2 Facts on Search that Online Marketers Ought to Know

February 24, 2007

Search Engine Watch wrote a valuable article on international search and the fact that Google dominantes it, a sort of a summary of the latest stats results regarding search behavior around the world (A special report from the Search Engine Strategies conference who took place on February 13-15 at London). As I see it, the important things online marketers should take from this report are:

1. SEO for Google is Highly Relevant
If Google gets more and more users from all over the world each year so its audience is almost 3 times of that of Yahoo! Search, there’s no doubt that focusing the SEO efforts mostly on Google is a wise thing to do.
This is not new, I know, it is just a reminder and a sort of reassurance saying to SEO experts to stick to what they do. 

2. SEO for Google Should Focus also on UK, France and Spain
Since the search audience has grown most dramatically in France (27%) and Spain (21%) while search is most popular in the UK, online marketers and SEO consultants who hadn’t targeted these markets yet, should think of starting to do that.
US audience is still the biggest one, but one shouldn’t focus only on US  if he wants to “make it big time”. This is true mainly because “France and Spain have the heaviest users of search” while “US searchers are the lightest users.”

Thanks a lot to Greg Jarboe from Search Engine Watch!

On Bookmarking and Social Search

February 17, 2007

Bookmarking is great. Not so much because it allows you to access your favorites from anywhere, but because it opens you a door to social search. What is so great about social search, you ask?  As far as I see it, social search, comparing to the regular search made via search engines, is much more pure, free of commercial interests (‘though, unfortunately, this is starting to change…) and thus much more relevant.

Just as ma.gnolia – one of my favorite bookmarks platform – put it: Since bookmarking involves taging your favorite sites, “when you search for something, you use words that people choose and look only at websites that people think are worth saving. Suddenly you have access to a human-organized bookmark collection”.

bookmarkers communication creats valid social search

Following the above quote, this is the basic of how bookmarking works:
First thing – you open an ccount and bookmark all your favorite sites. 
Then, if you have some real passion to a specific subject, you can check what others have to say on this subject by searching for the relevant tags. This way you may find some valuable sites on your favorite subject otherwise you could’nt find.
More than that, some bookmarks platform also allow you to open or join a group on your favorite subject. By checking relevant groups you can discover some additional information and discuss it with others who share the same interest as you are.

fraud bookmarking is easy to detect
All these features are purely social. No doubt that some online marketers, including seo experts, might abuse this platform to promote their own interest, but it can be revealed in a much more easier way. People who engage in social platforms, such as bookmarks, on a regular basis get to know each other and thus identify frauds with no more than a blink of an eye. More than that, some bookmarks platform, such as Technorati, have their way to filter out the spamming bookmarks.

Anyway, to make it short, I find bookmarking a highly valuable social search tool and I intend to keep on using it. At least as long as it stays social, meaning it will not turn to be just another “used-to-be-social-tool” abused by online marketers.

For your convenience, here are some recommended bookmarks platforms:
Ma.gnolia – Includes bookmarks, groups, discussions and also sposored links (by Text Link Ads). I admire the site’s visuality and its clean interface. On the right you can find recent bookmarks, hot groups and hot bookmarks. 
Del.icio.us – One of the most popular bookmarks on the web. Visuality is not the strong side of del.icio.us but the nice thing about it is that entering del.icio.us site you can get the latest most popular bookmarks right away.
Shadows – Not so different from ma.gnolia. Includes bookmarks, groups, conversations and tracking groups changes. I give it 4 stars for its easy and very user-friendly navigation bar.
Technorati – Blogs bookmarks, based on tracking links and comments on blogs around the web. The fact that Technorati tracks blogs activity and doesn’t depend on users “announcements” makes it a powerfull social tool. 

Please feel free to add your recommended bookmarks platforms
and of course – bookmark this post… 🙂


Links to Link Baiting Sources

February 15, 2007

I can write about link baiting and the most effective ways to do it right, as well as how to develop links and get better rankings, but so many others had already done it and they done it so well…
Instead, I offer you a short cut to most of the valuable articles I ran into:
Link Bait definition by Wikipedia
Link baiting and Effective Link Building – Hooks for building link popularity.
Examples of link baiting by SEOBOOK
Link Baiting and Viral Campaigns – Some highlights from the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose.
Link Bait and Better Rankings – looking at link baiting as simply being original.
Link Baiting and Social Media Marketing – by Andy Hagans. Highly recommended.
3 Link Bait Lessons – A tiny glimpse to the basic of link baiting.
Link development by StuntDubl – Some short posts with alot of links to relevant sources for link baiting and developing.
131 Link Building Strategies – A highly detailed article by Robin Nobles, Eric Ward and John Alexander on link building strategies.
101 Ways to Build Link Popularity – 71 good ways to build links and 30 bad ones you should avoid.
Link Building Tactics
Are You a Link Whore by Eric Ward – Great article on how not to get slutty on the run for links.

If you feel I missed some important article (and I know this one is inevitable! The list of great articles on the topic of links popularity and link baiting is so long, I should spend days and nights to link it all), please feel free to add it in the comments section.

Exclude this Exclusive Interview with Yahoo!…

February 3, 2007

Don’t want to hurt no one nor do I think myself as an expert in interviews, just felt the so-called exclusive interview with Larry Cornett of Yahoo! had so much words in it and yet  said nothing.
With all the respect, I think interviews that don’t say too much shouldn’t be fully quoted,
especially when the subject of the interview is “user experience”.
I really like “Search Engine Land”. I think they do a great job, but still, as far as I see it,
quoting this interview was absolutely dispensable.
Next time, please think of your readers and their “user-experience”and deliver some summary, something like this 
small collection of the Interview’s major highlights:

Yahoo! Approach
“We try to strike a balance between user experience and the needs of business as well as our advertising population. ”

Search Interface Changes
Are done both on the run and after great work.

Perceived Relevancy
“perceived relevance is actually the most important thing because, at the end of the day, that’s what the users are looking at and that’s what they walk away with. In terms of: Was my search relevant? Did I find what I was looking for?”

Top Sponsored Ads
Are much more emphasized by Yahoo! ( relative to Google and Live Search) and as far as Yahoo! claims, it answers the users-needs.
“Very often what they see in that sponsored section actually is a good fit for the type of query they are doing, especially if you look at a commercial query. ”
ho, yea, and another thing – Yahoo! is constantly testing this stuff, including eye tracking research, in order to understand the user experience.
Yahoo!: Is there a lower CTR in repeat visits? mmm… no comment.

Yahoo! Shortcuts on Vertical Results
Are working good: “You are absolutely right that those are very effective…A lot of that is based on the best end result, what the user is trying to find, and the more we can give them that information the better.”

Yahoo! monitors CTRs
for determining whether or not vertical results and top sponsored ads will appear for certain types of queries
… “We’re interested in tracking usage and so looking at the CTR, because we don’t want to be showing things that are not actually getting usage, so we do continually monitor the CTR and the Shortcuts.”

Yahoo! Uniqueness
“there is definitely a social aspect to Yahoo Search…”
see for example – Yahoo Answers.

User’s Experience and Launch Points
Yahoo! tries “to understand how those users (= users that launch from a tool bar versus a portal versus the search page – R) might be different and their expectations might be different. So we’re constantly looking at that whole ecosystem because Yahoo is a very large network…”

Understanding Context Effect
“We are definitely doing research within that area to understand the affect of the context and I don’t really have anything I can share at this point but I would say that there’s probably a lot of very interesting information to be derived from looking at that.”
In a way this can help Yahoo! with better targeting the advertising messaging.

Does Yahoo! follow Google’s Interface?
No. As the other search engines, Yahoo! follows nothing but it’s search research conclusions, aiming “to do what’s best for our users.”

Yahoo! and Users Needs
“We’re not just a search company, not just a mail company, not just a portal company; we serve a lot of needs…
There is often many, many purposes, so that’s something we definitely we have to take into consideration. And I think that’s one reason of many that we’re looking at social search. We know that our users are doing a lot of things in our network and it’s really effective if we’re aware of that.”

Yahoo search is just One Aspect of the Users Activities?
“We want to support whatever the user’s task is…we tend to want to keep people in our network and introduce them to other properties and experiences. ”

Yahoo!’s Future Challenge
“I think the biggest challenge is really disambiguating intent. Really trying to understand what does the user want when they enter a few words into the search box. ”

Yahoo! on Enquiro’s Eye Tracking Report
“There is a lot of great information there. And I think there is a lot that is in sync with some of our findings as well.”

Interview’s highlights – 616
Into – 113

Total words: 729

Total interview words (SEL original version): 3,569