Category Archives: Google

Google Guy in Winnipeg

It must be Winnipeg, Manitoba’s best kept secret having a former Google Director here in the city. While company’s struggle with the economic downturn to keep their businesses afloat, others are flourishing with there online presence. While a recession looms, online sales were at a all time high in December in Canada.

According to Forbes magazine, a Page 1 ranking with Google is the holy grail for any business.

So why then isn’t every business in Winnipeg knocking down the doors of the offices of the Google Guy here?

He has made millions of dollars online for companies worldwide, helped governments get elected and made millionaires out of one man band businesses.

What was he thinking setting up a head office in Winnipeg?

I spoke with the Ex Google Guy who sold out in 2004 to the search engine. I asked what he saw in Winnipeg to make him move here.

Opportunity he tells me and lots of it, but the people here don’t realize it yet. You have large, well-respected corporations here with very limited web presence, websites that could be monetized in abundance, all with low overheads.

So why aren’t people knocking down your door?

I think they are a little backwards when it comes to the Internet. They are stuck in there old fashion ways and traditional media, with like minded people that have no expertize apart from what they read about on forums or books. Google doesn’t tell you how it works in books or forums, that’s why there are very few REAL experts out there.

We only take one client in each niche market and we don’t advertise that much, the people that know KNOW.

Everywhere web designers, students, copy writers, guys who have been on a 3 day SEO course are jumping on the gravy train because they can see big bucks to be made. All of a sudden all these firms are experts on the Internet, but do they have the client’s best interest in mind. It’s a joke really but that’s life.

Winnipeg is the jewel in the crown. Cream always rises to the top:-)

SEO, Why is Everyone an Expert

A College internship at an interactive marketing company ended up the ticket to a promising career for one of its 22 year old students. During the internship, he learned a skill known as search engine optimization In August, he was snapped up by a public relations and advertising agency in Denver, and given the title of search engine optimization director.

This was a story in the New York Times

The birth of the Internet gave rise to jobs in areas like Web development and design. And as companies and consumers flocked to the Web, jobs in Internet marketing soon followed. Search engine optimization, part of Internet marketing, is what companies use to drive traffic to Web sites in the hope that consumers will buy a product or service, for example, or subscribe to a publication.

This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis, Why is everyone all of a sudden an SEO Expert, they read a few blogs, go on day course somewhere and all of a sudden they know all there is know about search engine optimization.

If only it was that easy,.

All the SEO’s I know personally, most are well known and documented on the web who have been doing this for the last 10 years, long before it had a name.

They all earn in excess of $1million a year, admittedly some write there own books, some write get rich marketing schemes that plays to peoples greed, are they bothered when earning $10 million a year, probably not.

The question I ask myself is this, if it was you earning this kind of money on an annual basis, would you tell everyone how it was really done?

I didn’t think so, You have your answer.

You can learn good practices by reading forums and blogs, you can read the guidelines set out by Google, Yahoo etc, learn about social media and even web designing, but I have yet to read the full story on how it is done by anybody.

The big hitters will always be the big hitters, WHY, money in the bank baby.

Without Google what would we do?

What would we do without Google?

Google’s motto to “organize the world’s information to make it universally accessible” is perhaps the one defining characteristic that we can rely on.

The fact that we can debate whether Google lives up to its other motto – “do no evil” – means that we cannot really rely on them to be virtuous.

But we can rely on them to organize the world’s information, and they’ve done that fairly well. At least, theyve done it better than anyone else. If it meant being evil to do that successfully, would be willing to live with the evil?

I think we could advance the argument that most people who consider Google the evil empire probably do so on the basis of some perceived action by Google that has been unfavorable to them or someone they know. In other words, if you operate a website and youve been de-cached or your Google AdSense account was discontinued, etc.

But Google doesnt just penalize people without cause. There is usually a violation of policy somewhere, and if there wasn’t then I’d bet my last dollar that Google would reinstate the individual to favorable status if it was brought to their attention.

That doesn’t mean the search engine hasn’t, and won’t, do evil things. It does mean that they take their mission to organize the world’s information seriously.

So I ask again, what would we do without Google? It was Google who taught us that back links count. It was Google that brought us the wholesale opportunity to advertise our businesses and choose what we are willing to pay for a lead.

It was Google that made us realize that search engine spam can be tackled at the source and while they aren’t perfect at defeating it they do a nice job.

I know that Google is constantly seeking improvement. Sometimes they fail and institute policies that backfire or that don’t work. But they are organizing the world’s information pretty well and I know that if I need to know something really important I can search Google and within minutes have that pressing question answered. Without Google, I’d be living at the library.

Not-So-Banner Year for Digital Part 3

Bring in the humans

To this point, the Web has been, by its nature, technology driven. Google is the most successful company of the Internet era thanks to its algorithm, a piece of technology adept at sorting the wheat from the chaff. Most of the leaps and bounds online have been in the realm of technology, whether it’s ad networks deciding marketing message placement by sniffing out users’ prior behavior or finely tuned measurement. Expect more advancement on those fronts, yet a greater emphasis on giving digital marketing a human face.

