12 SEO Tips for Bing

I’ve noticed for awhile that this site often ranks higher in Bing than Google, so I’ve done a bit of research to understand how the different search engines rank their results. Though SEO best practices for Bing and Google are similar overall, there are some notable differences.

If you’re a small business, I think Bing gives you a slightly better advantage over Google, because in Bing’s page ranking, there seem to be more on-page factors, under your control.

To see how your site ranks in Bing versus Google, enter your site’s name in Bingle— a tool that lets you compare side-by-side, the search results for your site, in the respective engines.

Given that Bing now captures about thirty percent of search engine traffic, it only makes sense that we should understand how to tweak our sites to rank better there.

Compiled from a variety of sources (and in sync with my own experience, ranking differently between the two engines), the tips below offer ways to incorporate Bing into your SEO strategy:

  1. Explore keyword alternatives with Wordstreams’s Keyword tools for Bing. Wordstream’s offers several tools, specifically for researching keywords more relevant to Bing: Free Keyword Tool by WordStream, Free Keyword Grouper, and the Free Keyword Niche Finder.
  2. Include keywords in your URL. At the Search Engine Journal, Ann Smarty summarizes differences between Bing and Google’s algorithm, noting among other factors, the stronger emphasis Bing gives to keywords in the URL.
  3. Register your domain name for more than three years. According to several sources, including Wordstream, Bing favors older domains.
  4. Submit your sitemap to Bing. According to Microsoft’s whitepaper,  Bing: New Features Relevant to Webmasters, submit your sitemap.xml file via the Sitemap tool in Webmaster Center or directly from your browser’s address bar by typing the following: http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=www.mysite.com/sitemap.xml
  5. Use the Internet Information Services SEO Toolkit to make your site content more search engine-friendly. The IIS SEO toolkit by Microsoft includes the Site Analysis module, the Robots Exclusion module, and the Sitemaps and Site Indexes module, which help Web developers, hosting providers, and Web server administrators perform detailed analysis as well as offer recommendations and editing tools for managing your Robots and Sitemaps files.
  6. Add unique, keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions to each page. The Microsoft whitepaper further suggests following standard SEO best practices, with keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions. Consider placing your most powerful keywords first in the page title. If necessary, separate the keywords in your page title by pipes {|}, which signal in HTML the end of each thought. (For example, at this blog, the page title is Content for a Convergent World: Content Strategy |  Development | and Management). Make sure your meta description includes the targeted keywords and provides a compelling message or call to action, enticing searchers to click through to your site.
  7. Remember on-page optimizationMicrosoft’s whitepaper notes that “SEO for clear and high-quality page content also benefits searchers who will use the Document Preview.” Best practices for on-page optimization include unique content, H tags for titles, alt tags for images, unique page titles, description meta tags, and one topic per page (see on-page optimization tips).
  8. Write at least 300 words per page. According to the sources I consulted, the length of text is more important for Bing than it is for Google (see Bing SEO tips).
  9. Optimize your Site with LSI keywords. According to the SEO Site Reference, Bing favors LSI keywords, that is, synonyms or brand names related to your keywords. (For more information, see How to Use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to Improve Your Web Writing Results.)
  10. Link out. Unlike Google, Bing increases the page ranking of  webpages that link out more often. When you do link out, make sure the title tags of the pages you have linked out to have the keyword that is most relevant to your page (see Bing SEO tips & Bing Vs Google: Why You Rank Well on One Search Engine But Not the Other).
  11. For incoming links, ask referrers to match anchor text to your page title.  Ask those linking to your site, to provide anchor text in the incoming link, directly matching phrases in your site’s page title. (See Content Strategy: SEO for Bing.)
  12. For images, use absolute URLs as opposed to relative ones. For tips on how to optimize images, as well as how to optimize local ads and shopping on Bing, see Optimizing for Bing, Optimizing for Google, Is There a Difference?

So, what’s your experience been like, ranking in Bing versus Google? Have you compared your site’s results in Bingle? Any surprises? Do you have any additional SEO tips to share?

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Tips on New Google Metatags: How to Protect Your Content

Google recently announced the creation of new metatags to protect original content, so I thought it was as good a time as any to brush up a little, on the topic. My understanding of these new tags, is they for now, apply only to Google News.

According to Google, the new metatags are an experiment, allowing journalists to give more credit to original sources as well as better protecting their own original content, which includes mish-mashes, paraphrased summaries, and analyses of others’ content (see Matt McGee’s Search Engine Land post to see if you agree with this interpretation).

These additional links explain more about the new syndication-source and original-source tags:

Metatags 101

The Google Webmaster Tools Help site explains that metatags are added to the <head> section of your HTML page, providing search engines with information about your site. For more information, check out these resources:

  • Meta Tag Explained: Describes the two types of tags available: the Meta description tags and the Meta keywords tags. (Note: Neither tag is a Google ranking factor, according to a Google announcement, in Sept. 2009).
  • SEOMoz’s Meta Description: Describes the meta description tag and provides a cheat sheet for the HTML code. Also provides a useful tip that if you are targeting the long-tail, it’s sometimes better not to include a meta description. It is better to include the description, when you are targeting 1-3 heavily-searched terms/phrases.
  • Meta Tags Uncovered: Describes the two known styles/attributes that you’ll see for meta tags as well as a history on the abuse of keyword meta tags. Explains how Google currently only indexes Google Meta Tags. Provides a helpful list of recommended tags, optional tags, and not recommended tags.

Why Should You Use Metatags?

The posts below describe how using metatags helps you get found.

How to Write Metatags and Descriptions

The following links provide general guidance on writing metatags and descriptions:

  • How to Write Keyword Meta Tags: Explains that it’s important to understand how to write and use keyword tags. Though keyword metatags are not considered an important factor in search engine optimization (SEO), some search engines still pay attention to them.
  • How to Write Meta Tags and Descriptions:  Warns against over-stuffing meta information, with keywords and phrases.

Through the new syndication-source and original-source tags, Google metatags are certainly powerful, as they can help protect your original content as well as give due credit to others. In a similar way, misusing these metatags can earn you stiff penalties.

Applying metatags is also plain good usability, as it always has been.

Though keyword metadata may rank lower in search engines’ weighting factors, it’s important to remember that some search engines still take metadata into account. Metadata also makes your information more accessible and likely to be clicked on in search results.

For intended searchers’ sakes alone, and especially for those with disabilities who often rely on the metatag descriptions for further context, it’s worth the relatively small investment of time to incorporate these helpful tags.

Do you have any additional recommendations on resources about metadata or SEO? any advice or other feedback about the application of these tags? Please feel free to include your thoughts, in the comments.

