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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Google Launches Mobile-Friendly Site Testing Tool by @mattsouthern

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By Matt Southern

Today Google announced the launch of a mobile-friendly test tool to see if your website passes Google’s criteria for what it consider to be a mobile optimized site. In case you’re wondering why it’s important to meet Google’s mobile-friendly criteria, it’s because they’re adding a “mobile-friendly” label in its search results next to sites that pass this criteria. Since this is a brand new addition, there’s no way to know how it will affect click-through rate, but I think it’s a safe bet that mobile searchers are going to visit a page labeled “mobile-friendly” before visiting a page without that […]

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European Parliament To Call For Separation Of Google Search From Other Services by @mattsouthern

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By Matt Southern

According to a report released today, the European Parliament is reportedly calling for Google separate search from the rest of its service offerings. The motion specifically calls for an “unbundling” of Google’s search engine from its other services as a way to curb Google’s dominance. This is being supported by Europe’s two main political parties, the European People’s Party and the Socialists. This motion originated from concerns that Google’s tremendous reach has the potential to stifle competition. However, the European Parliament doesn’t have the power to break up companies. There is a precedent for this type of case in the […]

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How Smartphones Have Transformed Retail by @wonderwall7

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By Kelsey Jones

Smartphones continue to increase their importance in our daily lives, as this infographic from ifbyphone clearly states. This infographic illustrates the importance of mobile e-commerce. Here are some key insights from the infographic below: 60% of the time Americans spend with online retail occurs on mobile devices 88% of shoppers research online and purchase in store 32% of shoppers have changed their mind about a purchase after researching via mobile in a store Email marketing generated 26.7% of retail purchases made on phones in Q1 2014 67% of online shoppers will call a business directly for any purchase greater than […]

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Another Court Affirms Google’s First Amendment Control Of Search Results

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By Greg Sterling

Europe and the US continue to drift further apart on Google. Even as European parliamentarians and regulators seek ways to restrain Google’s discretion over search results, US courts continue to affirm Google’s right to do whatever it wants with search results — paid and organic.

A California state court in San Francisco recently granted Google’s case-ending motion in lawsuit against the company (per GigaOm). The action, filed in June of this year in San Francisco Superior Court, was called S. Louis Martin vs. Google Inc.

Drafted and filed by the non-attorney publisher of San Francisco Bay Area Tourism website CoastNews.com, the complaint alleged unfair and deceptive business practices against Google.

The basic factual allegations included the claim that CoastNews ranked at the top of search results on Bing and Yahoo for San Francisco neighborhood keywords but didn’t rank in a comparable position on Google. Plaintiff Martin asserted that Google’s unfair and monopolistic business practices cause him lost revenue and future growth and harmed consumers as well.

Martin asked for a jury trial and sought roughly $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Google prevailed by framing plaintiff’s claim as a SLAPP lawsuit. SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” SLAPP suits are usually filed by corporations or other powerful interests often to intimidate or silence less-powerful critics.

The irony here is that the corporation (Google) was claiming that this individual plaintiff (Martin) was trying to silence its First Amendment-protected speech. The Superior Court agreed.

In its motion, essentially to dismiss the case, Google cited various prior cases and precedents that establish Google has total discretion over the content of its search results as a protected expression of its First Amendment free speech rights.

Martin vs. Google

The 2003 decision Search King, cited above, was the first case (to my knowledge) to hold that Google’s “editorial” control of search results was protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment. That was reaffirmed earlier this year in a US District Court case called Zhang et al. v. Baidu.com (also cited above).

Ironically Zhang found that Baidu’s right to censor search results in the US, pursuant to China’s official censorship rules, was protected under the First Amendment as well.

In Europe while there are speech protections there’s no comparable First Amendment body of law. Accordingly the Right-to-Be-Forgotten can arise and exist, which conflicts in many instances with the public right to information. It would be much more difficult to establish such a right in the US.

Free speech isn’t a viable defense to anti-competition claims in Europe. Google’s market share on the Continent is north of 90 percent, while it is “only” 67 percent in the US. That market-share difference partly accounts for the different perspectives on the company. Beyond that, however, First Amendment law is also an ally of Mountain View, as Martin illustrates, in the US market.

Unless or until a federal appeals court rules that Google doesn’t have absolute control over its organic and paid-search rankings and search UI, which is unlikely given this case law, it can do whatever it pleases — to the frustration of critics and many publishers. However the opposite scenario is currently playing out in the EU, where Google is seen as a monopoly whose power and discretion need to be curbed.

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5 Tools That Can Help You With Your Content Curation Efforts by @shuey03

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By Greg Shuey

Imagine you’re driving to the grocery store one Saturday morning, you see a bright orange sign that reads, “Yard Sale” along the road, so you decide to stop and check it out. Once you get out and start walking around, you realize not only does this person have a lot of stuff, their stuff is thrown together all over their yard. Adult clothes are mixed in with baby toys, decorative pictures are laid out around kitchen dishes, etc. It’s a giant mess and extremely difficult to find anything that might interest you. You leave frustrated and empty-handed. Once you finally […]

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The 4 Hardest Parts Of SEO

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By Eric Enge

I have been doing search engine optimization (SEO) since 2002, and I’ve overcome a fair number of SEO challenges since then. Ultimately, though, the hardest things about the job are not what you might expect.

In my opinion, here are the four most difficult parts about achieving SEO success:

1. Identifying The Right Sources For Information

There is a lot of disinformation in the world of SEO. Scammers are very common. People who just don’t know any better – that’s common, too.

But stop looking for the tricks, and rely on the people who will tell you how to do it by the book. Who are they? Here is the beginning of a list:

  1. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
  2. Search Engine Land
  3. Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays
  4. SEO by the Sea
  5. The Digital Marketing Excellence Blog (full disclosure, this is my company’s blog)

There are many other very high quality sources for information, but unfortunately, there are also many places that write stuff that will mislead you.

Check out potential sources with great care. See what other people you know think about them before putting too much trust in them.

2. It’s About Integration, Not Learning A Few Facts

No single part of SEO is really that difficult.

Want to learn how to write a good meta description? That’s easy. Want to learn how to do proper mobile site tagging? A bit harder, but honestly, it’s about two hours of research work. Want to know how to configure ATG for SEO? Let me Google that for you.

Integrating SEO Knowledge Into an SEO Plan is Hard

So, if everything is that easy, why does SEO cause so much confusion, and why is it so hard to do well?

The challenge is in learning a large number of different facts about SEO, then figuring out how to integrate them into a cohesive plan for a given website that makes sense.

You also need to know how to prioritize your opportunities to get the best possible ROI.

Lastly, with ever-changing algorithms, you need to keep on learning new things and successfully integrating them into a deeper understanding of the craft.

3. Selling The Project

Once you get over the first two hurdles, you now have to get used to facing people who are skeptics or simply think that you are wrong about what you are telling them.

I had a conversation with a CTO once who would not believe me when I told him that a 302 redirect was treated differently by search engines than a 301 redirect.

Selling SEO to Non-Believers is Also Hard

The choices at that point end up being fairly limited; but assuming that you are a non-violent person like me, you have to go through a slow and deliberate education process to help them understand why things work as they do.

Your best bet is to reduce an SEO concept down to something that you can explain in five minutes or less.

This type of challenge occurs all the time in SEO, across hundreds of different scenarios (not just my redirect example). How you explain something to a CTO will be different than the way you explain it to a CMO, a CEO, or another SEO type.

In each case, you need to learn where the person is stuck, then figure out how to get them past it using their own language and frame of reference.

4. “Someone Else Is Doing It”

Many believe that if a site is ranking well, that serves as proof that every tactic they are using is okay. Put simply, it’s not true. Google’s enforcement of its Webmaster Guidelines is unfortunately quite inconsistent.

One person’s success does not mean that their tactics should become your tactics. It’s entirely possible that you could copy another site’s tactics and it wouldn’t work for you at all — or worse, you might get penalized for it when they didn’t.

The best path is to focus on doing things “by the book” (see item 1 above) and doing those things very well.

Hopefully, over time, Google will catch up with another site’s sketchy tactics, and you will be there to collect the windfall gain that results.

Summary

So there you have it, the four hardest parts of SEO, and not a one of them related to learning a specific SEO skillset. That’s where we have come to in the world of SEO — the business and big picture skills have started to become the most important parts of the profession, and that’s the way it should be.

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How To Get More Publicity For Your Business: Interviews With Two Experts by @johnrampton

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By John Rampton

At Pubcon 2014 in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to catch up with two experts on PR and getting publicity: John Boitnott of Inc Magazine, and Lisa Buyer of The Buyer Group. One is a reporter and the other is the CEO of a PR agency. If you have been trying to get coverage on major news outlets but haven’t seen much success so far, you’re going to want to watch the interviews below for the best tips. How to Pitch to Inc, Forbes, and Other Major News Outlets: An Interview John Boitnott Here are some key takeaways from the […]

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SearchCap: Google Poland Penalty, Break Up Google & Black Friday Shopping

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By Barry Schwartz

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

  • 3 Proven Ways To Write Ads That Deliver More Conversions

    Now you know you need to change your paid search creative to keep it fresh. Contributor Frederick Vallaeys shares tips from Boost Media’s CEO on the changes that will have a positive impact.

  • Thanksgiving Recipes On Bing: Everything To Make The “Perfect” Holiday Dish All In One Place

    Still not sure what you’re bringing to Thanksgiving Day dinner? No worries – Bing has curated what it says are the “most perfect” holiday recipes from a variety of recipe sites, including Food.com, AllRecipes.com and TasteOfHome.com. A search for ‘Thanksgiving recipes’ on Bing will deliver the following carousel of food options at the top of […]

  • Google Settles UK “Defamation” Suit, Agreeing To Remove Malicious Links

    Google has long maintained it’s not responsible for third party content in its index. And that’s the law in the US. However increasingly in Europe authorities and individuals are seeking to make Google legally responsible for the content in its search results. The latest example comes in the form of a legal settlement in a UK […]

  • Ahead Of Black Friday, Google Adds Shopping Details For Mobile Users

    Google says that shopping searches from smartphones have increased 3.5 times compared to last year and that Google Shopping is already sending more mobile traffic to retailer sites than it did during the first week of December last year. To capitalize on this growth, Google is now providing more detailed product information available from Google […]

  • Learning SEO From Google Employees

    What do local marketers really need to know about SEO? Columnist Chris Marentis discusses some tips that come straight from the horse’s mouth.

  • Google Takes Action On More Link Networks In Poland

    Google’s Karolina Kruszyńska confirmed this morning that Google has taken action on another link network based in Poland. Karolina wrote on Twitter, “today Google took action on a large link network in Poland.” This is one of many manual action penalties delivered by Google’s web spam team over the course of a year in Poland. […]

  • Ask.com’s Top 10 Searches For 2014: “What Are The Symptoms Of Ebola?” Leads The List

    With more than a month still to go in 2014, Ask.com has already released its top searches for the year. Based on its 100 million monthly U.S. users, Ask.com says “What are the symptoms of Ebola?” was the number one question for news related searches on the site in 2014. Ask.com listed its top trending news, […]

  • Europeans Have Authority To Seek Google Break Up Though Unlikely To Do So

    Break Google up. That’s the thrust of a “non-binding” resolution the European Parliament is expected to adopt at some point in the near future, according to a report on Friday from Reuters. The recommendation is likely to be to separate Google’s search engine from the rest of the business. Needless to say, if this were to come to pass it […]

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Industry

Local & Maps

Searching

SEO

SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

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