The algorithm is already getting a human touch with sites like Buzzfeed and Mahalo. Even Google is coming around to this notion by letting users tell it which sites are more relevant to them, a seemingly small step but one unthinkable for the engineer-driven Google just a couple years ago. New tools like Twitter will only increase the drive for people to connect with people, not just faceless entities. This will challenge marketing organizations and agencies, since humans don’t scale as easily as computers. The launch-and-forget mentality will need to give way to a 24 x 7 approach.

“There’s going to a big wake-up call for brands that the real work begins after the launch,” said David Armano, vp of experience design at digital agency Critical Mass. He sees cause marketing via social networks as a useful bridge to brands looking to infuse their mass reach ad tactics with a human touch.

Fighting Bad Press The Online Way

One of the greatest advantages of the Internet and search engines like Google is that you can find almost anything about almost anything or anyone. This is particularly true following the advent of web 2.0 technologies and increasingly sophisticated websites indexing everything from video to audio – we’ve come a long way from text rich sites with just an image or two to mix things up.

Of course, this information superhighway is also incredibly bad news if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself or your company on the wrong end of some bad press. Unlike the newspapers of yesteryear that were discarded after reading, online publications are indexed indefinitely, giving bad press an infinite shelf life

If your company is poorly represented on a site with a good PageRank, a respectable number of links and good rankings, chances are it will turn up near the top of the SERPs for searches on that company name. Not only does this mean the story will live on long after the facts may have changed, it’s also galling to discover that the old mantra of bad news selling translates equally aptly online. Say the bad press takes the form of a harsh critique of your restaurant. Upon seeing the piece, you take action and work solidly for six months to turn your eatery around. You change the menu, source new suppliers, opt for a complete revamp of the décor and hire a new head chef and sous chef. After all your hard work, you log back on and discover the bad review is still prominently positioned in a search for your business name. All because the review ran in an influential food mag or national newspaper.

How do you fight this and regain credibility? Most bad press relates to a particular service area or product, rather than attacking the entire business model. This, while unfortunate for the product being bad mouthed, is actually good news when it comes to rectifying the situation as it gives you a very specific plan of attack.

Even in SEO, the best defense is a good offense and there are several options available to you to replace the negative with the positive. The most effective way, is to focus on how the changes have been brought about and drown out the bad with good. That means developing a groundswell of support for the keyword or keywords being black balled. When attempting this, you must apply the fundamental rules of organic optimization while embracing the usefulness and grassroots potency of social media activity and multi-media content.

Research is always the first stage so ascertain which keywords trigger the bad press. Create a list so the whole set of phrases can be included in the image overhaul. This is also a good opportunity to re-assess any existing organic activity. Ask yourself if variations of these keywords such as location specific versions are now appropriate to your optimization. If you’ve grown as a company while making some fundamental changes to the business offering, chances are you will be able to add more words to the list.

The second stage is to understand why the negative press is gaining such prominent positions. Obviously if the site is well established and a respected resource, your situation isn’t helped. However, you can take advantage of their stronghold by running link reports and then sifting through the returned results. Pick out referrers with a good PageRank, domains that are particularly relevant to your own site and make a note of any social networking sites that you haven’t yet heard of or haven’t yet had the opportunity to use. This will form a fundamental part of your positivity drive.

Having developed an initial list of sites to target for linkbacks in order to negate the advantage of the bad publicity, you need to approach each of those sites and barter for a link. The most effective way to do this is to provide unique content. For newspaper sites, specialist portals and the like, why not create a press release announcing your re-launch, outlining all of the positive differences that have been made? Consider a launch party or opening night in order to get local press involved and then send out the PR to all of those sites on the original link back list. If you’re feeling brave, you can even send the piece to the author of the bad press you’re trying to sink. Invite them to come and review your product offering again, suggest a formal meeting or collaborate on a competition, pushing any newly gained sales tools such as client testimonials. The creation of new jobs if you’ve taken on new members of staff as part of the restructuring or even a great offer on the original product can pique the interest of the newshound who first slammed your offering.

With your PR campaign launched, you need to find other ways to build links and positive opinion about your brand or company. To do this, remember that the results pages of major engines like Google or no longer simply about text based content. Video, audio and images all play their part. Creating interesting and useful multi-media content makes a great addition to any traditional SEO campaign and is a useful part of the armor when driving out bad press. Create video content that is going to be of interest to others and make sure that it is easily shared. Video sharing typically takes place around sites like YouTube so incorporate this facility to get others to link back to it.

Social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, Squidoo, Sphin and Digg are all powerful tools and an extension of the content diversity you’ll need to push unfavorable listings off the front page. Any social media campaign activity should be thought of as a chance to communicate with the consumer, not sell to them. Create content specifically for this purpose, invite their feedback and provide a space for conversation and the links and client goodwill you seek will follow. This same approach can also be used for forum activity. Rather than jumping in with any excuse to link back to your site, watch first, participate second. Take time to understand the forum profile and then introduce relevant content and responses. Ask probing questions and give answers that inform and watch the links flood in. Content creation managed this way often grows organically, being picked up by blogs or industry commentators to create yet more links and more goodwill.