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Google Instant ~ An SEO Checklist

I’ve been monitoring the blogosphere this week, for the latest developments on Google Instant—Google’s new search enhancement that shows results as you type. For me, the following resources provided the most actionable tips, as you start updating your evolving SEO strategy.

I’ve compiled the following checklist from the cited resources and will continue updating it, as I come across additional tips. In the comments, please feel free to add any optimization tips or resources for Google Instant that you find helpful.

Importantly, these tips show me that SEO is alive and kicking. What’s your take?

Use Google Suggest for keyword research.

Target terms from predictive search results.

  • “The term that appears first is probably the most common search result, and the one you should consider targeting” (from MarketingProfs).

Write short, compelling page titles.

  • “Your page titles are going to need to be even more compelling than before. You need to not only attract the searcher to your listing, but you have to get them to commit to the search query. That’s going to take a lot of engagement on your part” (from MarketingPilgrim).
  • “Keep your copy brief, to the point, and able to grab their attention. If a searcher can’t scan and find what they are seeking, they are only one keystroke away from an entire new search results page of options.” (from MarketingProfs)
  • “Your page title and meta descriptions need to be structured as an ad – so that it catch people’s attention and entice them to click through” (from the seocopywriting.com blog).

Think about placement of your keywords.

  • “Getting primary keywords at the front of page title tags might need to become a bigger priority now.” — Dustin Williams, SEO Manager (from the seo.com blog).

Add a modifier before the main key phrase.

  • “To make the search listing easier to get, add a modifier to the main key phrase” (from the seocopywriting.com blog).

Focus on just singular terms.

  • …“you are in the real estate industry, for example…you no longer need to fight to rank on terms like Myrtle Beach Homes, or Myrtle Beach Houses. You can now focus on just Myrtle Beach Home and other singular terms. If you are some of the early adopters to these new sets of keywords, you will be able to get established on the singular terms before others realize the change” (from 210 Consulting).

Focus on typos.

  • “So, while it may seem a little crazy to do, focusing once in a while on typo keywords could bring you massive amounts of traffic with Google Instant” (from 210 Consulting).

Don’t forget the longtail.

  • Though “it seems that Google is pushing folks towards more profitable “head” terms,” over the long haul people will still refine their search, via long tail terms (from seocopywriting.com).
  • …“people will spend more time refining keywords and ultimately focusing more on long tail keywords. Essentially, Google Instant will mean more searches for multi-word search phrases than before” (from HubSpot).
  • “You really do need to take a close look at what long tail keywords Google Instant suggests. Make sure you have a page ranked for all the important variations. Show up, no matter what final keyword string the searcher commits to” (from MarketingPilgrim).

Use LDA-related queries.

Use Google Places for localization.

  • “Based on my location via Internet connection (since I don’t use any check-in services), Google was doing real time searching where I am, automatically. If you’re not registered with Google Places, now you’re losing even more business. Get registered and set up right now.” (from Christopher S. Penn).

Update content to reflect new titles and meta descriptions.

  • “Consider altering your content to reflect new, condensed titles and meta description” (from increasevisibility.com).

Keep content fresh.

  • “It will certainly make it even more important to have current information on the site.” — Rick Hardman, Sr. SEO Specialist (from the seo.com blog).
  • “While long tail keywords are now even more important, the changes Google made today only reinforce that to be found by qualified visitors online, you need to create and publish relevant content that is valuable and solves the problems of your prospects and customers” (from HubSpot).

Improve the load-time time for your site.

  • With Google setting new precedents in a fast user experience, the bar has been raised for all sites. Even more than before, “your search strategy should include considerations for ongoing load-time and performance tests to ensure the page consistently loads in a snap” (from MarketingProfs).

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Lee Odden to MarketingProfs B2B Forum: Ten Steps for an Optimized Content Strategy (#mpb2b)

Disclosure: This summary represents personal lessons learned from a recent MarketingProfs presentation (Content SEO with Lee Odden), at the Business to Business Forum, in Boston, MA. I’m both a Contributing Writer for MarketingProfs, and a MarketingProfs Pro Member.

Lee Odden, CEO of TopRankMarketing.com, and Jiyan Wei, Director of Product Management at Vocus (responsible for the PRWeb product), recently presented at the MarketingProfs Business to Business Forum, in Boston, MA.

There, Odden described SEO, as “a set of methodologies that make it easier for search engines to find, index, categorize, and rank web content.”

Odden pointed to the PRWeb product, as an example of a content management system, used in a search friendly way. He advised taking a similar holistic approach, optimizing your CMS , at the template level. The benefits of such an approach? According to Odden, content optimization makes FAQ and knowledge base articles more easily discovered. It also helps with Talent Acquisition and Recruiting, as well as developing media placements. Odden estimated that by optimizing news content (so journalists can readily find available subject matter expertise), his business enjoys the equivalent of a $10,000 a month PR retainer, (without any PR retainer in place). Importantly, better search generates more inquiries and sales.

Odden went on to describe a ten-step process for an optimized content strategy.

  • Step 1: Research Keywords. 
  • Step 2: Develop Search Personas.
  • Step 3: Analyze Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs.)
  • Step 4: Take Inventory of All Your Digital Assets.
  •  Step 5: Align Your Editorial Strategy.
  •  Step 6: Map Keyword Concepts to Digital Assets.
  •  Step 7: Operationalize.
  •  Step 8: Don’t forget Digital Asset Optimization (DAO).
  •  Step 9: Promote Your Optimized Content.
  •  Step 10: Measure the Results.

There you have it—the Laws of Content SEO, by Lee Odden. With these ten winning moves, take your content strategy to the next level. Chess, anyone?

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SEO and Customer Experience: Serving up the Right Info, the First Time

Through a simple case study, a post at the LugIron Software Blog shows why SEO Matters When You’re Publishing Documentation. Implementing SEO principles should be a natural fit for technical writers, given our experience and natural affinity for indexing, but as the post notes, it’s surprising that “much of the documentation content put online completely ignores basic SEO principles.”

The post further explains that “documentation is a collection of answers to customer questions, and generally, customers have been trained to search before looking.” This means that they likely won’t visit your support or documentation site, without first asking one of the major search engines their question.

Studies have shown that users click on the top three links on search engine results pages 80% of the time, and that users spend nearly 70% of their time reading the content on those pages. When customers have a problem and find themselves needing an answer to get out of a jam, they will look first to Google for help.

To illustrate the importance to user experience of having your documentation appear first in search results, the post provides a real world example on how users from Skype—a company that provides Internet-based phone calls—seek assistance from Google, when they need to retrieve or reset a lost password.

