Seriously! User Switches To Ask.com Over Google.

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Ask.com from GoogleWe’ve seen users dislike Google’s changes over the years. We’ve seen users say they will switch search engines before.

Heck, we’ve seen thousands of users say they will switch from Google to Bing.

I’ve never seen, at least not in the past few years, users tell Google they will switch to Ask.com!

But that is what one user said in a Google Web Search Help thread. He said:

Why would you rather lose customers than turn off autocomplete? I am stopping use of Google and going back to Ask.com.

Of course there is a way to turn it off but who cares. This user said he will go back to Ask.com.

Ask.com is not a search engine – so please, if you are going to switch from Google, at least go to Bing.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.


August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Woolworths Has 20% Off iTunes Cards

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From today for a week, Woolworths has 20 per cent off for iTunes cards, which is a slightly less impressive deal than the typical $30 for two $20 cards offer (a 25 per cent saving) but still a way of saving some money. If you’ve got the energy, you could also get Officeworks to price match and hit the 25 per cent mark, though some stores might resist doing so. [Woolworths via OzBargain]

August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Yahoo! Canada Rolls Out the ‘Purple Carpet’ With Launch of omg!

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Yahoo! Canada Rolls Out the ‘Purple Carpet’ With Launch of omg!

August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Yahoo! to Present at Citi Technology Conference

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Yahoo! to Present at Citi Technology Conference

August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Are You Losing Sales By Giving Customers Too Many Choices?

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The power in having many options to choose from is in it’s appeal to our desires to find the exact things that will fit us the best.  The dark side of having this many choices is confussion and being overwhelmed to the point of not making any decision.  This post details how offering many choices can affect decisions online.


August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

MarketingSherpa 2012 SEO Benchmark Report

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MarketingSherpa SEO GuideOne of the report categories from MarketingSherpa that I’ve been reviewing for a long time, as in 5 or more years, is their coverage of Search Engine Marketing.  In particular, the Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition.  (See last year’s review here).

The sub-title is appropriately a great indication of the theme for this guide: “Research and Insights for Creating and Capitalizing on a Rich End-User Search Experience. This is a far cry from the days of “Boost Your Search Engine Rankings and More!”.  As Online Marketers have matured, there is an increasing focus on optimizing for customers and customer experience vs. the sole KPIs of rankings and traffic.

Authored by Research Analyst Kaci Bower, MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report SEO Edition is broken down into an executive summary that outlines key findings from the survey from which the report is based, 10 chapters on everything from integrating Social Media & SEO to Mobile tactics to SEO Success Stories. There’s also an appendix that includes charts from the research.

If you’re a nut for data, charts and research based insights, this guide is priceless. The section on Planning and Tracking budgets as well as the Agency Perspectives offer helpful information for consultants and of course the SEO Objectives/Tactics, Local, Mobile and  Content Marketing sections offer plenty of tactics and insights for practitioners.

If you read Online Marketing Blog, you know we’ve been promoting the notion of “optimize for customers” over a sole focus on keywords. That perspective blends well with the customer-centric theme of MarketingSherpa’s SEO Report.

Just think about the richness of users search experience today in stark contrast to the bland search results made up mostly of just web pages several years ago. With Google in particular, Universal Search, Personalized Search, Social Search, Instant Search, Local/Mobile, Preview and even the currently suspended Real-Time Search all factor together to  give users what they’re looking for. The diversity of search experience is the basis for the research and recommendations in the 2012 SEO Guide.

One of the interesting insights from the research in this report includes the disconnect between marketers that consider SEO Strategy an important challenge to overcome, but not a a top objective.  That mismatch in priorities can be costly in terms of ineffective prioritization of tactics and inefficient utilization of resources. The real irony is stated in the report, “Interestingly, increasing measurable ROI ranked higher as an objective than developing an actual strategy to do so!”

SEO Strategy

Another key finding concerns the importance of Content Marketing, which was rated  as one of the most effective tactics for SEO but also one of the most difficult to implement. Content has been a hot topic for years, with many SEOs dismissing “content is king” as a whitehat SEO battle cry. But of course, relevant (optimized) content is effective for link building, sharing and certainly for inspiring prospects to become customers.  The SEO Report identifies many other top SEO tactics as well, segmenting by organization SEO maturity and industry.

Content Marketing SEO

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. MarketingSherpa has done a great job at providing data sliced and diced every way you can imagine with this year’s version of the SEO Report.  The survey findings presented according to level of SEO maturity is especially helpful for companies that have been utilizing SEO best practices for some time, but want to continue to advance their progress.

For organizations that are just starting to investigate a more holistic approach to SEO to professionals that want to incorporate SEO best practices in their areas of expertise (like Public Relations, Web Design, Interactive), the 2012 SEO Guide is full of data, examples and insights.

You can get a sneak peek at the Search Marketing Benchmark Report, SEO Edition and more information about the report overall on the MarketingSherpa website (affiliate link).

 


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Flight searches for airport codes increase 400%

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This quarter’s travel report has just gone out today and as always includes a wealth of information on the latest trends and changes in the online travel space. Picking up on one of the highlights from this quarter’s report, there was an interesting spike in searches for flights by IATA airport code.

Airport destinations board.png

For the 12 weeks ending 30 July 2011, 1 in every 50 flight searches included an airport code in the search term. In the last year searches for flights by airport code have increased five-fold and in particular in the July quarter, airport code searches tripled.

Airport codes search increase.png

Of these, the single most popular term was ‘flights to lax’ indicating a flight to Los Angeles International Airport. This is perhaps not that surprising given that LAX is the name of the airport as well as the IATA flight code, but what is interesting is how the LAX search terms relate to more general searches for flights to Los Angeles.

In the 12 weeks ending 30 July there were over 11,000 search term variations for Los Angeles or LAX. Focusing just on the top 10 search terms relevant to the travel industry, three of the top terms were specifically for LAX.

Los Angeles LAX searches blog.png

In particular ‘flights to lax’ was the sixth most searched for Los Angeles-related term of the quarter, accounting for 0.26% of all Los Angeles searches. Although ‘flights to lax’ was the most popular airport code search term, looking at the total volume of searches for airport codes revealed Birmingham (BHX) as the most searched for airport code.

One of the reasons why we’ve seen such a dramatic increase in airport code searches is because of changes made by Google and other search engines. A search in Google for ‘flights to malaga’ now returns detailed information on how long it will take to fly from one airport to another, and which airlines provide those flights.

Fligths to Malaga Google Search.png

In the above example, Google shows consumers that a flight from Manchester to Malaga will take two hours and 57 minutes, that flights can be bought from Monarch, Jet2 and easyJet, and crucially that Malaga airport has the code AGP. Armed with this information, consumers wanting to refine their search can then search for Malaga flights by airport code.

Using our Search Sequence tool we can see the searches that were conducted immediately after a search for ‘flights to malaga’.

Search sequence flights to malaga.png

The sequence data shows that 1.28% of searches were for ‘flights from man to agp’ and 1.14% were for ‘flights from lon to agp’. What’s particularly interesting is that both of these search variations were more popular than the generic term ‘cheap flights to malaga’ and that the AGP airport code did not feature at all in the searches performed before a search for ‘flights to malaga’. This would suggest that Internet users were not aware that the Malaga airport code was AGP (indeed, why would they given the seemingly random selection of letters!?) but having searched for a flight to Malaga, two of the top 10 search immediately after that initial search, included the word AGP.

Whatever the reason, consumers are searching more now for airport codes than ever before, and as these searches are more qualified than the generic searches for ‘flights to malaga’ these terms are much more likely to convert to a sale than a generic search, making these search terms an ideal opportunity for both PPC campaigns and organic search engine optimisation.

You can download the travel report from our website for more insight into the travel industry. We also have a travel webinar coming up on Friday 16 September at noon which will go into some of the recent travel trends and look ahead to how travel can make the most of the London 2012 Olympics. In the meantime you can follow us on Twitter for all the latest data updates.

August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Do Developers And IT Managers Always Have To Be At War?

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Developers and IT managers both work in technology, but too often their goals end up conflicting. Can anything be done to create a more harmonious IT work environment? (more…)

August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Using technology in crisis preparedness

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(Cross-posted from the Google.org Blog)

In many ways, the arrival of Hurricane Irene last week drove home the importance of National Preparedness Month, an effort from the FEMA Ready campaign to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies throughout the year. With people relying on the Internet worldwide, it’s not surprising that Google search data and a recently released American Red Cross survey show that people turn to online resources and tools for information and communication during major crises. First responders, who provide services in the aftermath of disasters, are also finding Internet and cloud-based tools and information useful—for improving their understanding of a situation, collaborating with each other and communicating with the public.

Today, in preparation for September’s National Preparedness Month, our Crisis Response team is introducing a new Google Crisis Preparedness website with information and educational tools on using technology to prepare for crises. On the site, you can see how individuals and organizations have used technology during crises in the past, including how two girls located their grandfather after the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March of this year and how Americorps tracked volunteers during the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri in May of this year. There’s a section for responders with information on using Google tools in crises, such as collaborating efficiently using Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Sites, visualizing the disaster-related information with Google My Maps and Google Earth, and more.

Also, you can access a new public preparedness web resource launching today: Get Tech Ready, developed as a collaboration between FEMA, the American Red Cross, the Ad Council and Google Crisis Response. There, you’ll find tips on using technology to prepare for, adapt to and recover from disasters, for example:

  • Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone in case voice communications are not available
  • Store your important documents in the cloud so they can be accessed from anywhere or in a secure and remote area such as a flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available
  • Create an Emergency Information Document using this Ready.gov Emergency Plan Google Docs Template, or by downloading it to record and share your emergency plans and access them from anywhere

We encourage you to take a moment now to see how simple, easy-to-use and readily-available technology tools can help you prepare for a crisis. You’ll be more comfortable using these tools in the event of a disaster if you’ve already tried them out—and even integrated them into your daily life.

August 31st 2011 Uncategorized

Ask LH: How Can I Secure My Travel Laptop?

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Dear Lifehacker, I’ve just purchased a new laptop, as my previous laptop was stolen while I was travelling in Europe. The loss of my laptop happened on the last day, when I was travelling to the airport, so it pretty much carried the whole of my digital life for that fortnight. (more…)

August 31st 2011 Uncategorized