Is Multinational SEO Dead? No, But It’s Changing…

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the term “SEO” and what it really means today. After a record run of attending conferences ranging from San Jose, Toronto, London and Leeds (soon to be joined by Seattle and Riga), I’ve become very conscious of a cloud of what can only…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

April 30th 2013 PPC

Avoiding The Keyword Research Checkmate

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Chasing after one specific keyword set can not only be frustrating, but also inefficient. The marriage of keyword research and content can result in strong, targeted pages that perform, reach the ideal demographic, and result in conversions — if you’re willing to test and think…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

April 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Yahoo: Yes, We’re Still a Media Company

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The last time Yahoo threw an upfront — or NewFront, as they’re called when digital companies imitate TV’s annual pitches to ad buyers — it was a media company, or at least aspired to be. It was run by media exec Ross Levinsohn and threw a full-fledged, TV-style spectacle for advertisers, promoting shows like “Burning Love” and Anthony Zuiker’s “Cybergeddon.”

Then Google exec Marissa Mayer was installed as CEO and media faded from Yahoo’s story altogether. Ms. Mayer’s Yahoo wasn’t about content; it was about tools: a weather app, a re-launched Flickr and Mail, a redesigned home page and, of course, “your daily habits.” In the new Yahoo narrative, media barely had a speaking role.

Yahoo tried to change that on Monday with a new slate of six new shows focused on comedy and sex plus partnerships with WWE and Conde Nast. The message? “Guys, we’re still a media company.”

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April 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Next Up: Our Yahoo! App for Android

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Next Up: Our Yahoo! App for AndroidThe new Yahoo! app for Android delivers the best of the web with a virtually endless stream of personalized stories.

April 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Link Removal Fees Feel Like Ransom Deal

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suitcase of moneyAs you know, I have not been a fan of link removal fees, even from link directories.

I spotted this WebmasterWorld thread where a webmaster said he simply cannot afford them all. He added up the fees to remove the links he feels is hurting his web site from ranking well in Google and they added up to $12,210.

Some only wanted $20 but some wanted as much as $500 to remove a link.

This webmaster cannot afford to spend $12,000 on link removals and is looking for a way out.

The easiest way out is the Google Disavow Tool. This tool is exactly for situations where you cannot remove a link from a third-party site. Either no one responds to you, they refuse to remove it or you cannot afford to remove it. So use the disavow tool.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for suitcase of money

April 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Google Now Available For iPhone/iPad

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Google Now iOS

Google announced that Google Now, the predictive search feature from Google, is now available on iOS devices. You can download it by just downloading or upgrading the Google Search App via iTunes App Store.

Once you do, to activate it, you need to load the app and agree to the prompts. Note, when you do that, you will notice that the GPS indicator is always on. The app constantly polls your location, so that Google can serve you predictive search results. I should note, this may have a battery performance implication to your device.

If you want to turn that off, you can, but it will prevent Google Now from doing its thing. Here is how to stop it:

click for full size

Here is how Google Now works:

I’ve been playing with it all day yesterday and honestly, it is not pulling calendar events properly for me, it is not giving me traffic information on the way to or from work/home. It is not really working as I expected, why? Maybe because I am on a Google Apps account? I am not sure. Or maybe I am expecting too much.

Forum discussion at Google+ and Google Web Search Help.

Update: Spoke to Google. In short, the method they use for detecting your location doesn’t use excessive battery (it uses wifi and cell towers, not GPS), plus Google Now gets better over time as it learns your usage and behavior. So time will tell.

April 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Unilever Taps 360i for Ben & Jerry’s Digital Business

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Dentsu digital shop 360i has made its way onto the Unilever roster as the new digital agency for the Ben & Jerry’s brand. The Vermont-based ice-cream company selected 360i — the agency behind the much-celebrated Superbowl Oreo tweet — following a review that began late last year.

Independent PR giant Edelman, which supports PR for a number of Unilever brands, including Dove and Axe, was the incumbent on the digital business.

Edelman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to Mike Hayes, a digital marketing executive at Ben & Jerry’s, Edelman will retain its global digital business for the brand, but the future of its global digital agency relationships is “gray.”

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April 30th 2013 Uncategorized

What’s So Social About Social Communities?

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In the old days we didn’t call it “social communities”. We didn’t use our real names either. This is how I know men like to refer to themselves as “Stallion”.

When I first cranked up my 9600 baud modem wired to the kitchen phone line, I chatted it up on AOL groups as “Dancing Thunder”. No matter how many mistakes I made or how newbie I sounded, I wasn’t about to admit who I really was or where I came from. Looking back now, I wonder why we called our chat places “news” sites, like “Deja news” and “net” sites, like “UseNet”. What the heck was IRC? (Internet Relay Chat) and “listservs”, which were the countless email lists I belonged to and moderated.

In fact, an email list is how I learned about the September 911 attacks. I was home working and my desktop pinged me with notice that a new email arrived from one of my “listservs”. It was from a friend from Australia shouting in all caps, “WHAT THE FARK IS GOING ON OVER THERE!” I was the first on the list to reply. “What do you mean?” I typed back to him. “TURN ON YOUR TV!” he urged. So I did, just in time to see the second plane hit a tower. It still amazes me that somebody from another country alerted me to what was happening 2 hours away from my home.
Old Chat sites
By 1998 I stopped being Dancing Thunder and switched to “Cre8pc” because by then I had a web site and domain called I launched a club about SEO to share what I knew and meet other SEO’s. Still not referred to as “social” sites, we were calling them “groups” and “chat rooms” and “clubs”. Chat rooms had the best names by the way. As a single mom with names for myself I no longer recall, I met many Stallions looking for Mares.

When my little SEO club became Cre8asiteforums in 2002, the format was by then forums with posts and threads. There were other forums already in the Search Engine Optimization industry like WebmasterWorld, JimsWorld and MarketPositionGold. Some people used their real names, while others were well branded as their alternate selves. Chat rooms were assimilated into dating sites. Instant messages came out in different formats. Usenet, Deja news, and email lists faded into history.

Finally, after years of global conversations and meeting people online, the term “Social” and “Communities” are the new thing. Advertisers target them. Search engines hunt for social “signals”. We’re “liked”, “followed”, “friended”, “added” and “pinned”. Our conversations are rated with stars and thumbs. Communities offer badges to members. Some pack their houses with ads, while others offer fee-based private areas with perks.

Like it or not, the fast growth in online discussions can be attributed to adult sites. The one big area for discussions is always sex. The most popular sections of Playboy and Penthouse print magazines were always the letters and stories, so just imagine the joy felt by millions of people when the Internet offered countless more stories and letters! Expert sex advice was accessible in chat rooms or via web site subscriptions. All the questions that were never before asked were now not only asked on the Internet, but the answers were provided by search engines!

Adult sites led the way in various technologies and scripts by sorting photos, offering directories of erotica, and forming niche communities. These sites required search engine optimization too, as well as other highly competitive industries. Even so, in the days before video and YouTube, the most popular adult sites were those where people had conversations, shared stories or the site’s owners engaged in discussions. The appeal was talking and sharing.

Are social communities a fad that will die off?

I believe “social” is a poor choice of term for sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. On Facebook and LinkedIn my network consists of people I already know or am connected to by my work. I’m not out there meeting and conversing with a ton of new people. My Facebook is my tiny meeting place where I can find friends, family and coworkers in a sort of pre-screened way. Twitter is not social either. It’s a constant one-way stream of gab with rare occasions of engagement. Mostly, my tweets are just there and unless retweeted, I never get any feedback. Twitter isn’t a place for conversations. With Pinterest, it’s about the images rather than dialog with anyone.

I’m not convinced that what we’re doing on those sites has anything to do with being social. We’re too disconnected for that, by choice and by the nature of how this is all set up. In fact, we’re so desperate to share pieces of ourselves that in sites like Facebook, we post famous sayings by other people and kitten videos just to offer some insightful clues about who we really are.

Online communities form for a variety of reasons but the ones that stick are those where the people come together as a family. That kind of community takes years to become a true “community” where everyone feels like they belong.

In the next few weeks of my Tuesday blog posts, I’m going to share more on community building.

The post What’s So Social About Social Communities? appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

April 30th 2013 Social Media

Do Advertorials & Native Advertising Fit In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

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Are advertorials a content marketing tactic?Where do advertorials, also know in politically correct terms as “native advertising”, fit into the content marketing toolkit?  To answer this question, we first have to understand what advertorials are – and also that the definition of content marketing itself is a hotly contested topic.

Adam Stetzer of HubShout, in his recent investigation into the purported Google penalization of Interflora for employing advertorial content, insists advertorials are NOT content marketing.

“Advertorials are advertisements, regardless of how you try to dress them up”, he says, “while content marketing is educational. Advertorials are biased; content marketing is free of any bias. The two may share a commercial motive, but are completely different and should be treated as separate entities”.

However, Lewis DVorkin, Chief Product Officer at Forbes Media, defines content marketing as “Brands using the tools of digital media and social sharing to behave like original-content publishers.”

His definition of content marketing includes AdVoice, the Forbes service he was speaking of at the time. “First launched 20 months ago, it’s a fully transparent way for marketers to publish and curate content on and in our magazine.”  In fact, Lee Odden was included (unbeknownst to him) in a recent Forbes AdVoice article published by CapitalOne, “Use Content Marketing to Boost Your Business” which looks and reads pretty much the same as regular Forbes content.

Forbes Lee Odden

It seems, then, that DVorkin’s vision of content marketing is not restricted to the unbiased, but that advertorial content is acceptable where parties ensure transparency for readers. “Content is content,” he says, “and transparency makes it possible for many different credible sources to provide useful information.”

Are Advertorials Evil By Their Very Nature?

Marketers like John Bethune at B2BMemes take exception with DVorkin’s definition. In a post questioning this expansion of content beyond owned into paid, he asks, “When a publication buys content (from staff writers or contributors), that clearly counts as editorial. But when the publication is paid to publish it (by advertisers), is it still editorial?”

It’s a valid question.

Advertorials have been around since the 1940s, when savvy newspaper publishers realized the potential of ad content posing as editorial. Then came infomercials, those wonderful paid programming spots that helped networks fill the dead air and increase their off-time revenue.

Advertorials, like infomercials, are not a new tactic.

Fast forward to the modern web; advertorials might also be known as native advertising, or more commonly, sponsored content. They typically appear in blogs as well as print and online magazines and newspapers. Sponsored content allows brands to reach beyond their own audiences, to inform, engage and convert readers through content that (ideally) reads as editorial despite the underlying advertising message.

Advertorial example

This advertorial ran in local newspapers through a service called Universal Media Syndicate. Though clearly marked an advertisement, it has a definite editorial look and feel.

Google itself has pushed the envelope as far as clearly indicating which of their content is organic or paid and has had many conversations with the FTC as a result. So while some have rightly questioned whether Google’s stance on advertorials is a move designed to cut their paid advertising competitors off at the knees, it doesn’t seem so. The penalization of flower brand Interflora for participating in BBC advertorials seems a natural extension of their paid links policy. As Stetzer points out in his evaluation of the situation, penalization for advertorial content can be prevented/remedied by ensuring all links in the content are no-follow and do not pass PageRank.

Still, we have the ethical question: do advertorials have a place in your strategy as one of the content marketing tactics to consider?

Are Advertorials Even Content Marketing At All?

When Lee Odden recently asked his social network of marketers to share their definitions of content, the range of answers was surprising:

  • Information designed for consumption, seasoned for enjoyment, and packaged to share.
  • Content comes in any form (audio, text, video), and it informs, entertains, enlightens, or teaches people who consume it.
  • Content is high quality, useful information that conveys a story presented in a contextually relevant manner with the goal of soliciting an emotion or engagement.
  • Relevant, compelling, timely and valued knowledge and/or entertainment.
  • Original and opinion-charged copy with a focused message and personalized voice.

In fact, after perusing the 40+ definitions of content, I don’t see anything about paid content falling within the bounds of content marketing territory. Then again, I see nothing definitively excluding it as a viable tactic, either.

When Advertorials Are Okay:

Unfortunately, many online marketing tactics that show promise are milked to death and taken way too far by overzealous marketers. Instead of an outright ban on advertorial content, maybe what we need is a set of common sense, ethical guidelines for its use.

“With today’s savvy consumers, sponsored content, native advertising and advertorial isn’t effective unless it provides valuable and useful information,” TopRank CEO Lee Odden recently told a German business magazine. “With reputable publications, similar, if not the same, editorial standards apply as they do for pure editorial content. The only difference is the means of inclusion: payment or editorial.”

With that in mind, here are some common sense guidelines for advertorial, native advertising or sponsored content:

  • Top quality – never forget the “editorial” part of the equation. Your competitors may have former journalists and professional editors at their disposal, as should your brand.
  • Avoid overtly promotional language because it’s ineffective and makes you look silly.
  • Aim to inform, educate, and/or entertain readers, as with other types of unpaid content.
  • Offer transparency and does not attempt to trick readers into believing they are reading unbiased, journalistic content.
  • Use no-follow links to avoid passing PageRank and falling outside Google’s guidelines.
  • Serves its purpose through careful planning and alignment with your business goals.
  • An accurate reflection of your brand voice, company culture and capabilities.

Advertorial content has been a sticky topic lately, although it doesn’t have to be dismissed without consideration. If sponsored content makes sense as a marketing tactic for your company and you can find an opportunity for placement with a reputable publication and measurable ROI, it may be worth considering. Just remember that content, whether it’s published purely based on editorial merits or as part of an advertising program, isn’t effective unless it creates value for the reader.

Are you using advertorial content as part of your marketing strategy? Share your tips or thoughts on the practice in the comments.

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Do Advertorials & Native Advertising Fit In Your Content Marketing Strategy? |

April 30th 2013 Online Marketing

Google Granted Patent on Mobile Machine Learning

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That phone in your pocket is filled with applications, with sensors to measure movement and the world around us, with communications tools that put us in touch with work, home, family, friends, service providers and strangers.

That phone in your pocket is poised to teach itself how to work better, based upon how you use […]

The post Google Granted Patent on Mobile Machine Learning appeared first on SEO by the Sea.

April 30th 2013 Uncategorized