Category: Marketing


Google HummingbirdOn September 27, Google celebrated its 15th birthday. It celebrated by announcing its latest major update to its algorithm, Hummingbird. Google began releasing Hummingbird in August of this year, but it didn’t make a formal announcement until now.

So as usual, marketers, SEOs, writers, and others in Internet nerdom immediately began to delve into this new algorithm to see what this will mean for Google rankings. According to Google, Hummingbird represents a major leap in the understanding of the conversational human language as a whole, as opposed to looking for few keywords here and there. This is due in large part to the use of voice commands on smartphones. While it is just my opinion, I can’t help but think this is an effort to compete with Apple’s Siri. It also tells me that websites better have quality content an avoid black-hat techniques like keyword stuffing.

According to Amit Singhal, Google senior vice president, Hummingbird is more about indexing and less about page ranking and indexing. This is a major paradigm shift from previous versions of the algorithm.

Now I have always looked at page rank and pages indexed, so I am curious to see how SERPs adjust moving forward.

One thing is for sure – as usual, Google is going to keep us guessing.

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So I will admit it – I broke the number one rule of online marketing. That rule, is consistency. I have let my blog fall to the wayside. Just like any online marketing plan, it isn’t a “set it and forget it” situation. It requires consistent care and feeding.

So stay tuned as I promise to be more consistent with my marketing news and suggestions.

At the ICANN board meeting in Singapore today, a vote that was held that will change how future domain names will be created. Anyone can now create a new generic top level domain (TLD)…as long as you have $185K. The Board vote was 13 approving, 1 opposed, and 2 abstaining. Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012.

What does this mean? General Motors can now create a “.gm” domain. Coke can have a “.coke” domain. The possibilities are endless. There are many arguments both for and against this new plan. Some argue that banks and other financial institutions could use a branded domain to help avoid fraud. Luxury brands could use a branded domain to help ensure customers are purchasing real goods and help reduce counterfeit products. Both are valid arguments.

Personally, I this will not work in the long run. First, only big companies will have the money to purchase a “vanity domain” (which is what it really is), ultimately pushing out competition from smaller companies. Honestly, I am curious as to how the board came up with the $185K price tag.

Second, I am curious how search engines like Google, Bing, and the like will rate these new domains in organic search. I would think they would automatically get a high page rank, since it is what I would consider a “qualified” domain. In my opinion, this is the same as an uber-expensive PPC campaign that is mixed in with organic results. These new domains won’t have to go through all the traditional tried-and-true SEO best practices, which will again, push small businesses further down in organic results. Google just finished attempting to level the playing field after the JC Penny mess that took place this past Christmas season.

ICANN said they will work hard to address all the concerns that have been brought to their attention.  I certainly hope they do.

Many who plan SEO campaigns and online marketing programs are working hard to work social media into their plans. While social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are helpful, there are still many other sites that should be part of an online marketing plan.

There were some interesting little nuggets of information in research released today by the Pew Research Center, including:

  • Twitter “barely registers” as a referring source for traffic
  • 85% of its users visited USAToday.com between one and three times per month
  • Yahoo News (and not Google News) has the largest news audience

The one tidbit I found very interesting is that most of the “news sites” (including Yahoo and Google) are aggregators. Why would I find this interesting? Simple. Aggregators aren’t anywhere near new. What is even more interesting is that a majority of traffic from aggregator, the Drudge Report (yes, that site), accounted for between 5 and 10 percent of the traffic to the New York Times and USA Today during the period studied. It also accounted for 15 percent of the traffic to the Washington Post, 20 percent to the New York Post and an astonishing 30 percent to the Daily Mail. This means the Drudge Report, a 15-year-old aggregator, is more popular than Facebook if you follow the math. Amazing!

So this is just another reminder that it isn’t all about social media.

Top Five SEO Tips

When a company first begins to think about SEO, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips when starting an SEO plan.

Keywords are Key: From content to blogging to link building, keywords are key! Really think about the service or product your company can provide when building your keyword list. Start out focused on 10 or so keywords and phrases and build from there.

Build a Brand: Go beyond just online marketing or SEO and think about your brand. Who are you? What is your company all about? What sets you apart from your competitors? What do you do to make a positive impact on your community?

Stay White Hat: Think about what you don’t like when surfing online and what spammers do and DON’T DO IT. You will not only alienate your potential customers, you will detract from your SEO campaign. Don’t be a spammer!

Use Analytics: Make sure to utilize an analytics program for your website, your blog and other other online site your company may manage. Analytics programs provide key data on how your potential customers are finding you, how long they stay on your site, how many pages they visit and most importantly what keywords they are using in their search. Remember, this is not a “set it and forget it” type of plan.

Do More than Just “Sell:” When people go online, they are most often looking for information. If a potential customer feels like they are just getting a sales pitch, they will quickly navigate away. By providing information, you are essentially helping your potential customer while simultaneously showing you have in-depth knowledge in your field. Help solve a potential customer’s problem and they will go from a potential customer to a customer!

These are just a few considerations when building an SEO or online marketing campaign. It is always a good idea to work with an SEO specialist or online marketing consultant when it is time to manage your company’s online presence. These individuals can really help build your brand and make a positive online impact!

Yesterday on Fox and Friends, a segment highlighted three “mompreneurs” that started their business at home while raising their young children. One thing all three mentioned was building their brand.

It is important that companies consider their brand when developing an online marketing campaign. A brand is how the public will perceive your company. It goes beyond the service or product you provide. Who are you? What is your company all about? Do you care about your local community? This all goes in to building your brand.

So, don’t just think about advertising and marketing. Think about how the public considers your company and what your brand is all about. If you are having trouble with these steps, then consider hiring a consultant that can help you build your brand in addition to finding the right words for your web content to make sure your message is spot on!