Sunday, December 7, 2008

Link Building - SEO Book

Link building is hard work.

Have you ever tried to get people to link to your pure commerce/commercial brochure-web site? You know how tough it is out there. The link economy has become so established, we've even got strategies built around the idea of never linking out. Once people perceive something to be valuable, they'll think twice about just handing it over for nothing.

So what is an SEO supposed to do?

The key to linking in an environment where there is high value placed on links is to think of linking less as a process, and more in terms of building relationships.

Here are a few linking ideas designed to reduce the pain and increase the effectiveness of your link building campaign.

Relationship Link Building 101

The first step in your link building strategy occurs before your site hits the web.

If you're thinking of launching a static brochure-ware site, and link building is part of your marketing strategy, think again.

Why?

There is less chance for relationship building.

Preferably, you want a site with plenty of potential for on-going community involvement and interaction.

Examples?

News Sites. Social sites. Blogs. Frequently-updated information sites. Teaching sites. Advice sites. Q&A. Wikipedia-style sites. The static brochure website will still have a place, but those sites with higher levels of user engagement will trump it.

Produce Really, Really Interesting Content

Posting what everyone else is posting is not interesting.

Look at what everyone else is posting and take a new angle on the the topic. Don't just go one better, go ten better. Learn the lessons of The Purple Cow. Be worth remarking upon. People are hungry for unique, quality content.

They'll link to you if you have it.

If your competitors are spending ten minutes on their posts, you spend a day. Spend a whole week. Cover areas no one else is covering. Make your posts game-changing posts. You're going to need not one, but a consistent body of such posts. Think about the sites you link to. You need to aim to be better than those sites.

At very least, you need to offer a point of difference in order to be linkworthy.

Link Out

If you're new, you're going to need friends. You're going to need influential friends.

A link out to sites run by influential people becomes an advertisement for your site in their referral logs. People will follow the links back to see who is talking about them, and if you're got an impressive set of articles/posts, you'll be on their radar in no time.

Give Forward

Most modern marketing is based on the idea of reciprocation. If you do something for others, without requesting something in return, most people feel they should reciprocate.

Give something valuable. Give wide. Give freely. Some of it will eventually come back.

Give nothing, and you're guaranteed that nothing will come back.

Lose The Ads

The less commercial you appear, the more likely you'll get linked to, especially from .edu and other authority information hubs. Few people want to link to sites plastered with advertising unless that site already has established authority.

You can introduce advertising once you've built up link authority.

Flattery Gets You Everywhere

Make people feel important. Make them look good. If you make them look good, they'll want to point that fact out to others. They'll do your marketing for you.

Look For Companies With "In The News" Pages

This tip flows on from flattery. Write about companies in a good light. To find companies that have "in the news" style pages, do a Google search for [your industry + "in the news"].

Use Meme Trackers

Monitor upcoming news stories. Use Google Hot Trends, subscribe to Google Alerts, and check out Twitter stuff like Twitter Search and Twitscoop.

Write stories about fast-breaking events that have little competition but high interest levels. If the meme gets big enough, news sites will look around for content to quote, and, given a lack of competition, hopefully they'll quote yours.

Get Seen In The Community

Participate in answer sites, forums, article sites, Wikipedia, Squidoo, Amazon et al. Contribute something of real value. You'll get direct links in some cases, but at very least you'll raise awareness, which can translate into links down the line.

The Designer Angle

Get your site re-designed by a high profile designer who has a history of showcasing his/her work.

The cost of the design might be more than covered by the value of the inbound links and attention you receive, especially if the design is mentioned in trade bibles, like Smashing Magazine.

Old-Skool

Less about relationships, but good tools to have in the box.

Trade Links

Trade links, ask for links, beg for links. Hey, it still works, although it's probably the least effective method, and most time consuming. Outsource this task, if you can.

List With Local Business Services

List with your Chamber of Commerce, Business Bureau's, Government Advisories, libraries, and other appropriate institutions.

Linkbait

Link baiting is when you write content with the specific aim of attracting links. It works, but you've got to be careful with your pitch. Get the tone wrong for your audience, and you'll put people off.

Try:

  • Top Ten Lists
  • Top Myths
  • Top 100
  • How To Do Something Exceptional With (Seemingly) No Effort
  • Courting Controversy
  • Be The First To Do Something
  • Being Outrageous

Press Releases

Almost all press releases end up in the web equivalent of the wastepaper bin, but if you can provide a fresh, newsy angle, there is significant potential for links.

Try combining link bait strategies with press release strategies. A local angle works well for local news services, who are often starved of local news.

Directory Listings

Keep the following criteria in mind when evaluating which web directories are worth your time.

  • They appear in the SERPs
  • Offer direct links - i.e they aren't routed through a script, or no-followed.
  • High crawl frequency - check out the latest crawl date in Google cache. If the directory pages haven't been cached in months, chances are Google may regard them as low quality.
  • Look for quality standards - Matt Cutts outlined Google's view of a good directory. Directories that stay closest to these guidelines are more likely to be around for the long haul.
  • Beware of sitewide linking

For more detail, check out Web Directories...are They Relevant to SEO?

Share One Strategy

If you've reached this far, and thought "I know this stuff!" - great :)

How about sharing your single best link acquisition strategy with the community :)

The Future Of Linking

Links have been so important for so long now, but are things about to change?

In the dark, distant past - 1997 - the web was about publishing.

However, the web ecosystem is evolving into more of an interactive space, based on platforms.

As a result, we're seeing a different kind of website emerge - it is more "place" than "brochure". Think Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Blogs, et al. We're seeing more applications. We're seeing more cloud computing. The web is becoming a place where we truly interact, as opposed to simply publish.