As with a full-on SEO campaign, attempt to turn around a poor online reputation need to be sustained if they are to succeed. If you don’t have time to dedicate yourself, consider hiring an SEO company or external consultant on a short term basis to carry out your brief

Canada's Most Googled Words – Canadians are Googling

Today the U.S. Internet titan will take the wraps off its first-ever Google Canada Zeitgeist, a yearly ranking of the most common Web queries made by Canadians through the company’s search engine.

The results are as surprising as they are curious.

The most common keyword Canadians punched into Google this year was “Facebook,” the popular social-networking site. Google’s own video-sharing site YouTube came in at No. 2, and music-loving Canucks pushed “lyrics” into the No. 3 slot. The Top 10 also contained more mundane terms such as “map” and “weather.”

Until this year, the list only included U.S. search data, but for 2008, Google is taking the Zeitgeist international for the first time by publishing the top queries from 36 countries, including Canada.

If the federal election were to be decided on the basis of which party Canadians spent the most time Googling in 2008, then prime minister Elizabeth May would be unpacking at 24 Sussex Dr.

“Obama” was the keyword that saw the greatest increase in Canadian search queries between 2007 and 2008.

But on a global basis, no search keyword showed greater growth than “Sarah Palin.”

TOP SEARCHES

1. Facebook

2. YouTube

3. Lyrics

4. Weather

5. Games

6. Google

7. Hotmail

8. Yahoo

9. Maps

10. Canada

TOP POLITICAL PARTIES

1. Green Party

2. Liberal Party

3. Conservative Party

4. NDP

5. Bloc Québécois

TOP CELEBRITIES

1. Britney Spears

2. Jessica Alba

3. Heath Ledger

4. Lindsay Lohan

5. Angelina Jolie

6. Kim Kardashian

7. Megan Fox

8. Tila Tequila

9. Zac Efron

10. Pamela Anderson

TOP PERSONAL ELECTRONICS

1. Palm Treo

2. BlackBerry

3. Sync

4. HP iPAQ

5. Slingbox

Zeitgeist Canada 2008

Canadians Google Facebook more than anything else

Canadians have Googled the social-networking site Facebook more than any other website this year.

For the first time, Internet search-engine giant Google released its most-popular and fastest-rising Canuck search queries for 2008.

Google says Britney Spears topped the list for most the sought-after celeb in Canadian cyberspace and the Green party as the most-searched political party.

The California-based company ranks the massively popular Facebook first overall.

It also says the search word “Obama” rose in popularity more than any other term between the end of 2007 and November 2008.

Yahoo! Canada released its most-searched items for 2008 earlier this month.

Yahoo! says Canadians queried the online multiplayer adventure game RuneScape more than anything else this year.

The company also says Miley Cyrus surged ahead of last year’s most-popular celebrity, Britney Spears.

Marketing Lessons from Google

1. Under-monetize to buy mindshare. (almost every category Google is in)

2. Offer a free version to make sure everyone who may want to has a chance to experience your product and/or service. (almost every category Google is in)

3. Offer something that forces people to keep coming back to your website. Alternatively, bundle your stuff into the browser. (the Google Toolbar is huge.)

4. Invest heavily in distribution deals and public relations. Keep making small changes and talking about how important they are so you stay in the media. Maintain that your success is because superior products even while you are buying marketshare.

5. If a business model competes with your model, try to guide the conversation and get market participants to attack each other to your own benefit (this, above all other reasons, is why it is not smart for “professional” SEOs to publicly endorse outing each other…nobody wins but Google).

6. Offer free or low cost versions of cash cows of competing services to distract them and/or force change upon them. (Google Docs)

7. Even when you have a market leading position, keep investing heavily in complimentary markets to reinforce your position as the default. Become ubiquitous. Become a verb. (mobile operating system)

8. When you tap out the potential of your product or service look for ways to make it deeper is select high value verticals. (onebox, universal search, site search)

9. When you have enough leverage and a large enough lead, change the market to put yourself at the center of it. (the Omnibox in Google Chrome)

Use free tools from search engines

If your site hasn’t added a Google Sitemap page, consider doing so. Google and other major search engines share a common feature that allows Webmasters to tell them about each page of their sites available for crawling and how often it changes and how important it is to the site. “You’re actually producing a page to have the search engine come to you,” he says.

Another free tool especially useful for small companies with a local clientele is Google Maps, a free local business-listing service, which displays an address, hours and description, sometimes at the top of a search-results page.

“It’s hard to pay for that kind of advertising

Google's Search Engine Optimization Guide

Welcome to Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. This document first began as an effort to help teams within Google, but we thought it’d be just as useful to webmasters that are new to the topic of search engine optimization and wish to improve their sites’ interaction with both users and search engines. Although this guide won’t tell you any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first for queries in Google (sorry!), following the best practices outlined below will make it easier for search engines to both crawl and index your content.

Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. You’re likely already familiar with many of the topics in this
guide, because they’re essential ingredients for any webpage, but you may not be making the most out of them.

Search engine optimization affects only organic search results, not paid or “sponsored” results, such as Google AdWords Full SEO Guide Here