project called Screenwise is offering web surfers the chance to get paid to surf the web and help “make Google better.” You have to search the web using the Chrome browser and share your data with Google, according to the signup page.
- DOJ to Approve Google’s Motorola Acquisition
Google’s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility could soon be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ,) sources told the Wall Street Journal. The DOJ is reportedly poised to issue a formal approval on the deal as early as next week.
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For quite a while now Google has given you account-level data on your impression share, which is the percentage of time your ads actually show on Google search for the keywords you’re bidding on. But users have complained that this data has not been available for specific ad groups.
Now it is. On Monday, January 30th, 2012 Google began rolling out impression share metrics in users’ accounts, going down to the ad group level. You’ll be able to find it by going into the ad group of your choice and clicking Columns:
Not many users realize that this data has actually been available for some time, under a different tab. This will be especially helpful to you if Google hasn’t activated impression share for your ad groups yet. Go into a specific ad group (or campaign) and then choose the Dimensions tab, and under Columns you’ll find that impression share is available for viewing:
The best bit about this is the fact that with the Dimensions feature you can see how your impression share has been going up or down over time, and at what times it’s the highest, or the lowest.
Read up on it here.
Google updated their Automated Rules feature in two key ways this past month:
- You can now create up to 100 rules to run in your campaign or ad group.
- You can easily ‘undo’ any rule that you ran but that didn’t work.
Automated Rules has been around awhile. It lets you set up a campaign to take certain actions when certain conditions become true. Drop a CPC bid when a CTR falls below a certain level, for example. You can access the tool from the account, campaign, or ad group level:
Here’s Google’s announcement.
- New Signals to Search Engines Revisited
Search engines have evolved from primitive crawling technology and now have a very powerful combination of signals. This downloadable PDF “thought paper” shows how end user data, social, mobile, and personalization are shaping the future of search.
- Online Newsrooms: A Necessity for Search and Social Content Strategy
Think content. Think fresh content. Think Google loves content. Think social shares of content. Now when news breaks in a tweet and via mobile device, the online newsroom can hold the keys to dominating online visibility in a three-screen world.
- Don’t Be A Wallflower! 3 Fundamentals Of Data Driven Community Outreach
Many (even most) corporate community managers are relatively passive, waiting for users to come to them. However there is a real power to assertively identifying themed conversations surrounding your corporate objectives, and diving right in.
- How to Use Government Data for Link Development
You can use data found on government websites to create compelling linkable material. This freely available material, in conjunction with your own research and insight, should help you make content that gets linked to by all the right places.
- RIAA President: Google ‘Misused Its Power’ by Protesting SOPA
Google abused its trust and misused its power when it blacked out its logo and encouraged its millions of users base to “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web!” At least according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s CEO.
- Google Debuts Chrome for Android
The mobile version of Chrome runs on smartphones or tablets with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or above. Although Chrome for Android was designed from the ground up for mobile devices, it has many of the same features of the desktop version.
- 5 ‘Moneyball’ Tips for Search Marketers from Billy Beane
Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane talked baseball, metrics, and people calling him crazy, with an audience of search marketers and corporate executives in a keynote yesterday at Covario’s InflectionPoint 2012 conference in California.
- 2 Non-Obvious PPC Split Tests
Simple PPC split testing can provide market insights that allow you to connect deeply and powerfully with your prospects. All that’s required is a willingness to think, wonder, and ask. Here are two questions to jump-start your own deep curiosity.
- Facebook Deprecating 50+ Page Insights Metrics – Are You Ready?
Some metrics will be completely eliminated; others are being replaced by metrics added to the Graph API. If you haven’t already stopped using the deprecated metrics, you probably have your work cut out for you to quickly get the updates in place.
- How to Take Advantage of Apple’s Rise to Mobile Market Dominance
Apple is the king of mobile. With an expanding market share, Apple is poised to break records yet again in 2012; though they must improve their iAd inventory to compete with Google. Here are the implications for mobile marketers.
- Solve for X: Google’s Answer to All World Problems
Google believes that we can solve some of the world’s greatest problems by working together. We Solve for X appears to be more focused on global problems, using them as opportunities to encourage “moonshot” thinking.
- Panda, Fresher Results, Spelling Top Google’s January 2012 Search Updates
A minor update to Google’s Panda update was released in January. This was just one of 14 other search changes Google announced. Others included fresher results, improvements to autocomplete, better spelling corrections, and auto-disabling Instant.
- Google Bouncer Security Tool Fights Android Malware
Google said that since security system Bouncer has been operating, malware levels on the Android Market have gone down. The company noted that over the second half of 2011, malicious downloads had decreased by 40 percent.
- Google, Facebook Agree to Censor Content in India
A court in India has ordered 21 technology firms, including Google and Facebook, to remove content. The Indian branches of both firms have complied with the court’s request and removed pages which had been deemed religiously or socially offensive.
- Future of SEO: Change, Convergence, Collaboration
The way you work, the tools you use, and your approach to SEO has changed. Be open to changing the way you think about SEO and willing to change the way you view the search world. Take advantage of these opportunities, tools, and platforms.
- Beginner’s Guide to Link Prospecting Using Google Search
Google is a free, simple, and powerful tool that can quickly teach you about your market – and the art of link prospecting. This beginner’s guide will walk you, your interns, your contractors, or your staff through the basics of link prospecting.
- How to Avoid 7 PPC Analysis Pitfalls
Red Herrings abound when you’re looking at your AdWords data. Information overload is a risk. The last thing you want is to see a relationship between a couple of your PPC metrics, make a decision, and later rue that you didn’t investigate further.
- Charles Dickens’ 200th Birthday Marks First Google Doodle as Promotional Vehicle
Google’s latest Doodle marks the 200th Birthday of british novelist Charles Dickens but also marks the first time that the company has used their logo change to specifically promote a product or service.
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No formal public announcement from Google on this, still, though they spent much of 2011 running tests on ads like these, called Communications Extension, which allow advertisers to collect e-mail addresses directly from the ad:
This is only available privately to a few select advertisers.
In the most current tests, advertisers get to see and keep the e-mail address and zip code information which users provide. The “Privacy” link in the ad allows Google to spell this out plainly. Advertisers pay per lead, following standard Google auction rules.
One unique feature of these ads is this…
If your browser is already signed in to Google when you see one of these ads, then the e-mail field will already be populated with the address associated with your account.
At that point a single click will opt you in to the advertiser’s list. There’s never been an easier way to collect opt-ins, in other words. That’s a double-edged sword, no doubt.
Here’s a helpful article on this new trend.
Remember the Bing ad campaign “Bing and Decide”? Looks like it’s time for a new slogan, the latest is “Bing is for #Doing”, it’s’ latest round of ad speak launched on January 20th. Our first thought was their marketing department spent too much time reading tweets from Charlie Sheen last year.
We can’t fault Bing for trying, and they have certainly been making headway slowly against Google, although at a cost that few other than Microsoft could afford.