Tuesday Twitter announces their new business model of Promoted Tweets to help the company generate revenue to help with the costs of running their equipment.
On Wednesday, Google announces the arrival of the ability of searching past Tweets, in an index of sorts of the history of Twitter.
Twitter, is taking a page from the Google playbook with ad generating tweets (AdWords anyone?), and Google is working it’s way into the real time search areana by including the newest Tweets, and now indexing all of the past ones up to the companies beginning.
In the strictest sense of the word, they’re not true competitors, as they provide different services to users. Google, returns relevant search results to users who search for specific strings. Twitter, is a real time account of the world. It’s a play by play of the world, as it happens.
A thought which has surfaced, and gained some momentum in discussion, is the idea of Google and Twitter joining forces, as opposed to outright confronting each other. In a sense, it would combine the best of real time accounts, with the worlds most powerful search engine; a very potent mix.
But, now that Twitter has developed it’s own revenue model, which it’s still working on, is it enough to keep its solidarity? Or will Google find a way to gobble it up, time will tell. If that happens, what’s the new term to be?
It’s been nearly nine months since Google-based phones came to Canada, but the Web giant continues to deny residents of this country access to thousands of phone applications
Facebook, if you live in a cave then there’s a chance you might not have heard of it (a small chance however). If it were a physical community, it would be the worlds fourth largest country at more than 400 million active users, 50% of which are logging in on any given day.
Why is Facebook so popular? Why was it picked up by everyone, and yes in some cases their dog too! It doesn’t make you money, it doesn’t put food on your table, it doesn’t fulfill some of the very basic necessities to live. But, it does fulfill some basics of life. Two different points, both with different needs.
You need food. You need water, shelter, some form of clothing on your back to protect you from the elements. Facebook provides none of these for it’s 400 million users, and yet people flock to it in droves, daily, in the millions.
People are pack animals, you don’t need to look further than the idea of towns and cities to see that. We like to be connected, we like to feel like we’re part of something, we like to know that someone, somewhere, cares to know who we are. It’s added bonus of being able to be in communication with your long lost friends and family is just icing on the cake as far as communication goes. You can send out a letter telling everyone in your life about your new clogs, or your dogs operation, or the newest addition to your family. How many have gotten a friend request, from someone they haven’t spoken to in 10+ years, because they were a friend of a friend of a friend.
Some in the press touted Googles foray (Buzz) into social media a Facebook killer, when in fact Buzz is just the same as all the rest. One of the bigger differences being in this case, your friends list was initially automatically populated for you. Because of the sheer size of it’s client base, somewhere in the neighborhood of 146 million users, if I read correctly, Buzz experienced some very sharp growing pains at it’s indiscretions of privacy and the way it launched itself into the public spotlight.
There was a time when MySpace was the social media phenomenon, and then Facebook arrived and MySpace was left in the dust. Is there a Facebook killer in the weeds, just waiting for it’s chance? Maybe, but the idea that it will happen anytime soon is as probable as the dark horse coming that’s going to topple Googles search dominance.
There’s a number of facets to successful online marketing. Being able to recognize those which are worth the time and effort and which are best left on the wayside can mean the difference of long term financial freedom, or scraping the insides of your food tins.
Ok, perhaps I went a little dramatic with the variance, but to expand on the metaphor, online advertising techniques range from as complex and involved as organic search engine optimization (SEO), to the relentless upkeep of social media marketing, and the immediate exposure capability of pay per click SEM (search engine marketing) campaigns.
The following excerpt is old news::
“Yellow Pages Group has entered into a new strategic agreement with Google to become the first Canadian based reseller of Google AdWords. Under the agreement, Yellow Pages Group will be able to provide its 425,000+ advertisers with setup and consulting on Google AdWords campaigns.” 10/2007
but I mention it because of some of the points made within the statement, that while aren’t untrue, aren’t entirely transparent in meaning.
To summarize the paragraph, what’s being said is basically Yellow Pages Group set up an agreement with Google, to sell Adwords ads. That’s it. Nothing fancy about it, no consultancy with Google, apart from their own staff writers at Yellow Pages, no partnerships with Google or the like. The way it would work is fairly basic, you call Yellow Pages, tell them the adwords you would like to target, and they tell you the cost per click (CPC); say $5 for example. If your ad copy is better than the others, and someone clicks your ad, you pay $5 for that click through. Ideally of course, at that point the visitor buys what ever product they’ve clicked through to see, and you can recoup your CPC. If they don’t buy, well you need to break some eggs to make an omelette right?
Adwords programs are fairly easy to setup, but require consistant upkeep. CPC can fluctuate day to day, depending on the news, product availability, or niche marketing just for example. Resellers are in the business of making money at what they’re selling. That $5 Yellow Pages Ad they may have only paid $2 for to Google as an example.