The response users see in Google depends on what query they enter:

  • “If users enter ‘skype lost password,’ the first result in the search engine is the exact help topic they need, with the exact answer to their question.”
  • “If users enter ‘skype retrieve password,’ the first two links go to Yahoo! Answers, and the third link is the actual help topic with the answer—the one that was first in the results in our first query.”
  • “If users enter ‘skype password,’ no where on the first page of the Google results is any link to Skype’s documentation. Instead, the first link is to Skype’s forum, where the content on the page is totally wrong. There is a link within the forum post to a place where users can ask Skype for help by opening a ticket, but unfortunately this link is also broken and sends the user to the completely wrong place.”

The first search scenario is obviously the best user experience. Customers get the information they need, on the first try.

In the second scenario, the LugIron Software post explains, there are a large percentage of users who will not go directly to where the answer is. Instead, they will be sent to a question in Yahoo! Answers, where the “answer” provided on the Yahoo page is incorrect. It links to the wrong place in the Skype support center, and instead of sending users to the answer, it goes to the Skype support center’s homepage.

Fortunately, the first topic under the Support Center’s home page is “Popular Queries,” which links to the right topic in the documentation. In this case, the user frustration is not prolonged. (However, the post observes, Skype’s Support Center is the exception to the rule, as many Support Centers do not show Popular Queries.)

The last scenario is the least user-friendly. No where on the first page of Google’s results is there any link to Skype’s documentation.

The first link is to Skype’s forum–that’s good–but unfortunately the content on the page is totally wrong. No help for the random user looking to retrieve their password. There is a link within the forum post to a place where you can ask Skype for help by opening a ticket, but unfortunately this link is also broken (like in the forum post from the previous search) and sends the user to the completely wrong place.

According to the post, the cost of the last search scenario to Skype’s customer experience is high—about 20,000 searches that are dead-ended this way, each month.

Four Tips to Make Your Content the Most Authoritative on Google

I remember back in graduate school, when my technical writing instructors and work-place mentor advised me that it doesn’t matter how comprehensive or accurate your documentation is, if no one can find it.

They drilled into me early on, the importance of indexing to our documentation efforts. (I blush to think, how many times in the intervening years, however, that developing a good index has slipped by the wayside, out of lack of budgeted time in the schedule, or sometimes for me, the perception that such efforts would not have been regarded as an accountable use of my time.) As technical writers, we must fight this indexing apathy, which we ourselves are as much to blame for as anyone else, whenever and wherever we can, because maintaining and enhancing our search skills is key to our discipline’s prolonged viability. As we hone our basic SEO skills, technical writers must promote our profession as one that has always cared about and been good at, search and information architecture.

So, based on the LugIron Software post, here are ways your organization can ensure your customers find the right answer online, the first time:

  1. Follow Skype’s example and include a Popular Queries page on your Support site to direct customers to your most popular topics.
  2. Place search front and center at your Support Center, giving users an easy way to get what they need. Don’t force users to make decisions about where to find an answer. (For example, is it a knowledge base article? Is it a forum post?)
  3. Optimize most popular topics for more effective SEO. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to get new keyword ideas and ensure that users land on the right topic, regardless for example, of whether they search for “skype lost password” or “skype password.”
  4. Manage stale content. In the case of the Yahoo! Answers, the LugIron Software post suggests, “Skype could easily leave an answer of their own, directly on the Yahoo Answers page, that is more appropriate and linked to the correct page. Further, their own forums are providing incorrect answers. They should edit those forum posts to ensure that users reading them also know where the right answer is in the official Skype documentation.”

This approach will take coordination between the different disciplines.  It requires a champion within your company, empowered to manage the entire customer experience, and to integrate the various silos of content.

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SEO Checklist: 105 Tips from MarketingProfs B2B Forum (#mpb2b)

Disclosure: This month, I celebrate my year anniversary as a Contributing Writer for MarketingProfs Get to the Po!nt newsletters, on search engine marketing. After recently attending the MarketingProfs Business-to-Business Forum, in Boston, MA, I also offer my personal lessons learned, on SEO and SEM. MarketingProfs hosted some pretty amazing teachers. Read on.

At the recent MarketingProfs Business to Business Forum in Boston, MA, TopRank’s Lee Odden explained that “SEO is a set of methodologies that make it easier for search engines to find, index, categorize, and rank web content.” Core SEO, he noted, includes “keywords, content, a search friendly site, and links.” (You can still see Odden’s complete MarketingProfs presentation, Content SEO Best Practices, available on vimeo.)

In a different session, Larry Davis, from PTS Data Center Solutions, described the benefits of defining and implementing an SEO strategy, as demonstrated in his own business, where the PTS website accounts for almost 20% of all new sales (data from end of 2009). According to Davis, when integrated with traditional, paid search, and social media marketing initiatives, SEO can help you:

  • Increase sales.
  • Fortify reputation.
  • Increase awareness.
  • Generate new inquiries.
  • Increase actions from site visitors.

These were just two of the speakers that I heard at the B2B Forum in Boston, which hit an all-out SEO grand slam this year, with the following three information-packed presentations and dynamic speakers:

Recap from the B2B Forum

Just three of the MarketingProfs presentations, and over 100 actionable SEO tips. To hit your SEO ball out of the park, start implementing these steps right away:

  1. Analyze what business benefits you will achieve from SEO. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  2. Set goals as search, traffic, inquiries, and sales. (Lee Odden)
  3. Identify the purpose of your website. For example: Lead Generation, Build Awareness, Provide Content, E-commerce, Support/Resource, Build Community, Branding, Ad Revenue, Provide a Service. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  4. Define your B2B Content Optimization Strategy:  An optimized strategy includes keywords, personas, SERPs, assets, editorial, mappping, operationalize, off page DAO, promote, and measure. (Lee Odden)
  5. Develop and implement an SEO strategy,  which includes classic SEO, paid search, blogging, and social media. (Larry Davis)
  6. In-house versus an Agency: Use the E-Myth approach to decide whether you have an existing person who has the bandwidth, if you need to hire, and/or if you need to supplement with external resources. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  7. If you use an agency, consider these key factors: experience in your industry versus working for your competitor, black hat vs. white hat optimization approach, and references. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  8. Scheduling: Set aside about 70  hours to get a site optimized for 30 or so keywords. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  9. For 30 or so keywords, set aside 40-50 hours to research recommendations. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  10. For 30 or so keywords, set aside 15-20 hours for copyrighting/editing. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  11. For 30 or so keywords, set aside 8-10 hours for programming. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  12. Understand how users are getting to your site. In what context do they “think” about your products and services. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  13. Research converting visitors. 1st time, 2nd time, or 3rd time visitors, geographic location, current or new customers, different companies or organizations, last time they completed a goal, how did they get to the website, common search terms (support sites), and pages they completed goals on. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  14. Use research on converting customers to optimize your site, improve goal completion, and improve marketing effectiveness. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  15. Leverage site surveys and usability for actionable data. To leverage event tracking, customize Google Analytics to collect customer feedback through search results, content, and promotional offers. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  16. Referring Site Traffic: Review referring site traffic to identify quality traffic sources, identify new or at risk link opportunities, and improve existing partnerships. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglione)
  17. Select keywords; it all flows from here. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  18. Find the keywords your customers use to find your products/service. (Lee Odden)
  19. Brainstorm based on solutions & customer needs. (Lee Odden)
  20. Interview or survey customers. (Lee Odden)
  21. Review current web analytics. (Lee Odden)
  22. Poll sales and Customer Service staff. (Lee Odden)
  23. Review competitor content. (Lee Odden)
  24. Develop a Keyword Glossary: category, popularity, competition, and relevance. (Lee Odden)
  25. Use Core SEO Keyword Tools: Google AdWords Tool, Insights, Trends, Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, Wordstream, and SEMRush.com. (Lee Odden)
  26. Keyword Optimization: Identify which keywords to optimize, including keywords with high conversions, and keywords with high search volume. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  27. To rank well on both Google & MSN, use as a rule of thumb 5 mentions of the keyword (if a keyword is a phrase, we would suggest the whole phrase be mentioned at least twice, and individual terms be mentioned at least 3 more times) for the first 250 words of the copy. If a page is longer than 250 words, we would suggest 2 -3 additional mentions of the keywords for each additional 250 word count. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding, quote from follow-up, at MarketingProfs Daily Fix post)
  28. Keyword Performance Report:  Align analysis to goals. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  29. Keyword Performance Report:  Segment/categorize terms for multiple goals or different customer segments. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  30. Keyword Performance Report: Identify top performing keywords based on goal behaviors. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  31. Keyword Performance Report: Maintain trends on top keywords to spot changes in performance quickly. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  32. Keyword Performance Report: Understand the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, including an increase in traffic over time and an increase in goal completion over time. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  33. SEM and SEO: “Research continually proves that when paid listings appear along with natural listings, they reinforce each other. Better yet, in study after study it is the organic listings that get clicked, so you get the benefit of paid search visibility, without the per click cost.” (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  34. Integration of SEO and PPC analysis: Learning can occur on both sides of the house. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  35. Integration of SEO and PPC analysis: Consider using Long tail keyword strings as a cost effective PPC alternatives. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  36. Integration of SEO and PPC analysis: consider using paid search as testing ground for new content. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  37. Integration of SEO and PPC analysis: Look for new content development opportunities from successful paid search campaigns. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  38. PPC Analytics: Tie the right metrics to the right step in the conversion process and make improvements. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  39. PPC Analytics: If your impressions are low, you may want to select a keyword with more traffic. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  40. PPC Analytics: Improve the likely hood of a click by testing ad copy. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  41. PPC Analytics: High bounce rates indicate that visitor left without action. Make landing page improvements. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  42. PPC Analytics: Low conversion rates indicates problems in the funnel that you need to fix. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  43. Meta Content Optimization: “Make sure you always include a relevant and enticing description (usually less than 155 characters) in your header Meta content.” (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  44. Develop onsite content—copy that works for humans and search engines. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding).
  45. Develop multimedia content; it helps when all things are equal. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  46. Optimize 1-2 phrases per page (title tags, headings, paragraph titles, keywords in body copy, anchor text in links, image alt text). (Lee Odden)
  47. “Adding new content pages in the form of articles, resources, or blog posts can increase your search engine traffic. You create more indexable content for the search engines to crawl, as well as attract more links. And remember, it’s very important that the content be interesting enough to attract links on its own.” (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  48. Keep content up-to-date; stale content is so 1999. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  49. Content Optimization Tool: scribeseo.com Scribe is unique because it focuses on the content of your site and not just the structure of the site. (Lee Odden)
  50. Page Optimization: Use best practices, such as clear call to action, limit the choices, more white space, less text, and keeping it simple. (Chris Warwick)
  51. Page Optimization: At this point, take the time to understand who is completing goals on your site. Spend time looking into funnels to find out the pages that need improvement. (Chris Warwick)
  52. Avoid crawling issues, such as Multiple URLS to duplicate content and temporary redirects. (Lee Odden)
  53. Avoid site navigation with Ajax, Flash, and Javascript. (Lee Odden)
  54. Make URLS search and user-friendly. Avoid unecessarily complex URLS & session IDs. (Lee Odden)
  55. Apply SEO best practices to title tags, content descriptions, and alt text. (Lee Odden)
  56. Implement limited Flash, well placed Javascript. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  57. Develop fresh, themed content, with logical site structure, categories & subcategories. (Lee Odden)
  58. Site Load Speed: Consider site load speed, as a new ranking factor. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  59. Generate a report that shows your error pages. Example: Search: No Results, Error Page, and Page Not Found. Improve conversion by using the Navigation Report summary to fix broken links to that page. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  60. Develop a strategy for acquiring in-bound links from authority sites on each keyword. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding, Larry Davis)
  61. Use subject matter or referring site type to find more quality links. .gov and .org site are strong link opportunities, when relevant to your site. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglione)
  62. Investigate links to blogs and forums to see if there are further opportunities to showcase your products or services through contribution. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglione)
  63. Use these helpful link building operators: Replace “keyword” with your target keyword to find new link  opportunities, including blogs and forums. Perform searches on all the engines: intext:keywordallintitle:keyword, allinurl:keyword, directory keyword, favorite links keyword, favorite sites keyword, intext:keyword, intitle:blog keyword (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglione)
  64. Use keywords in link text. (Lee Odden)
  65. Earn links with great content. (Lee Odden)
  66. Promote on social networks. (Lee Odden)
  67. Link up with marketing partners. (Lee Odden)
  68. Cross link internally. (Lee Odden)
  69. Embed links in news releases. (Lee Odden)
  70. Leverage social bookmark pickups. (Lee Odden)
  71. Syndicate content via RSS. (Lee Odden)
  72. Optimize all your digital assets, including social media (text, MS Office docs, images, videos, blog/RSS, media coverage, and social news/bookmark). (Lee Odden)
  73. “You should be monitoring social media outposts even if your company doesn’t have a blog.” (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  74. Generate buzz, which can result in inbound links. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  75. Make sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  76. Drive traffic to the main site with digital outposts. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  77. New Platform Optimization: Optimize for the iPad, mobile phones, etc. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  78. Real-Time Search: Important to monitor the conversation–quick response is critical. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  79. Personalized Search: Make sure your web site is well-branded and delivers on promises to remain relevant and attractive to searchers. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  80. Mobile Search Optimization: Make sites formatted and searchable from these smaller browsing platforms, as well as optimized for mobile search, easy to load, and easy to navigate from the mobile screen. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  81. Investigate your sites mobile trend. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  82. Understand the actions mobile visitors are taking, including browsing, buying, and reading content. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  83. Understand how your visitors got to the site. Examples: search, Inbound marketing efforts, and Referring sites/apps. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  84. Identify the opportunity. Example: mobile site, mobile app for content, mobile app for purchasing, mobile advertising.) (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  85. Local Search Optimization: Make sure your business has its local profiles set up. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  86. Make sure your website is optimized for local search queries. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  87. QDF (Query deserves Freshness) Link Quality: Include publishing blog content and press releases around a hot topic. (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  88. Measure against Goals: Are you achieving goals? How to improve? (Veronica “Niki” Fielding)
  89. Measure against Goals: Pay attention to KPIS, including pages indexed, crawling errors & Webmaster Tools Reports, rankings relative to your own site over time, inbound links (quantity, quality, and longevity), keyword referrals from search, link traffic, social media citations and traffic, goal pages and conversions. (Lee Odden)
  90. Prioritize Goals for Web Analytics. Lead generation: Registration pages, inquiries, new contacts. Build awareness: % new visitors, unique visitors, engagement. Provide content: Top content reports, exit pages, downloads. E-commerce: Checkout process, popular products, order value. Support: Return visitors, internal search, frequency of visit. Community: Active accounts, engagement, conversation rate. Branding: Brand perception lift. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  91. Track Site Goals in Google Analytics: Specify end goal and prior actions. Assign a value to each action. Begin tracking non paid contribution. (Chris Warwick, Hans Keil, Steve Viglion)
  92. Site Re-Design Tip: Consider keeping the same file naming structure. (Lee Odden)
  93. 301 redirect all old or changed URLS. (Lee Odden)
  94. Create custom 404 error pages. (Lee Odden) Site Re-Design Tip: Look for broken links. (Lee Odden)
  95. Create a HTML site map. (Lee Odden)
  96. Create an XML site map. (Lee Odden)
  97. Maintain consistency with optimized content. (Lee Odden)
  98. Update inbound links. (Lee Odden)
  99. Tell your SEO. (Lee Odden)
  100. Next Step: Update your optimized content strategy. (Jiyan Wei)
  101. Next step: Leverage digital assets. (Jiyan Wei)
  102. Net step: Leverage all content.(Jiyan Wei)
  103. Next step: Promotion is ongoing. (Jiyan Wei)
  104. Next step: Develop channels of distribution and social links. (Jiyan Wei)
  105. Next step: Leverage web and social media analytics. (Jiyan Wei)
Photo Credit, p_x_g’s photostream
Related Links

Links of Note: Search Engine Marketing

This post includes my inaugural contributions to MarketingProfs Get to the Po!nt newsletters, which ran this past June through August, under search marketing.

Get to the Po!nt newsletters provide bite-size nuggets of information, with entertaining summaries of articles from leading marketing resources, including actionable steps and a concluding point to incorporate into marketing strategy.

Since I started contributing to these newsletters, I’ve benefited greatly working with MarketingProfs editorial staff, whose lively voice and copyedits help ensure that the broader series of Get to the Po!nt newsletters are consistently engaging, informative, and actionable.

If you are interested in receiving Get to the PoInt newsletters, you can sign up for free here, on a wide range of topics, including High-Tech MKG & Sales, Search Engine Marketing, Marketing Analytics, Interactive Marketing, B2B Marketing, Email Marketing, Customer Insight, Small Business, and Marketing Inspiration.

Here are my MarketingProfs newsletter contributions, from this past summer:

  • Meet the SEO Royal Family: Advises placing a greater focus on the SEO Royal Family, including content, usability, and relevance, to optimize website conversion rates.
  • Serving Up the Perfect SEO Sandwich:  Provides tips on how to keep your in-house SEO effort moving forward, by guiding the conversation among the three ‘sandwich’ levels of stakeholders (executives, management, and everyone else) in your organization.
  • Where SEO Yin Meets SM Yang: To extend your reach and facilitate engagement, advises factoring in the value of search and social media into your content strategy.
  • Feeling Left Out? Link Up at Home?: Provides tips on optimizing your internal navigation to boost your page rankings from the inside out.
  • Peeling This Doesn’t Make You Cry: Describes how digging deeper into that SEO onion “offers a great competitive advantage—unlike paid search, where anyone can beat you out with a better keyword bid.” Provides tips for optimizing the two main layers of SEO: on-page factors and off-page factors.
  • Form the Perfect SEO Storm: Advises thinking beyond SEO best practices and keeping in mind how non-SEO factors also drive organic traffic.

I summarized articles for these newsletters from the following search and online marketing blogs: Search Engine Land, TopRank Online Marketing Blog, Search Engine Guide, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine Watch.

Do you have suggestions on any additional resources for SEO or search engine marketing? What SEO topics interest you the most?

Photo credit, a2gemma

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog


Search Engine Strategies Keynote: Charlene Li on How to Prepare for the Future of Search

In her keynote at the SES San Jose 2009 conference, Charlene Li, co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, calls for search marketers to put people, not keywords, at the center of search strategy, where relevancy is increasingly the goal, and where the social graph (aka our respective social networks) are integrated with search intent. So report Barry Schwartz of the Search Engine Roundtable and Gaurav Sharma of Think Mantra, in their live coverage of the keynote.

According to Schwartz and Sharma’s notes, Li predicts a future where “social networks will be like air,” with our respective social graphs following us, “where we need them to be.” Li points out that today “we have a lot of targeting in search engines, like geo and time,” but future search engines may also include “demographic, behavioral, and social graphs,” which will allow online marketers to develop super-targeted ads.

Future Search Scenarios

Today, through the iPhone and Google Maps, we can “search nearby or even search en route, or change search results based on ‘time of day.’” Li explains. In the future, she envisions that it will be possible to find a restaurant, based on a search of our friends’ online reviews. She further suggests that it will be possible to use search technology to find out where your friends are eating right now.  Instead of generic reviews at Amazon, you will be able to find your friends’ online book reviews. “How useful would that be?” Li persuasively asks.

Impact to Marketers

The significance of social search technology to marketers involves targeting ads in a new way, based on social graph and behavior.  She points to Media6 technology, which identifies who is closest to you, in your network neighborhood. According to the web site, Media6 connects “a brand’s existing customers with user segments composed entirely of consumers who are interwoven via the social graph,” reflecting high degrees of homophily, “the tendency of like-minded individuals to cluster with other people who strongly resemble them.”