Google's ranking models have, in the past, been based on publishing models - specifically, an academic citation model in the form of PageRank. This approach will become less effective at determining relevance as people move away from the publishing model and towards interaction and engagement.

Google realize this, of course. This is why I think Google will be adapting their model to monitor and gauge interaction. Interaction will become a new valuable metric as to a sites worth, which will flow into ranking.

In a recent post on The Official Googleblog, Google talked of how interaction will change how systems "think and react":

"As we're already seeing, people will interact with the cloud using a plethora of devices: PCs, mobile phones and PDAs, and games. But we'll also see a rush of new devices customized to particular applications, and more environmental sensors and actuators, all sending and receiving data via the cloud. The increasing number and diversity of interactions will not only direct more information to the cloud, they will also provide valuable information on how people and systems think and react..... As systems are allowed to learn from interactions at an individual level, they can provide results customized to an individuals situational needs: where they are located, what time of day it is, what they are doing. And translation and multi-modal systems will also be feasible, so people speaking one language can seamlessly interact with people and information in other languages."

Notice the frequency with which Google use the terms "interact".

I think this hints at the future direction of search and ranking. Google will increasingly shift from measuring external popularity metrics, such as linking, to measuring the level of interaction, if they are not already doing so.

There have been three recent developments that search marketers should be aware of:

This all points to the increasing role of engagement metrics.

In order to positioned well in the future, you'll need to think as much about the level and type of interaction on your site as you will as you will about link authority. This comes all the way back to my first point above - build a site with plenty of potential for relationship building.

Something to ponder :)


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Google Makes People Healthy

Anyone who has been a regular reader of this blog knows my love for Google. I mean one quick scan might tell you about my Google love. Well what about this one! Google Flu Tracker. Yep, Google is making the US a healthier place.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Easy Webpage Maker Thanks to Google Labs

My mother wanted a site for her law practice that potential clients would find when they Googled her. My professor needed a place on the web where he could post assignments and readings for Psych 131. My friend Casey was excited about creating an online encyclopedia of Big Lebowski trivia.

All of them wanted simple web pages that looked great, but none of them wanted to take the time to learn HTML, wrangle with complex tools or shell out cash for a designer. They managed to cajole me, their nerdy technically-savvy friend, into becoming the neighborhood techie -- but what if you don't know one? Why isn't making a web page as fast and easy as using a word processor?

These frustrations stayed with me when I started working at a California company full of friendly neighborhood techies that encourages its employees to devote 20% of their time to scratching their intellectual itches. So I gathered a team of engineers and designers passionate about using their 20% time to make it easy to publish useful, attractive web pages.

After many months of focusing on designing a product that our friends and families would enjoy, and politely coaxing web browsers into doing things they were never meant to do, we're happy that "Google Page Creator" is now part of the Google Labs family. Labs is Google's technology playground, a place where we can experiment with new services that have us excited, but that aren't all grown up yet. We rely on constructive feedback from early users to help us nurture these experiments from intriguing ideas into mature products.

Google Page Creator is just a small step in helping people get their words, pictures and ideas on to the web. But it's nice to know that when my friends want to share their experiences from a Venetian monastery, or coworkers feel compelled to give their appropriately-named bowling team a web presence, I know where to point them.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Yahoo Search Helps You Find Cheep Gas

Driving across town to find gas that's a few percent less expensive may have seemed silly a few years ago, but nowadays it's becoming a lot more rational. With gas prices up 71% compared to last year and no relief in sight, we thought a Yahoo! Search shortcut to help users find the cheapest gas in their area was in order.

Starting today, if you search for [gas prices + city name/zip code] or [cheap gas + city name/zip code], you'll get a shortcut that gives you comprehensive information such as gas prices, locations and even maps without having to leave the search results page. And, if you don't happen to include a city name or zip code, don't fret. We'll do our best to determine the stations closest to you.


Gas Price DD


Gas prices can vary drastically in any given city - take Chicago for example, with a low of $3.54 and a high of $4.33 per gallon - so, do a quick search before you head out on the road.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ask.com with Better Answers

Ask.com went back to its roots and enhanced the snippets for search results if the query is a question. Snippets are usually excerpts that include your query, but Ask.com replaced them with the actual answers, as you can see if you search for [how to tie a tie]:


"Presenting direct answers to your searches, front and center, has always been at the heart of the Ask.com experience, and we push further down that path today with the introduction of three new answer technologies: DADS, DAFS, and AnswerFarm. These technologies take both structured and unstructured data, and - instead of delivering a title and description for each document - they deliver answers," explains Ask's blog. This is a clever idea, but Ask.com only shows at most 2 results with enhanced snippets.

The new feature is part of a broader update that mixes specialized search results with organic web results, much like Google's universal search. Ask.com goes one step further and almost eliminates standard, as you can see if you search for [Madonna]: in the top 10 results, you can find 4 web search results, one direct answer, image results, news results, event listings, video results and an encyclopedia result.


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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Google is shopping for an Ad Agency of Record

An interesting artical about Google looking for an Ad Agency of Record.
-- Janet Meiners |

You don’t see a lot of traditional advertising from Google. Their philosophy is to build great products and develop amazing technology and let it sell (and support) itself. Their marketing strategy has relied mostly on word of mouth - and its worked well. It just may not be enough for a company their size.

That is slowly changing. Google looks to be shopping for an ad agency. They’ve looked at Madison Avenue agencies like Wieden + Kennedy and Taxi New York. They’ve hired an agency for a campaign in Japan called “100 Things You Can Do With Google.” However, unlike many top brands Google ads aren’t running on prime time.

Many people outside of geekdom don’t know about Google’s 411 phone service, Gmail, or other Google products. For example, do you know about or use Google’s text message search service? Text message a search query to 466453 (”GOOGLE” on most phones) and they text message back the search results. It’s been around since 1994. I use Goog411 but just heard about text searching last week.

What they have been doing to market though - is they blog. And they actively promote blog posts. And post quirky YouTube ads on creative ways to use their products. There is constant talk of new products, new uses for products, and about Google culture. And we (the online audience) eat it up.

For the most part Googlers are great evangelists for their company. But what about the people who aren’t online or who don’t read blogs? As Google branches into cell phones, regular phones, and other products, they’re competing in spaces with more serious competition. Sometimes Google’s products sound compelling but aren’t fully baked and are rarely supported.

When Google releases their G1 cellphone with Google Android as its backend, they are planning to advertise on billboards and TV ads. They are partnering with T-Mobile, a company already doing a lot of traditional advertising. This seems more Google’s style - letting another company take the lead or do much of the marketing for them.

More evidence that Google is doing more traditional advertising is that they hired Andy Berndt, a former co-president of WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather in New York. He is director of a new group called Google Creative Lab where they develop marketing and branding strategies (in true Google style there are quirky contests that reward innovation).

Google may need to invest more in marketing as their growth rate slows (it’s still amazing though - 39% in its second quarter, which was 58% last year). TNS Media Intelligence says Google’s offline ad spending is at about $20 million a year.

While Google is almost synonymous with “search” they are much less well-known for their other products. Mostly I want to see Google’s authentic brand and style in the offline world. Have you seen examples of their ad efforts offline? I’d like to hear about it.


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Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Ten Commandments of Blogging

Blogsessive - Obsessed with Blogging has defined the 10 Commandments of Blogging. I love the list! Please feel free to add your thoughts.

I’m no modern Moses, but when it comes to blogging there are some things that we should all respect. Some of them I’ve learned from others, some from my own experience, but put together, here are the ten commandments of blogging that I follow by the book.

1. Promise and deliver
Whenever you make a promise focus on delivering. If something goes wrong, make sure you inform people and tell them you’re going to be a little late on delivering, but silence is not an answer.

2. Be helpful
It’s not all about getting paid. Actually most successful bloggers have made a name for themselves by helping other people find their path. The more helpful you are, the more people you’ll attract. The bigger your authority, the better are the chances to transform that authority into income.

3. Never steal
Inspiration is something we all look for, but stealing is not a method of getting inspired. Don’t worry if your first blogging experiments are not as great as those of more popular bloggers. Focus on evolution, on learning, and you’ll get there, in time.

4. Allow yourself time for research
Sometimes, even a 5 minute research can turn a simple blog post into a great post. If your post will manage to provide information on all/most of the topic’s aspects, it is likely to be much more appreciated by your readers.

5. Provide insight, but leave space for reaction
As I said at number 4, it’s better to touch all aspects of a topic, even if not in an in-depth way. At least, you’re giving people a starting point from where they can start looking for more information. Also, by leaving a few blank spots, you encourage reaction and communication.

6. Choose role-models, not idols
If a blogger has become successful, it’s mostly because he/she has found his/her own path. It’s nice to admire people for their qualities and focus. Whenever you turn to them for inspiration, rather look at their strategies than their actual actions. Most times, your own set of actions is more likely to be the successful ones.

7. Don’t lose focus
I know that sometimes it’s tough. Sometimes, you just feel less inspired or consider that there are no more things that you could approach in your main topic. Rather than letting you blog go, look for topics tangent to those you usually write about.

A small change is like a fresh mouth of air in the morning. Afterward, you’ll see how ideas will start to shape up.

8. Be good and be proud
If you’re good at what you’re doing, there’s no point in not letting people know it. Don’t expect to be discovered in that mass of millions of blogs out there. Promote yourself, your ideas and you accomplishments. There’s no shame in that. Also, a good sense of modesty is helpful, but don’t confuse being modest with being shy.

9. When you point fingers, make sure you’re entitled to
Although I never encourage anyone to stick their nose in someone else’s business, I know that sometimes, people feel the need to point at other people’s mistakes. If you’re going to do that, make sure you’re 100% right. Unsupported allegations will most likely turn against you.

10. Never expect less than you can achieve.
It’s always important that you know what your limits are. Once you’ve come to know them, always aim higher. That way, it’s easier to level them or even go beyond.

Most of the times, the human nature makes as lazier or less interested the closer we get to our goals, but by aiming higher, we’ll have an edge. This last rule is more of a life rule than a blogging commandment, but still, I find it highly important.
Share your set of rules with me

Sure, you can always go beyond the above set of rules and add more standards to blog by, like keeping a schedule, trying to be more communicative and so one, but these are the ones that guide my blogging path.

Tell me, what’s your set of rules?


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Browse what the world is saying on Blog Search

Did you know that millions of bloggers around the world write new posts each week? If you're like me, you probably read only a tiny fraction of these in Google Reader. What's everybody else writing about? Our Blog Search team thought this was an interesting enough question to look into. What Google found was a massive mix: entertaining items about celebrities, personal perspectives on political figures, cutting-edge (and sometimes unverified) news stories, and a range of niche topics often ignored by the mainstream media.

Yesterday, Google launched a new homepage for Google Blog Search so that you too can browse and discover the most interesting stories in the blogosphere. Adapting some of the technology pioneered by Google News, Google is now showing categories on the left side of the website and organizing the blog posts within those categories into clusters, which are groupings of posts about the same story or event. Grouping them in clusters lets you see the best posts on a story or get a variety of perspectives. When you look within a cluster, you'll find a collection of the most interesting and recent posts on the topic, along with a timeline graph that shows you how the story is gaining momentum in the blogosphere.

In this example, the green "64 blogs" link takes you inside the cluster and shows you all the blog posts for a story.


Google had a great time building the new homepage and they hope you enjoy using it. Please give it a try and let Google know if you have comments or suggestions. They launched in English only, but plan to add new features and support for more languages in the coming months, so stay tuned.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

I have a SEO crush on Matt Cutts!

Here are a series of interviews by Matt Cutts, Google's SEO Guru. He discusses Chrome and Firefox. Matt also discusses SEO and how some believe it is SPAM. He talks about some of the sneaky SEO diseptive techniques and some of the highlights of working at Google. Thanks for sharing Matt!








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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy 10 Years Google Doodle

The Google doodle tradition started a long time ago (in summer 1999, in fact) when Larry and Sergey put a stick figure on the homepage to signify that they were out of the office at Burning Man. Nothing against stick figures, but our logo designs have become rather more varied since then. Today you'll see a special design that commemorates our 10th birthday. We've incorporated a little bit of history by using the original Google logo from 1998. And since everyone keeps asking what we'd like for our birthday (besides cake and party hats) -- the first thing we thought of was a nice new server rack.


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Larry Page to FCC: Free the "white spaces" spectrum by election day

Following a previous visit to D.C. earlier this year, Google co-founder Larry Page hit Capitol Hill today with a simple message to the Federal Communications Commission: after five years of testing and discussion, it is time to free the vacant "white spaces" spectrum for affordable, nationwide high-speed wireless Internet connectivity.

With the FCC likely to release its report on the field testing process shortly, Larry called on the FCC to issue a final order regarding the vacant spectrum by election day in early November. And, he noted, it's not just technology companies like Google, Microsoft and Dell who care about putting the unused spectrum to use for broadband. Larry announced that as of this week, more than 16,000 citizens have sent petitions to the FCC through Free The Airwaves, our campaign to bring Internet users together around this important issue (if you haven't yet signed the petition, I hope that you'll join us in sending a clear message to the FCC).

Facing a room full of congressional staff as well as demonstrations from companies like Motorola and Shared Spectrum Company, Larry highlighted the tremendous potential that this spectrum holds for improving communications and boosting our economy. This spectrum, which can cover vast distances, could be used to connect underserved rural and urban communities to the Internet, at perhaps a tenth of the cost of today's municipal wi-fi projects. Additionally, the FCC could unleash considerable economic activity -- both in R&D as well as greater broadband connectivity -- by allowing innovaters to tap this underutilized resource.

Finally, Larry addressed the ways in which TV broadcasters and wireless microphone companies have unfortunately injected politics into the FCC's testing process, referring to August tests at FedEx Field just outside of D.C. and at the Majestic Theater in New York City. Those tests were intended to assess whether white space device prototypes could sense the presence of wireless microphone signals. However actions suggest that wireless microphone operators actually transmitted not on their normal channels but instead on channels occupied by TV broadcast signals. For instance during the Fed Ex Field test, wireless microphones were improperly used on the very station that carried the broadcast of the game. As a result, the white spaces devices naturally could not detect the microphone signals, as they were hidden by the much more powerful TV signals. The White Spaces Coalition, of which Google is a member, offered a filing with the FCC in late August pointing out what had happened in the test.

The time for discussion and testing is coming to a close, and the time for action is now.



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Monday, September 15, 2008

Marketing Blog - Top “Strange” Baby Trends List

Top Strange Baby Trends

Trend Hunter’s “Top 30 Baby Trends” list of 2008 is out, so I thought I’d “share the crazy” because it really is a bizarre collection of trends and products. Sure…it’s

a little odd to post a “years best” list this early in the year, but it’s an odd list so you’ll probably forget that it’s June when reading about pregnant men.

Trend Hunter covers what could be described as extreme themes and products (not always family/work friendly content), so consider that your warning before following the links. I’ve covered a few trends mentioned in their list in past posts, but here’s a few from Trend Hunter’s top 30 baby trends that I didn’t know about:

  • Giant Gurgle (World’s First Baby Rollercoaster): The Alton Towers theme pack located in Staffordshire, England is working on the world’s first baby rollercoaster being called Giant Gurgle. Babies six-months-old and up will soon be able to enjoy the 2 mph trek which lasts just over a minute. The ride is surrounded by a path allowing new parents to stroll along side their thrill-seeking infants.
  • Wranglers (for Babies): I’m not sure how I missed the release of this product, but apparently Wrangler sells canvas diaper covers. Your little buckaroo will fit right in at the next rodeo thanks to the authentic back pockets and Wrangler patch!
  • Her First High Heels (Heelarious): If you’re looking for a gag-gift for an upcoming baby shower, I think a pair of these baby heels would be perfect if the mom on your gift list was a shoe freak. These soft, baby-friendly shoes come in 0-6 months.

That’s your healthy dose of fun for this Monday baby fans! Click on the comments bubble above to share a bizarre baby-related trend or product of your own.


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Marketing Blog - How Google Earth Helped Win A Gold Medal



Google Earth is getting a nice plug from Olympic Gold Medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong. When she did her time trials in December, 2007 in China, she took along her husband’s GPS unit to capture the elevation along the route. Then she used that data to find the best training route back home. In a guest post on the Google Lat-Long blog, she writes:

After returning home to Boise, Idaho, I exported the GPS data to several different formats, one of which I was able to launch with Google Earth. I was then able to trace the entire course from the comfort of my home half a world away and find a similar route to train on back in Boise. This capability along with having the elevation profile proved invaluable in my preparation for my Gold Medal race.

Google proves that once again, information is a competitive advantage.


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marketing Blog - Back to school with google: Bring the political process to life in your classroom

It's back-to-school season in the U.S. and social studies teachers everywhere are excited about the November elections and all of the ways that politics has evolved since even just four years ago. Technology is advancing. Internet fundraising has brought all kinds of new small donors into the political process, social networking is helping campaigns and citizens organize themselves in new ways, and YouTube, which didn't even exist four years ago, has swept the political dialogue.

With technology producing such dramatic changes in American politics, we want to make sure it's easy for teachers to bring some of the best Internet tools into the classroom to help students get engaged. Working with the National Student/Parent Mock Election, we've pulled together a site called Elections Tools for Teachers where you can find descriptions and suggested learning activities for tools like YouTube, Google Maps, Elections Video Search and Power Readers, which we announced here yesterday.

We want students to walk away from their engagement in this election with a sense of excitement about our democratic process and with the belief that their voices matter. As Gloria Kirshner, president of the Mock Election has said, "In the classrooms of today are the Presidents, Senators, Congress members and, most important, the voters of tomorrow. Whether we are sending these children to the White House or to the polls, we hope to send them with a deep understanding of 'government of the people, by the people, and for the people.'"

Please let us know if you find Elections Tools for Teachers helpful in your teaching, and we hope you'll enroll your students in this year's National Mock Election on October 30th.


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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Marketing Blog - Google Docs has over 1 million users on campuses worldwide

Google Apps is rapidly gaining momentum in education. We now have more than a million people on campuses worldwide actively using Google's suite of email, calendar and docs to share information and study. This makes perfect sense. Schools have always been a proving ground for innovative ideas. And as we prepare for the new school year, we are happy to welcome more than a dozen universities across the U.S., joining the thousands of other schools that have already embraced cloud computing in education. Here are the new additions:
  • Collin County Community College District
  • Francis Marion University
  • George Washington University
  • Indiana University
  • Kean University
  • Kent State University
  • Kishwaukee College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Montgomery County Community College
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • University of Florida
  • University of San Diego
  • University of Virginia
This is really just the beginning. As we continue working to make it easier to communicate and collaborate online, we are going to meet with some of the top technology experts -- the students themselves. For the entire month of September, we are heading "App to School" by embarking on a cross-country bus tour to visit campuses, listen to students and learn more about how cloud computing is helping education. Please check out our Enterprise blog for more info.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Marketing Blog - Cuil - The New Search Engine - Everyone's Talking About

If you read the news today you could not have missed it. Cuil, pronounced "Cool" the new search engine. I myself, am slightly unimpressed mostly with the layout and the results so far.

Like Google, Cuil starts out with a very nondescript front page where you enter your search term, though Cuil sports a black background to differentiate it from Google right up front. That's where the differences start, and it gets better from there.

Rather than displaying search results in the plain-Jane text that Google does, Cuil brings back a very nice looking and well organized multi-column page including a thumbnail of a header, portrait or graphic from that link's page. Well, sometimes it does but it's not always accurate. On a search for my name, Cuil associated a picture of James Mitchell Ashley (can't say I've sported a suit like that in some time) and a cowboy dude from what looks like an album cover. Obviously Cuil has some perfecting to do but I like where it's going.

What else is different about Cuil? They say they don't analyze their users, they analyze web pages, ranking them for relevancy, inter-relationships and coherency, not just popularity. (Hmm...I'm not a search algorithm expert but that could mean just about anything.) They also say Cuil searches 3x the web pages as Google and 10x more than Microsoft Live Search. Cuil also organizes results into tabs. I've often wonder why Google couldn't distinguish the difference between Fender guitars and fender benders.

Look Ma, no advertising. No signs of that yet in Cuil's search results but you'd have to guess that's in Cuil's future as usage builds up. I've only just tried Cuil so I don't have much hands on experience with it to say whether I like or hate it yet.

One more thing. Cuil lists a general council on their exec team. Not that I want to get any nasty-grams from some lawyer but I always question when startups have full time legal council. Seems to me there's usually two reasons: either there's lots of business contracts to work on, or you're expecting enough IP disputes or litigation from competitors (Google?) that it's better to start stocking up the war chest early. Don't know if I'm right but that's what make sense to me.

Let me know what you think of Cuil, if you use it, think its a waste or like what you see.


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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Marketing Blog - Marketing Technology - Artificial Intellegence versus Expert systems

What is the difference between Artificial Intelligence systems and Expert systems?

The difference between artificial intelligence systems and expert systems is that is expert systems are built on artificial intelligence technologies. Expert systems are good for discrete, highly structured decisions. Expert systems are knowledge-intensive computer programs that capture the expertise of a human in limited domains of knowledge. Artificial intelligence systems are systems designed to behave like humans, with the ability to learn languages, accomplish physical tasks, use a perceptual apparatus, and emulate human expertise and decision-making. This is much broader than the limited scope of expert systems.

In marketing this is an important distinction because some companies are making complex decisions in order to position and target a particular product. There needs to be a clear distinction between the decision making software and what is included on not included within the decision making framework.

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Marketing Blog - Goodbye to Randy Pausch, he inspired many....

Goodbye to Randy Pausch, a great teacher

7/26/2008 10:25:00 AM
Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and a good friend of Google, passed away last night. In addition to being recognized as a pioneer in virtual reality research, he became widely known as a gifted teacher and a mentor to many. Millions of people saw his inspiring "Last Lecture" on YouTube. Read more about Randy and his contributions on our Research Blog.



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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Marketing Blog - Google Operators

Today my blog entry will be a quick very useful guide.

http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html

Here is a link the the Google guide for advanced operators. If you are a webmaster and looking for a great list of all the helpful search terms in Google, then here it is!


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Honda's online success VS Coke


Honda had over 16,600,000 searches in June on google alone!

Honda also has in total over 42,ooo channel views on YouTube on the Honda Channel

In a YouTube Search for Honda there are over 160,000 different possible video links.
Check out this Honda YouTube video from Spike TV:  Watch Video
This video Honda Video has received over 203 comments to date.

Honda, Honda, Honda.

But how else is Honda in the social media world...

www.honda-tech.com
www.hondacivicforum.com
www.hondaforums.com
www.superhonda.com

These are just to name a few and the first I found in my google search for Honda Forums

What does all this mean?  It gives you an idea of the enthusiasts for the brand.  It can show us how successful brands are followed like a religion.  It can show us the power of brand and how it carries on into the social world and is part of the consumer's free time.

Okay so you might be thinking your low cost product could never become so popular or achieve the kind of online success of Honda.  After all the money we spend on a car it makes since that it would be part of our identities.

Let's look at Coke...

Coke was searched on Google 1,500,000 times in June.

If you search for Coke on YouTube there are over 47,500 results.  These are all user submitted.

One of the most popular themes at quick glance is Coke plus Mentos.

Coke however has a different search experience.  Although there is the Coke Fan Club there is negative data as well.  See: www.killercoke.org

Clearly the point here is that people will care about your brand and product if the marketers do their jobs and create a strong brand image in the marketplace.  It is important as marketers never to assume people the level of care about a product due to cost.  The cost does not define the brand.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MobileMe Launching on July 9th Between 6pm-12am PT

Apple has announced the launch date and time for their MobileMe service. The revamped .Mac service will offer web-based email, calendar, addressbook, photo gallery and storage capabilities as well as "Push" sync services. Apple announced MobileMe at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in e...

read more | digg story

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thanks Cartoon Barry

Thanks for visiting Cartoon Barry!

http://www.cartoonbarry.com/2008/07/daily_search_coverage_link_fin_189.html

I enjoy reading your blog!

Claiming my Technorati

Technorati Profile

How Reddit is Flirting With The Future of Social News

Here's a look at why the idea of a social news site front page that is newspaper-like and presents information in reverse chronological presentation has to change - and how Reddit is flirting with the answer.

read more | digg story

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Google, Yahoo spiders can now crawl through Flash sites

Adobe has announced that it is working with Google and Yahoo to finally ensure that Flash SWF files are indexable by search engines. Google has already gotten a jump start on this feature that designers have been asking for since the late 90s, too.

read more | digg story

Why Nonprofits Should Make Use of Social Networking Sites

I find this story very interesting. My favorite example of a cause that works in social media venues is the "Product Red" campaign. This campaign ties the products to the cause and makes the cause fashionable. This campaign for AIDS also has many celebrity stars speaking out.

Simply Put - To get more exposure from a wider audience, that you never would've reached if it wasn't for Social Networking sites...

read more | digg story

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Google does it again with Google Books - a review

Check out Google Books

if you haven't already checked this out it is Google's way of listing all the world's books! Yes, all the books in the world. For us marketers it is also a way to promote your own book.

How it works:

Just like a search engine. You enter the keyword or phase you are looking for and google reterns all the books whose contents match your search term.

I tested it out...I glanced over on my shelf and saw the book: "Getting to Yes", I typed the word "yes" in to the search box and the second book after the book "Yes" was "Getting to Yes" which was the book I was looking to find. Interesting.

How about the contents inside of books? For all you "Devil Wears Prada" Girls. I am going to search under the name: Lily Goodwin, a free-spirited graduate student in Russian literature at Columbia with curly black hair, who rooms with Andrea (main character in the book), her longtime friend whom she went through high school and college with.

- Err, no natta, nothing...Google couldn't find this one. What about the main character? Andrea Sachs

no luck again, so in conclusion, if you search for titles, descriptions, and text on the outside of a book you are in luck.

Of course since it is Google, they have the Publisher's Program.

The Best Countries For Business

As a follow up to my blog on marketing abroad....

Denmark tops our annual list of the best (and worst) places in the world for business

read more | digg story

Firefox Users Most Secure on Internet, Study Reveals

Mozilla Firefox fans might rest a little easier these days after a study released Tuesday revealed that its users are most secure on the Internet.

read more | digg story

5 Most HATED Companies Online

this was written by Rhea Drysdale. Please link to her marketing blog.

5. Verizon

Verizon sucks

Google Search: “Verizon Sucks” = 17,100 results
Google Search: “I Hate Verizon” = 7,530 results

TOTAL VERIZON SUCKS POINTS = 24,630

Best of the Worst:

How Bad Can a Cell Phone Company Get?


4. Wal-Mart

Walmart Sucks

Google Search: “Wal-Mart Sucks” = 19,100 results
Google Search: “I Hate Walmart” = 17,700 results
TOTAL WALMART SUCKS POINTS = 36,800

Best of the Worst:


3. Comcast

Comcast Sucks

Google Search: “Comcast Sucks” = 26,900 results
Google Search: “I Hate Comcast” = 10,900 results
TOTAL COMCAST SUCKS POINTS = 37,800

Best of the Worst:

Comcast Technician Sleeping on Couch:


2. AOL

AOL Sucks

Google Search: “AOL Sucks” = 41,000 results
Google Search: “I Hate AOL” = 10,800 results
TOTAL AOL SUCKS POINTS = 51,800

Best of the Worst:

Canceling AOL Account:


The MOST HATED COMPANY ONLINE is…




1. Microsoft

microsoft sucks

Google Search: “Microsoft Sucks” = 64,800 results
Google Search: “I Hate Microsoft” = 81,800 results
TOTAL MICROSOFT SUCKS POINTS = 146,600!!!

Best of the Worst:

Chris Pirillo Calls Microsoft Outlook Tech Support:



This public service announcement to rude customer service departments and frustrating applications is brought to you by We All Hate Quickbooks, developed by the creators of Less Accounting. We make life less annoying.


UPDATE – Some additions to the list:

If you can think of other companies that should be on here, please share them in the comments below or on digg.

MySpace

MySpace Sucks

Google Search: “MySpace Sucks” = 110,000 results
Google Search: “I Hate MySpace” = 70,700 results
TOTAL MYSPACE SUCKS POINTS = 180,700
(I think we have a winner, can anyone beat it?!)

Best of the Worst:

The Megan Meier Story:

(thanks to Drew from Digg)


Google

Google Sucks

Google Search: “Google Sucks” = 132,000 results
Google Search: “I Hate Google” = 27,000 results
TOTAL GOOGLE SUCKS POINTS = 159,000

Best of the Worst:

Note: The Google Sucks results are tainted by posts like this one from a friend, Barry Schwartz, who purposefully wrote about it in a humorous post and encouraged others to do the same. Also, the sheer number of Google users that are technologically advanced versus say a Wal-Mart customer is probably a huge difference. This means when a Wal-Mart customer gets screwed they probably turn to a lawyer or watch group rather than their blog.

You’ve Been Googled:

(I posted a video about Google, but on further examination it was clear that the beliefs of Less Everything weren’t in alignment with those of the speaker. We personally love Google and use all of their tools, so it didn’t feel right saying negative things about them. Besides I used Google to google everything, which seems to negate many of these comments. Also… Steve made me do it! So, enjoy this cute puppy!!!)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Taking a Marketing Job Abroad

Today in my marketing blog I am going to cover the decision to work abroad. It is a tough decision for anyone, especially in marketing. Simply stated, there are cultural issues, language barriers, religious issues, and economic issues. What if your company asked you to work in the Middle East? I am "Just a Girl in the Marketing World" and as a young woman I am not sure I would want to tackle the Middle East.

I am a high-achiever and I have overcome barriers in the past and I still have tremendous experience to offer the U.S. If all expatriates such myself only acted in the realm of safety and security would the U.S be as global as we are today?

The Middle East’s housing is different than the typical western-style. There are parts of the country, which are set up as diplomatic areas. These communities are rare, but could be considered a safe area for U.S. citizens such as myself. I may not want to live in an apartment area such as this, but this form of housing is an option to help me feel safe.

I am also a family girl and the culture in the Middle East isolates the females in the country. I experienced this when I visited Bahrain. People tend interact as a family unit. I never met any of the family members of my subordinates. Women are not allowed to drive, ride a bike, or travel without a male. Females are very restricted. Surely the my company would provide me with a driver and it is common for expatriate women to use a taxi, but this can make the strongest woman feel dependent.

I guess it takes a certain kind of person to embrace and understand different cultures, but being open does not ensure success in a foreign area of this nature. What do you think?

Mary Kay is a Scam!

Any marketing blog should cover a company that uses the networking, party plan for success. Admittedly this plan works, however it does not work for the hopeful housewife, or hopeful entrepreneur, or better yet the person who want out of their dead end corporate job.

I admit, Mary Kay makes good makeup, but this is not how they make their money. They make money on getting you to become an Independent Sales Representative. The kit only costs $100 and you get a ton of products for the value. After you join someone higher in the food chain will encourage you to carry inventory. I met on girl that had about $6000 dollars in inventory. Are you kidding? It takes years to sell this amount of makeup, no matter how wonderful of a product you are sell.

The way to success in a pyramid scheme of this type is to recruit and encourage inventories, 24 X 7. Mary Kay is now to to the point where they are giving bonuses for recruiting alone. What is interesting about this is if you study control systems, you learn to put monetary incentives around the actions you want your reports to follow. Mary Kay does this very well. I won't sign up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Target Wins

As far as successful and well executed strategies, Target wins. They are right on right on target. This is a company where the target market is clearly defined and the products and promotion all tie together. The bargain shopping rich to the college students all shop at Target. Where else can you get a down comforter for $20 that looks strikingly similar and sometimes more stylish to the $200 one found else where. Thanks Target for being a company where I want to shop, and one that the marketing gurl can study!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Skimpy Doesn't Do It Tim Hortons!

Friday is Tim Horton's day for me. They have a mean breakfast bagel. But...the Tim's I frequent not only does not give me a coffee mitt for my cup, but they give 2 really wimpy napkins, and the smallest bags ever. The last time I went there the woman put my apple in a bag and handed me my sandwich and coffee. I was cussing at Tim Horton's when I walked in to work that morning.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Anyone out there? I am looking for Social Media pet bloggers...

Okay...I admit it...no one voted on my social media question for the week. I know.

Even cats get voters on there blogs. What is up with pets blogging now anyway?

I am going to try it...kitty...kitty...come here (me in high pitched annoying voice)

Cat --- on my lap.

ijoewawiojarawrojfk;awe

Putting my cat on my keyboard doesn't do anything.

Cat --- goes down to pee and hisses at my other fat cat on the way.

My vote...social media guru's out there...

Do not blog about how pets find your brand attractive...it won't work.

Marketing Trust and Scandals

Due to the popularity of my post on Trust. I am choosing to write another blog entry on the marketing subject.

Due to corporate scandals, people are skeptical about the ethics and morals of companies and corporate management. These attitudes pose a major challenge to the marketer because without loyalty and trust, a company’s ability to continue business is in jeopardy.
Companies must act in a moral and just manner in order to minimize distrust.

Managers face tough decisions, there is no doubt about this. Therefore, it is important to understand the concepts for ethical decision-making. With this knowledge and understanding, decisions are less challenging. These approaches provide a basis for decisions, especially when the answer is not black or white. A marketer understanding the moral tendencies can talk to the audience with the proper voice.

Textbooks define common terms. The first approach is the utilitarian concept. Using the utilitarian approach a manger chooses whichever outcome produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Another useful approach is the concept of individualism. Using this approach the moral decision promotes the decision-makers long-term interests and these interests lead to the greater good. The third approach is the justice concept. This concept holds that moral decisions are based on equity, fairness and impartiality. The last concept is the moral-rights approach. A manager using the moral-rights approach ensures that the decision does not infringe on the rights of others.


How does this concept play out in Marketing?

Marketers are faced with communicating and convincing the public to pick the product they are selling, and knowing which approach to take is key. For example, a simple and easy concept would be selling cigarettes. A cigarette marketer knows that they are going to have a PR nightmare using a utilitarian positioning statement. Rather a cigarette marketer may chose to the justice approach to marketing. The company's PR department would take the stance that everyone has the right to choose to smoke or not smoke and this is fair, and there is fairness in
choice.

Moral and proper marketing voice is very important in today's world. As consumers we chose to distrust, and this ignorance cannot continue on the part of successful companie
s.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Red Train vs Blue Train

Insights from Red Train/Blue Train

This week I am trying to account for when I am on the Red Train filled with negativity and when I am on the Blue Train to positivity. I found that I got on Red Train fairly frequently and had a very hard time getting off of it. In fact, I was on it for one whole day because I had to deal with confrontation. For me, confrontation puts me immediately on Red Train. I see confrontation as negative and my thoughts center around this negativity.

Another thing I noticed during this exercise is that my thoughts are extremely important while I am running. I am a runner and I am currently running about 15 miles a week. I was on the way to the gym on Sunday morning and I caught myself thinking, this is going to be a long hard run. Indeed it was a long hard run. I more than likely created that situation in my head. I also noticed my thoughts run very quickly through my head while I am running, and a lot of running in general is about playing mind games and telling yourself to keep going, and envisioning positives to run further and faster. On Monday I pushed myself by telling myself positive statements. This worked out well for me.

After I spoke with my husband about the task he got on board very quickly. In fact a couple times during the week he told me to get off the Red Train and on to the Blue. That pissed me off. Back on Red. Don't make a joke about the trains.

I think if I make an effort to think positively and talk to myself positively I can be more effective and focused in the things that I do every day. Paying attention this week made me very aware of what my thoughts are doing to my actions, and what I put in to things and get out of the things I do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SEO Your Resume

Today I was reading yahoo news and there was an article about keyword use in a resume. The article went on to stress the importance of keyword repetition. How about teaching job seekers to not only spell check, and properly format resumes but properly optimize for a job. Although this is not a new concept with job boards and resume websites, I do think it is a new way of being diligent and setting yourself apart in the job market. I also argue that most jobs are not advertised but rather found through networking, so optimization is a wasted effort.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Social Media?

Take 5 minutes to read the marketing blogs and you will see at least 20 posts on social media. My company is dabbling and toying with the idea. But lets face it...it is challenging. It has to be done right and with intent. If the company is risk natured, and red-taped, then good luck...it may be a long time coming. More than the internal politics of the company, using social media is hard. It is much more than creating a myspace page, or better yet a facebook page. Social media is about managing the brand on-line in a way consumers find engaging, savvy, and - yes fun. It can be informative, educational, or it can be raw and consequential. Don't fool yourself , for most companies it is a strategic, and deliberate way to do hard core brand management in this digital age.

I started a poll - just for my own curiosity...who's company is using social media?

Melaleuca: The Wellness Company and Trust

A key concept in the marketing world is Trust. But what does this mean? This means that when a customer choses your brand or grabs your product they are trusting that it meets certain expectations and criteria. Let's take one of my favorite companies, Kashi. Why do I love Kashi? Because I like to be healthy. I believe in having an energized, healthy balanced life - all the things Kashi embraces. While I don't like to diet, I love choosing the healthy alternative. I reach for Kashi knowing I will get a product full with a nutritional boost and packed with grains. I have always gotten just that.

Getting back to Melaleuca whose tagline is: A Wellness Company...

I reached for the FiberWise bar from Melaleuca and bang-boom...I happen to turn it over to look at the Nutritional Information and I find - High Fructose Corn Syrup. Trust Broken. Now I look twice when considering Melaleuca products. In a world of competition, it doesn't matter if customers still purchase your product. It is important that they chose your product every time without hesitation - this is why Trust is so important.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Marketing Genius: PF Chang's Sweet Win

I went out to PF Chang's this weekend, ate all my desert, and felt wonderful. I enjoyed one of PF Chang's Mini Deserts. I must give credit to the marketing folks on this one. They have tackled the #1 reason why most people say "no" to that tasty treat at the end of the meal. Size.

Desert servings at restaurants have quadrupled in size over the past 10 years. One piece of cake is typically 1/2 the size of a full bakery sized cake. Restaurants say that these are meant to be shared. Who can agree on the chocolate or the cheese cake? Now we can each have our own at about 3 spoonfuls 3/4th's of the original price.

Does anyone want to compute the ROI on this idea?