There are banners, web page logos, designs, etc which some have used to try and label themselves as Google partners. To be very clear, if Google likes what you can do, they won’t partner with you. Sorry to burst the bubble, but if you’re that good at what you do, and you spark Googles interest, odds are high that you’re going to be having a nice, long, paid vacation.
Pay per click advertising is a quick way to brand a new website, provided you have a competant person at the helm to maintain your account. The force behind Freshtraffic, had his hand in developing the PPC/Adwords system, if ever there was a time to use the term Google Partner, this would be the closest instance to which it would apply.
Google, the search giant who’s developed a slew of services and products, the majority of which are free, are again trying to up the bar in it’s seemingly endless pockets of services.
The newest information to come down the wire from G:
“..it will offer the service at a “competitive price” to at least 50,000 people and potentially as many as 500,000. Google wants to use the networks for applications that consume lots of bandwidth.”
A full fibre network, with the beginning roots going outwards to subscribers allowing badwidth of up to 1 gigabit per second, for comparison speeds, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast offer speeds of 50 megabits per second cap currently. If you were in a car, it would be like travelling (quickly mind you) at 50 mph, and hitting the Google road, all of a sudden flying along at 1000 mph. Gives the term, free information exchange, a whole new meaning. Additionally, offering a speed of 1 gigabit would ideally lead to the realm of online 3d viewing, taking online interactivity to a whole new realm as well.
The starting point, being those cities which would benefit the most from the fibre upgrade, and would allow the company to plan out where to extend the service where it would be most beneficial. Is this the future of the internet? Long term, light speed information exchange on a Google thread?
Well they’ve gone and done it. Google, has launched their newest product, Buzz. What is Buzz? Buzz is basically the same as a feed that you would get from your friends list from Twitter or Facebook, with the added bonus of not being spammed by all of those people you invited to play Mafia Wars etc.
Buzz only tracks feeds from the people you contact within Gmail, and you can even restrict the flow of information again, to send/receive only bits of information here and there if you see fit. Buzz is currently tied into Gmail, with an idea of integrating into Wave, and Latitude as well. Want to let all your friends know which Starbucks you’re at? Just fire up your Nexus phone and Buzz about it, and they’ll know that they’re across town at the wrong shop (or you are).
It’s the newest push into the social media market for the search giant, one which has some fairly deep implications in terms of optimization. It’s just one more feather to add into the cap of your marketing plan, as it rolls out over the next few days, be sure to check your public/private settings to ensure you’re “Buzzing” all of the people you want to know what you’re up to.
In the words of Brin after being asked if Buzz is to compete with Facebook:
“We look at Buzz as part of a longer-term evolution and trying to put together the best set of features and compelling elements to make this really successful, both from a technical point of view as well as from a social point of view.”
Google put it’s foot down on censoring it’s search results within China after the hack attempt on it’s mail system. A portion of the population praised the company, citing that it’s an important step within the social structure and evolution of Chinese society. While others panned the giant, using examples that they are only retreating since they couldn’t topple the local favorite engine, Baidu.
In the occurence that Google makes it’s departure, a search site going by the name “Goojje” (“big sister”) appeared to apparently appeal to Google’s (“big brother”) sense of responsibility. The sister site mimics it’s brother, using similar color and style elements; and it’s come to light that brother doesn’t like the flattery.
“Google accused Goojje of infringing on its trademark rights, saying the logo of the Chinese website could make users believe it was authorised by or linked to the US company.
In a letter sent to Goojje by Google’s lawyers, the US Internet firm demanded the Chinese site stop using the logo by Monday.”
Goojje appeared online last month after Google announced it wouldn’t stand for censorship within it’s results any longer. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but “big brother” decided that playing copy cat wasn’t fun anymore.
It’s had it’s time in the sun, and with the merger on the horizon for Yahoo with Microsoft/Bing, ComScore has let some numbers show from the past year. And while the numbers are mildly surprising, they’re not shocking at all. Introducing the up and comer, the new kid on the block; Facebook.
Facebook is well on its way to taking Yahoo’s spot as the third largest Web property in the world. Last summer Facebook took the No. 4 spot globally, displacing AOL. In December, 2009, Facebook attracted 469 million unique visitors, up an incredible 31 million visitors from the month before.
For perspective, in a single month Facebook gained as many new visitors as Yahoo did all year.
For the year (2009), Facebook grew by nearly 250 million uniques. A repeat will be difficult in 2010, but even at half that pace, and Yahoo remaining stagnant, Facebook could overpass Yahoo within a year to become the third largest site in the world. Passing Microsoft (No. 2) or Google (No. 1) in unique visitors will take a little longer.
By other measures, Facebook is already larger than both Yahoo and Microsoft. Its pageviews grew 141 percent last year, nearly double Yahoo’s (down 2 percent) and Microsoft’s (up 54 percent). Google is still the largest pageview generator on the web. With Facebook growing monthly by such leaps and bounds, it is only a matter of time before it catches Googles numbers in pageviews though.
Being the start of the year, it’s always a good idea to remember what you’ve done, what you’ve accomplished, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s also a good idea to remember and brush up on the basics, because if your foundation has no strength, what ever you build upon it will fall.
Search engine optimization, an industry born from neccesity, is as much an art, as it is a mathematical science. But just because you get the perfect ratio of keyword to text and what not, it doesn’t mean you’ll rank well in the SERPs. Google, the king of the multi-billion dollar mountain of search, basically birthed SEO and has brought it’s evolution to it’s current state. So who better to review the basics with?
We’ll go over the basics very briefly initially, and pay closer attention to some of the key points as they merit.
1) Create unique, accurate page titles
“A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is.”
2) Make use of the “description” meta tag
“A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about.”
3) Improve the structure of your URLs – Basically make your URLs easy to read.
“This can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content.”
Try your best when designing your site, to avoid URL structure like www.testsite.com/72a00065a.htm It’s non-descriptive, makes no sense to a visitor who may choose to link to your content, and can make it difficult to keep your site and pages organized.
4) Make your site easier to navigate
“The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important.”
5) Offer quality content and services – this is really in their guide, it surprised me honestly.
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here.”
6) Write better anchor text – Avoid using anchor text like click here and the like
“Anchor text is the clickable text that users will see as a result of a link, and is placed within the anchor tag. This text tells users and Google something about the page you’re linking to.”
7) Use heading tags appropriately – Six types, ranging from H1 to H6, H1 being the most important.
“Heading tags are used to present structure on the page to users.”
8) Optimize your use of images – Search engine spiders can’t see pictures the same way we do
“Images may seem like a straightforward component of your site, but you can optimize your use of them. All images can have a distinct filename and “alt” attribute, both of which you should take advantage of.”
9) Make effective use of robots.txt – Note: You need to exercise care with your robots file. You could accidentally prevent your site from being indexed properly if you’re unsure of how to configure it.
“A “robots.txt” file tells search engines whether they can access and therefore crawl parts of your site.”
10) Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links – Note: As with the robots file, if you’re unsure as to proper use of nofollow, use caution.
“Setting the value of the “rel” attribute of a link to “nofollow” will tell Google that certain links on your site shouldn’t be followed or pass your page’s reputation to the pages linked to.”
All of the above are essentially the good, solid practices that any SEO should be following. Additionally, every one of the points I’ve touched upon, is found in Google’s own search engine optimization handbook; their “starter guide”. If you happen to catch, or notice, an SEO Expert, not following one or more of the above, then how much of an expert could he really be if he can’t even follow the beginners rules?
Google has published some additional demographic data on their search numbers, and they serve to prove that Google still going very strong, as the king in search. A few of their results are as such:
Google users in the US making more than one query per day: 7 out of 10
Google users in the US making more than 10 queries per day: 1 out of 7
Average amount of time it takes a user to finish entering a query: 9 seconds
Average amount of time it takes Google to answer a query: Less than 1/4 second
Number of search quality improvements made by Google in 2009: 540, ~1.5 each day
Google result pages that show a map in search results: 1 in 13
70% of US Googlers are making searches, and of those users 14% (1 in 7) of them are making more than 10 searches a day. Taking into account the size of the US population, that’s a lot of pages being crawled per day.
Throw into the mix that within 10 seconds (average) searchers get their results, you can start to appreciate the amount of work and stress that the Google data servers go through on a day to day, minute to minute basis. The proof of all of that work, is provided as well; quality improvments made per day. 1.5 improvements per day were made to make your results come up faster, and more relevant.
Local search has always been a key point for any business wanting to seriously implement SEO into their advertising and marketing plans. Taking all of the users searching in mind (70% of US searchers), generating and receiving a search every 10 seconds or so, out of all of those searches, 8% of them (1 in 13) have a Google Map location listed. So if you have a street address, and don’t have a Google map location, just get in touch with the Freshtraffic team to help you capture this lost audience.
It’s known through out the industry, organic search engine optimization is the best return on investment (ROI) form of online advertising out there today. But it takes time for your investment to mature and generate the traffic and interest you deserve to your website. The new year has only just begun, it is time to stop being lost beind poorly optimized, poorly coded websites and for Google to introduce you to the world. Let Fresh show you the way.