“They know person A buys from store X, so they want to find person A’s friends and see if they also buy at store X and then show related ads,” Li explains. Li projects that through this type of technology, “we might see the rise of personal-based CPC (Cost Per Click) and CPM (Cost Per Thousand).”  She imagines a future with “Google charging a CPC (Cost Per Click) based not only on auction, but based on the person who clicks.”

How Do You Prepare for Social Search Technology?

Li offers these tips to prepare for the future of social search:

  1. Focus on people (not keywords) and build the relationship. (Example: Obama’s campaign.) Let your goals define the type of relationship you want to build as well as your strategy.
  2. Listen to and learn from your audience. Monitor what they are saying about you. (Example: Oracle.) Use Google Blog Search, search.twitter.com, and delicious. Consider paid tools, such as real-time monitoring from Radian6.
  3. Start a dialog. Help your community members. Innovate with your community members. (Examples: Southwest Airlines, DellOutlet.)
  4. Start at the bottom of the Engagement Pyramid with the sharers and watchers. Many sites have “sharing” buttons to enable people to share products with others.  Look through your site’s pages, and see where you can add sharing features.
  5. Reply to customers and prospects. (Examples: DellOutlet and Comcast. @comcastcares [Comcast’s account on Twitter] reaches out to people who tweet about and/or complain about Comcast.
  6. Share ideas. (Example: MyStarbucksIdea.com) Google Moderator and Yahoo Tools help you share ideas, feature requests, etc.
  7. Get your backend data in order through a single database, a CRM application, etc. You must first integrate this data and then sort it by the level of influence that person has. (Example: Citysearch partnered with Facebook and integrated the login with them.)
  8. Give up Control. You cannot control relationships. Relationships are built over time.

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog

Links of Note, July 2009: SEO and Search Engine Marketing ~ Google’s No Follow Change

ere are SEO and Search Engine Marketing links of note I recently compiled, which rocked the advanced SEO world back in June, related to how Google assigns PageRank within your site and its current recommendation against using the rel=nofollow attribute for page sculpting. According to Google’s Matt Cutts, page sculpting refers to the practice of “trying to change how PageRank flows within your site, using methods such as the nofollow attribute.”

The SEO world is still reeling from Matt Cutt’s announcement, because it contradicts Google’s previous encouragement to use the nofollow attribute for page sculpting. For bloggers, the change also raises issues about whether under Google’s new policy, comment links now have the potential to drain PageRank from the other links within your site, prompting discussions (see Andy Beard’s post), on the value of moving comments to Javascript-based comment systems like Disqus, where the links to the comment authors won’t be inside your pages. In a recent SEOmoz postRand Fish goes so far as to advise that as a result of Google’s change, SEO consultants should now recommend “that comments (in all forms of User Generated Content) no longer accept links.”

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan points out that it is still possible to pursue page sculpting as an advanced SEO tactic. He reinforces Fish’s recommendation to use iframes, as an alternative to the nofollow attribute. Sullivan also advises being more selective about choosing links, especially from your homepage, as another way to page sculpt, through your site’s own architecture.

Sullivan reminds readers that though page scultping remains a viable SEO tactic, “fixing bad page titles, obtaining quality external links, and creating quality content” is still a better way to improve PageRank.”

For more information, see the following links and related notes, including the Blind Five Year Old post on usability, which asserts Google’s nofollow change is really a “not-so-subtle push to encourage sites to simplify.”

PageRank Sculpting from Matt Cutts’ blog on Gadgets, Google, and SEO:

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, surprised the advanced SEO world in June, revealing that more than a year ago, Google changed the way PageRank flows within your site, and now recommends against using the  rel=nofollow attribute for page sculpting. Here is Cutts’ widely discussed revelation:

“Nofollow is method (introduced in 2005 and supported by multiple search engines) to annotate a link to tell search engines “I can’t or don’t want to vouch for this link.” In Google, nofollow links don’t pass PageRank and don’t pass anchortext [*].”

“So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRankpoints” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let’s leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question. Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.”

Instead of Page Sculpting to improve page rank, Cutts advises focusing on content and site navigation:

“In general, except for ‘a miniscule number of pages (such as links to a shopping cart or to a login page,’ I would let PageRank flow freely within your site,” Cutts advises. The notion of ‘PageRank sculpting’  has always been a second- or third-order recommendation for us. I would recommend the first-order things to pay attention to are 1) making great content that will attract links in the first place, and 2) choosing a site architecture that makes your site usable/crawlable for humans and search engines alike.”

Google No Follow Changes Explained by Mike McDonald at WebProNews:

Mike McDonald provides an excellent lay person’s translation of Google’s No-Follow changes. In particular, he calls out these points:

  • “Whenever you are linking within your site, don’t use no-follow.”
  • Q: Since PageRank is divided amongst outbound links, no-follow or not, should I turn off comments on my blog? ?“A: I wouldn’t recommend closing comments in an attempt to “hoard” your PageRank. In the same way that Google trusts sites less when they link to spammy sites or bad neighborhoods, parts of our system encourage links to good sites.”

Google Changes to No-Follow on the Horizon? by WebProNews’ Mike McDonald:

Mike McDonald translates PR sculpting into everyday terms: “Now, the PR sculpting theory holds that the more holes you have in your bucket, the more your link juice is spread around or diluted. This is at least in part supported by the search engine accepted and approved concept of Crawl Efficiency (see the Vanessa Fox video or article for more on that). Search engines aren’t going to spend forever crawling and indexing every link on every page, so the concept of crawl efficiency basically means you prioritize the important stuff for them.” Before Google’s change to how PageRank flows within your site, the way you ranked the important links in your site was by applying the nofollow attribute to to less significant links within your site. “Google, doesn’t like to have situations where people can ‘control’ the value of links – especially for the purposes of ranking better in Google,” McDonald explains. He also notes potential difficulties with the change, for article [or blog] commenting:

…let’s say you have a popular article that gets 500 comments. Most everybody that leaves a comment also leaves a link.  Generally these links are no-followed.  If more links = some sort of diminished or diluted authority of a page, that would seem to suggest your fantastic article that got 500 comments was maybe not as good as an article that only got maybe 5 comments.

McDonald notes that Google might justify this change as necessary to protect the integrity of its index. However, he counters, “I think it gets to a point when maybe they need to do something about their index’s over-reliance on inbound links as a ranking factor.”

Google Changed How It Handles Nofollow (And How It Might Affect Blogs) by Daily Blog Tips’ Daniel Scocco:

Daniel Scocco explains that as a result of Google’s change to the way it handles Nofollow, “now all the links on your comment section are reducing the PageRank that would otherwise flow to your internal pages.” Scocco notes, “Google might do something to fix this problem, but we still got to hear about it.” In the meantime, Scocco offers a solution:

…you can either close your comments completely (but I wouldn’t recommend that), or use an iframe or Javascript to host your comments, so that the links to the comment authors won’t be inside your pages. Andy Beard wrote a post on the topic titled Disqus – Why 95% Of Bloggers Should Switch.

Disqus – Why 95% Of Bloggers Should Switch:

In a post that examines the pros and cons about Disqus, Andy Beard believes that despite some reservations, 95% of bloggers should switch to Disqus for blog commenting. Beard’s recommendation is based mainly on Google’s recent change to how it handles the no follow attribute and how page rank flows within your site:

Matt Cutts today confirmed that nofollow links can reduce the amount of PageRank that flow to internal pages. The easiest current solution to solve this problem is to use Javascript for comments. It is an external javascript file, which Google can’t really handle currently, and even if they did, the chances are it might only count as a single link to your disqus discussion.

For more information on problems facing comment links, Beard refers readers to Blogstorm‘s post “PageRank Sculpting & Blog Comments.”

Google Says: Yes, You Can Still Sculpt PageRank. No You Can’t Do It With Nofollow:

According to SEOmoz’s Rand Fish,the change to Google’s nofollow policy is going to make it difficult to justify linking out. He believes that SEOs and websites are going to revert to “old-school” PageRank sculpting – “the kind prevalent prior to the existence of nofollow”:

  • “Option A: An embedded iFrame on the page containing the links you don’t want the engines to follow. (Remember not to link to the iFrame URL, and potentially block it using robots.txt).”
  • “Option B: Links that call a Javascript redirect script with access blocked for search engine bots (as Google is also now crawling basic javascript and counting links through it).”
  • “Option C: An embed in Flash, Java or some other non-parseable plug-in that contains the desired links.”
  • “Option D: Settings that turn off links for non-cookied or non-logged-in visitors.”

As far as blog comments, Rand Fish notes that as a result of Google’s change, SEO consultants should now recommend “that comments (in all forms of UGC) no longer accept links.” Rand Fish explains his position:

“While Google has said that linking out to “good places” provides some value, that merely suggests that webmasters and site owners should select good resources editorially and link to them with live, followed links. Comments that contain links, unfortunately, will actively detract from a site’s ability to get pages indexed (as they’ll pull away link juice from the places that need it). It’s likely that a plug-in for WordPress that sends comment links out through uncrawlable Javascript or uses iFrames will emerge in the very near future.”

PageRank Sculpting Is Dead! Long Live PageRank Sculpting!:

Search Engine Land’s Editor-in-Chief Danny Sullivan weighs in on Google’s announced change to the way it handles the nofollow attribute.  Sullivan does not believe there is a need to strip out all the nofollow attributes. The reported change “simply means that regular links no longer get to cash in on extra PageRank. It doesn’t mean that they get penalized.” He also notes that some SEO consultants still believe that using nofollow does work. These conspiracy theorists believe that “PageRank sculpting with nofollow, in fact, works so well that Google’s now simply saying that nofollow links get counted again even when they don’t.” He offers, “Ultimately, each person will have to decide for themselves what they want to believe.”

While he is taking nofollow off the table, Sullivan points out that Google’s Matt Cutts still talks about other methods of sculpting. In a video interview, Cutts mentioned that choosing which things to link to from your home page is a more effective form of PageRank sculpting:

…imagine that you have two different pages. You’ve got one product that earns you a lot of money every time someone buys, and you’ve got another product where you make, you know, 10 cents. You probably want to highlight this page [the one that earns a lot], you want to make sure it gets enough PageRank so it can rank well. So this is more likely to be a page you want to link to from your home page. So when people talk about PageRank sculpting, they tend to think nofollow and all that sort of stuff, but in some sense, the ways that you choose to create your site, your site architecture and how you link between your pages is a type of PageRank sculpting.

According to Sullivan, “fixing bad page titles, obtaining quality external links, and creating quality content” is a better way to improve PageRank.” However, if as an advanced SEO tactic, people still want to pursue sculpting, then Sullivan predicts “I think we’ll see both a combination of folks being more selective about the links they put out on their pages and/or pursuing other methods of showing links but not having them count.” Citing Rand Fish’s recent post, Sullivan reinforces the use of iframes as an alternative to nofollow:

A leading contender is the use of iframes. Using an iframe, someone could have comments appear within a blog post and yet not have any links in those comments get counted into the overall PageRank allocations.

Nofollow Change is about Usability:

From a usability perspective, A.J. Kohn states that the problem with the nofollow attribute “was that it didn’t allow the search engine to look at the page like a human being. If you nofollowed 20 links out of 25 on a page you were essentially telling Google that only 5 links existed. But to a human being, all 25 links exist.”  The post further cites Google’s recommended guideline for “keeping links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).”

The nofollow change essentially means that they’re counting your nofollow links against that 100 link benchmark. Translation. Stop putting so many links on a page!

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog


Links of Note, July 2009: SEO and Search Marketing (Microsoft/Yahoo Merger)

 Here are links of note, which I compiled this past July from my Twitter stream, on SEO and search engine marketing. Link categories for this post include SEO & PPC Budgets, the Microsoft/Yahoo Search Deal, General Search Engines News, and Search Engine & Mobile News.

The big search news last month was of course the Microsoft/Yahoo deal.

SEO & PPC Budgets

SEO & PPC budgets Set to Double by 2014:

In a BlogStorm post, Patrick Altoft calls attention to new figures from Forrester, which predict Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) spending will increase steadily over the next 5 years. According to the report, “interactive marketing will near $55 billion and represent 21% of all marketing spending in 2014, as marketers shift dollars away from traditional media and toward search marketing, display advertising, email marketing, social media, and mobile marketing.” The report further points out the discrepancy between how much brands are willing to spend on PPC today as opposed to SEO, despite how much more traffic SEO drives to sites: “In some industries brands are spending 10-20 times as much on PPC as SEO and yet natural search drives over 75% of all search traffic.”

Microsoft/Yahoo Search Deal

The Microsoft-Yahoo Search Deal, In Simple Terms:

This Search Engine Land post describes how Yahoo’s going to give up their search technology and instead lease Microsoft’s search technology. When you complete a search at Yahoo, sometime starting between summer to fall of 2010, “you’ll get results back just like you get now. The main difference is at the bottom of the page, it’ll say, ‘Powered By Bing.'” The deal represents the two companies cooperating with and competing against each other, at the same time.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been positioning Google as a “search engine” and Yahoo as a portal where “people find relevant contextual content about things they care about.” “By outsourcing search, Bartz argues Yahoo can do a better job with its content areas.” Microsoft gains from this merger because it wants to compete with Google.

In this deal, the post further explains that you’ll now be able to buy both Yahoo and Microsoft ads at the same time. “That lets you reach 30% of the market in one go,” as opposed to 20% with Yahoo and 10% with Microsoft.” (“If you buy an ad with Google today, you reach around 70 percent of the search market in the United States.”)

Microsoft and Yahoo Confirm Search Deal:

ITPro reports that under the deal, “Microsoft will run the search side while Yahoo will handle sales for both firms. Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer said that the deal will give his own firm’s new search engine Bing the scale to compete with Google.

The 10-year agreement will give Microsoft exclusive licence to Yahoo’s search tech, letting the Redmond firm use it in its own search tools. Microsoft’s Bing will be the main search tool, but Yahoo will still “own” its sites.

Yahoo will run the search advertising side, but Microsoft’s own AdCentre platform will continue to set pricing, and each firm will keep its own advertising and sales staff.

Yahoo-Microsoft Search Deal ~ The Key Facts:

In a post at Mashable.com, Stan Schroeder provides the key facts on the Yahoo-Microsoft search deal:

“Yahoo is cutting costs by ditching its own search, and Microsoft is becoming Google’s biggest competitor when it comes to search; it is also cutting costs by letting Yahoo handle ad sales for premium search advertisers.”

  • “Microsoft’s Bing will now be the search engine on all Yahoo sites.”
  • “Yahoo will provide the relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.”
  • “Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business.”
  • “Self-serve advertising for both companies will go through Microsoft’s AdCenter platform.”
  • “Microsoft will compensate Yahoo through a revenue sharing agreement on traffic generated on Yahoo’s network.”
  • “The term of the agreement is 10 years.”

Top 10 Things the Microsoft/Yahoo! Deal Changes for SEO:

According to Rand Fish, SEOmoz‘s CEO, and co-founder, here are the ten ways the Microsoft/Yahoo deal changes SEO:

  1. “SEO for Bing is Worth Your Optimization Effort.” (“Even if the lowest numbers are accurate, 15% of search market share is worth the optimization effort.” “Bing’s traffic is, in general, also more likely to convert and click on ads.”)
  2. We May Lose Yahoo! Link Data.”
  3. “PPC Consolidation.”
  4. “Bing’s Webmaster Tools Are Important.”
  5. “Yahoo! & Bing Local Become More Essential.”
  6. “Bing Will Get more Spam.”
  7. “Bing Will Get Lots more Data.”
  8. “Important Yahoo! Properties May Disappear.”
  9. “Yahoo! Maintains UI Control for their Search Experience.”
  10. “Yahoo! Will Become a More Powerful Content Competitor.”
    “With Yahoo! out of the core search business, many people, myself included, expect them to focus even more on the content side of the business. That means properties inside Yahoo! News & Media Group are going to get more attention and more investment. If you’re competing with Yahoo!’s content now, that battle may get tougher in the future.”

General Search Engines News

Meet Bing, Microsoft’s New Search Engine:

This Search Engine Land post describes how Microsoft’s former “Live Search” search engine  now officially has a new name “Bing,” in addition to an $80 million marketing budget. “The new name and some new features represent Microsoft’s quest to best Google in the search engine wars.” The post reports that the most significant change is how Bing organizes search results into categories (also known as clustering). “Google also has a form of clustering, called related search suggestions, though it’s nowhere near as dramatic as what Bing does.” The post points to two companion Search Engine Land posts: Microsoft’s Bing Vs Google: Head To Head Search Results and State Of Search: Google Will Stay Strong Despite Bing & Yahoo.

Yahoo Dominates The Web, Just Not In Search:

In a Search Engine Land post just before the Microsoft/Yahoo search deal, Barry Schwartz cited Jordan Golson’s Gigaom post, which noted that though Yahoo is not number one in search, it is number one in so many other areas, including these Yahoo properties: News, Finance, Sports, Mail, Entertainment, and Games (near tie). Golson points out that Yahoo Answers most likely also dominates that category on the web.

Search Engine & Mobile News

Google Mobile Advertising: It’s Time to Start:

In a Search Engine Watch post, David Szetela reports that Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said, “…mobile advertising [will] generate more revenue than advertising on today’s Web.” To reinforce why mobile Pay Per Click advertising will become increasingly important, Szetela describes the following paradigm shifts:

  • All phones will eventually be “Smartphones” — essentially handheld computers.
  • For most people on the planet, their first — and only — Internet-enabled personal computer will be their phone.
  • The tiny-screen problem will become irrelevant.

How will Microsoft-Yahoo Deal affect Mobile?:

According to The Mobile Marketer‘s Dan Butcher, “Yahoo and Microsoft claim that their deal will be a game-changer for Web search and will drive innovation. But mobile seems to have gotten only a cursory nod from the alliance.” Analyzing the potential impact on mobile, he cites among others, Steve Baldwin, editor in chief of Didit, New York, as stating:

Microsoft is making big moves in the mobile area right now, especially in terms of its deal for Bing to provide default search services for Verizon, whose installed base of users is approximately 85 million,” he said.

“I cannot speculate on how its new arrangement with Yahoo might strengthen its offerings on such phones, but now that Yahoo and Microsoft are on newly friendly terms additional synergies do present themselves.”

Mr. Baldwin believes that having access to a much higher volume of search query data will help it realize some of the promises its targeting technologies have offered marketers for some time now.

Rachel Pasqua, director of mobile strategy at iCrossing, New York adds her take on the Microsoft/Yahoo deal’s impact on mobile search:

 “As a rule, we see people using the same search tools on their mobile that the do on their desktop and that means Google still has the advantage.

“That said, the benefits for both are obvious—Yahoo can stop worrying about search and concentrate their efforts on mobile product and content design, places where they’ve really excelled, and where Microsoft has always been lacking,” she said.

“And Microsoft gets to add Yahoo’s estimated 34.6 percent to their own mobile search market share, but that still won’t put them over 50 percent.”

Search Engines Fail Users in Finding Mobile Sites: Mobi Tech:

In The Mobile Marketer, Dan Butcher reports that “Mobi Tech International Inc. has tossed its hat into the ring of mobile search with the release of the Mobi iNet mobile application, challenging category leaders Google and Yahoo to a fight.” According to Mobi Tech, “more times than not the trusted Internet search engines like Google continue to return search results on smartphones that direct you to full desktop Web sites and not mobile-friendly sites.”

Mobi Tech believes “that people will still want to use Google or Yahoo, so the company has included the mobile-friendly versions of these search engines and others right inside Mobi iNet under the category “Search Engines.” Mobi Tech contends, however, “that while on a smartphone some people will want to use a standard search engine some of the time, but most people will want to use the mobile-friendly search of Mobi iNet most of the time.”

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog