The World Has Gone #Hashtag Crazy – Justin Timberlake Video

It seems these days everyone is jumping on the #Hashtag bandwagon. The phenomenon was started by Twitter users. Essentially it started as a tag on a post to signify what the post was about. This created a way to tag your post so it would come up in search even though you didn’t explicitly mention the search term for which you wanted your post to be found. So to tag a post to show it is about social media, you would add the hashtag: #socialmedia

After it became widely used on Twitter, Google+ started using it. Now even Facebook has added the functionality. Facebook becomes Twitterfied People are now using hashtags for everything.

Hashtags can be a very useful, but overuse can just be ridiculous. This video shows just that. Enjoy!

“Buy a Link Now” and What Will You Get?

Today I notice on the bottom of the Reuters site there are ads that are served by Marchex. After there ads their a link that says, “Buy a Link Now.” As an SEO this made me cringe a little.

(Click image to Enlarge)buy a link now

The reason this bothers me is because clearly Google does not want people to sell links. This practice has long fallen under the grey or more so black hat approach to SEO. Coming out and saying “buy a link now” instead of “buy an ad now”, seems to be blatantly saying, “Hey Google look at us, we’re selling links.”

Interestingly enough Matt Cutts posted a video today explaining what happens if they discover you are buying or selling links. Short answer your site will be penalized, but watch the video to see the full answer.

Does Search Traffic Show a Decline in the Power of TV Commercials

retro tvI’ve been working on an SEO project for a client that has a variety of websites. One aspect the project entails going through multiple sites and making sure they are following onsite SEO best practices. Keywords include product names, brand names as well as other related phrases. Many of the sites have a page of videos with their latest TV ads. So, I was curious to see the trend comparison between “tv ads” and “tv commercials.” Basically to see if one is a more important keyword phrase than the other. What I found was quite interesting.

For a long time we have heard that online marketing is replacing TV marketing. There are plenty of people on both sides of this argument. If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that from 2004 to September 2012 there has been a steady decline in Google searches for both keyword terms.

What does this tell us? Does it tell us that less people care about tv ads? Does it mean tv commercials are making less of an impact? Maybe that TV in general is on the decline.

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments.

Elaborate Tools Are Great, But It’s The Skills That Make Us Pros

Can good tools make you better? Sure, but don’t forget it’s the skills that make you a pro. Watch the video for a great example of this.

What skills do you have that make you a pro?

 

YouTube Update: The New Google. Does “Don’t be Evil” Still Apply? – Part 2

This is the second entry of our series about the changes at Google and Larry Page are making a lot of changes as we head into 2012. Decide for yourself if they are still following the “Don’t be Evil” mantra.

Read the first post in the series here: The New Google. Does “Don’t be Evil” Still Apply? – Part 1

YouTube Homepage Makeover

The new redesign, which YouTube describes as the biggest redesign in history, is a move to personalize the user experience on the site as well as better integration with social media services. Plus if that wasn’t enough, Google has changed the focus of the site to a channel centric experience, which puts them in competition with broadcast and cable tv.

When you first log in you’ll notice that the homepage is focused around channels and the “homepage feed.” The feed contains the channels that a user is subscribed to, which can contain channels such official music from the Warner Music Group, video hobbyists or branded channels. Users can control what is in their feed with the navigation bar on the left and recommended videos and ads populate the right column. It looks very similar to social media sites such as Facebook.

Google youtube update

Also found in the left column is a list of “Suggested Channels” including a “Featured” listing where companies can have their channels displayed f Users can also link their Google+ and Facebook accounts to see what their friends are sharing. The new look and the prominence of G+ in homepage is further evidence to Google’s push Google+ across all platforms.

YouTube is also adding original content. The new channel centric YouTube creates a way for the platform to promote the new offerings they have set up with some major stars including Madonna, Jay-Z, Shaquille O’Neal and “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker.

The redesign revamped channels which put an emphasis on Brand Channels. Brand Channels are a great way for users to interact with the brands they love. As a Brand you can customize to match your brand’s look and feel. For this, YouTube has added new templates:

  • Creator Template A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists
  • Blogger Template A reverse chronological vlogroll of a featured playlist or your recent activity
  • Network Template A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured channels
  • Everything Template A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists and channels

Each template comes with a feed tab that contains that can contain any of the following actions from the channel owner: Liking, commenting, uploading or favoriting a video, as well as adding a video to a playlist or subscribing to another channel. We also expect to see more social features introduced in the future.

Some other exciting features of the new channels include comment approval, control over who can comment, filter videos that show on your channel, playlists, gadgets that you can use for contests, games and downloads that revolve around your brand, custom tabs, and much more.

To complete the circle YouTube has also beefed up their analytics offering for YouTube analytics so you can track “how”, “why” and “why” people are interacting with your brand’s channel. The look and feel will definitely remind you of Google Analytics and you can track many familiar metrics such as:

  • Views
  • Unique views
  • Demographics
  • Geographic breakdowns
  • Traffic sources

What’s really exciting though are the engagement metrics that are available:

  • Track playback location (YouTube watch page, Embedded player on other websites, etc)
  • Discover what videos drive subscriptions
  • Analyze likes, dislikes and favorites by channel, video, geography and region
  • Track audience retention and attention levels
  • And much more

As you can see Google is going through an exciting time right now. The changes, updates and new products are coming fast, and we haven’t seen them be this aggressive in sometime. I expect 2012 to be an exciting year for working with Google.

If you have any questions about any of the new updates and how your company can take advantage of them, please let me know and we can see what options are the best fit for you. 

12 Days of Googlemas

Good thing the folks at Google do search better than they sing! Haha

Lyrics:
On the 12th day of Googlemas my Googlebot gave to me…

12 optimized titles,
11 local listings,
10 Sitemaps submitted,
9 bloggers linking,
8 sitelinks showing,
7 Google trends,
6 social signals,
5 followed links,
4 404s fixed,
3 301s,
2 indented listings,
and a first place organic ranking.

DecorMyEyes Owner Arrested After NYT Article and Google’s Announcement

Last week I posted about this guys story in connection to the changes Google made to their algorithm so that bad publicity won’t improve Google Ranks: Being Bad to Your Customers is Now Bad for Your Google Ranking

It looks like Borker’s campaign to gain more visitors through online reviews, good and bad, has given him more attention than he bargained for, and he’s been arrested. Borker told a reporter, “Borker told a reporter that securing many online reviews, regardless of what they say, is part of his strategy to generate business for his site.” The New York Times did an article on him after he harassed and threatened a customer. The incident also prompted Google to change their algorithm.

From CNBC.com:

“Vitaly Borker was charged with cyber-stalking, the making of interstate threats and both mail and wire fraud.

“Vitaly Borker, an alleged cyber-bully and fraudster, cheated his customers, and when they complained, tried to intimidate them with obscenity and threats of serious violence,” said Manhattan US Attorney Pheet Bharara in a press release. “Especially during this holiday shopping season, today’s arrest should send a message that we will protect online consumers and that victims of people like Borker are not alone.”

You can read the original article on the NYT’s site which came out a couple of weeks ago: A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web

Email is Dead… At Least According to Facebook

Facebook came out with it’s next step towards internet domination. With it’s new email or not email or social email platform, or whatever you want to call it. It all sounds very wavesque to me.

It sounds great. One place to go for all communication.
Facebook Logo IM, Facebook chat, SMS and yes, email. They don’t include Twitter, which I’m sure was by design. There are also a few things that aren’t very clear, and if you watched the announcement yesterday, you were probably left with more questions then answers. Here’s a few of the things that come to mind.

Zuckerberg and Bosworth discussed how you can have conversations with the people across multiple platforms, but even in the Q&A they didn’t really explain how it would be decided on which platform you message would be sent. It sure seemed like they were saying that Facebook would decide for you. But how?

Another thing is if I have contacts that I only communicate with via email, or phone or whatever. How much of my info. will they get? Will everyone be or have to be connected via Facebook friends? Will they be able to send messages to me on IM or SMS? Can I control that?

The big question, which nobody directly asked and Zuckerberg avoided is, what is happening with all my data? I.E. contact info. content of messages, contacts. Is Facebook going to mine this data. My guess is yes. So the next question, who are they going to share it with?

Is it an email killer? I doubt it. Yes it’s true that people are using IM, texting, Facebooking, etc. a lot more now. It is also true that many people, particularly the younger generation view email as cumbersome and slow, but I don’t think the Facebook option will replace corporate email anytime soon.

Facebook continues to find new ways to integrate the rest of our lives into the Facebook platform. Open graph brings data from around the internet back to Facebook and shares it with your friends as well as third parties. The new communication system will surely do the same.

What do you think? For now the service is invite only, will you use the new service? Do you see privacy issues? Let us know.

Watch the video of the press release below.

Right From the Horses Mouth: No One Can Guarantee a #1 Ranking on Google

Ok first, Matt I’m not calling you a horse. But Google.. well, how about we say “right from Google”.

Anyway, many people that don’t understand SEO often want a guarantee that they will be ranked #1 before they spend the money. That would be great if we could, but then everyone would be have a number 1 ranking. And where would that get us. On the flip side if an SEO company tells you they can guarantee you a number one ranking, you should either run away, or get them to explain exactly how and for what keywords they do this. It’s most likely not what you want.

Alright I’ll turn the rest of the explanation over to Matt.

Website Analytics How to: Advanced Segments in Google Analytics

“Not everything that can be measured counts” – Albert Einstein

This is a great quote to apply to analyzing website traffic.

When using Google Analytics, or any other website analytics tool, it is easy to waste a lot of time measuring and looking at data that really isn’t useful. Great you can see that you had 5,623 visitors last month, but what does that really mean. To get meaning out of the data you need to dig deeper. Advanced Segments in Google Analytics helps you look at more and more valuable variables. Check out the video from Google: