For years, Microsoft has been struggling to chip away at Google’s dominance in the search engine market. And for years, they have been largely unsuccessful, mainly because their own search engine, Microsoft Live Search, produced unwanted and often irrelevant results.
But a few weeks ago, Microsoft released Bing, an updated version of Live Search, in their newest attempt to knock Google off its pedestal.
Although Bing is partially a rebranding of Live Search, it does include new features like instant previews of Web sites and videos.
Microsoft is so committed to Bing’s success that it will launch an astronomical $80 million to $100 million advertising campaign. That’s more than four times Google’s entire advertising budget last year.
It’s been hard to determine how Microsoft’s newcomer is stacking up against its two greatest competitors, Google and Yahoo!. According to StatCounter, one of the world’s largest Web analytics companies, Bing temporarily overtook Yahoo! in terms of market share. Currently, however, Google has 81.5 percent of the search engine market, with Yahoo! at 9.39 percent and Bing at 4.82 percent.
But one Microsoft employee, Michael Kordahi, thinks that some users might be prejudiced against Bing because of Google’s perceived brand name superiority.
He created a blind search engine that shows the search results of Google, Yahoo! and Bing in three nondescript columns. The Web site then invites users to vote for the most relevant results.
Unfortunately, the results were too erratic to name any consistent winner, prompting Kordahi to conclude that “some douche is gaming the system.”
I must confess that, as someone who has had bad experiences with Live Search, I prefer Google. Before I could adequately review the usefulness of Bing, I thought I should first experiment with the blind search engine myself.
So, in completely unscientific fashion, I typed in ten random searches – five single words and five phrases – and picked the results I thought were most valuable and applicable.
And the results were somewhat surprising: While Google crushed the competition with six votes, Bing received a surprising three votes, and Yahoo! just one vote.
It seems I find Microsoft’s search engine a fairly legitimate contender in the battle for supremacy, although Google is still the undisputed champion.
But how do Bing’s other search capabilities like News and Maps compare against Google’s?
Well, I certainly found that the Bing homepage looks pretty. The search bar is superimposed on a beautiful panoramic stock photo that changes every day. Each picture is embedded with invisible squares about the picture that users can click on for more information.
But while this design is certainly unique, Bing’s hide-and-go-seek feature is basically self-promotion masquerading as helpful innovation.
Each square merely redirects users to a search through Bing. For example, clicking on “Learn more about Flag Day” directs the user to a Bing search of “Flag Day.”
But Bing does have some helpful, interesting features.
Unlike Google, Bing’s image search displays the results in one giant scrollable window, thereby eliminating the annoying need to click on multiple pages. And Bing Cashback offers buyers to receive a small percentage back of payments they have made on participating Web sites.
These are Bing’s best features, however, and ultimately Bing still plays second fiddle.
Bing News lacks all the customizability, readability and wealth of information that exists in Google News. Bing only features 14 translatable languages to Google’s 41.
And while Bing Maps is speckled with aesthetically pleasing mountains and forests, it cannot easily display directions and locations like Google Maps.
We must remember, though, while developers have made significant blunders along the way, Bing is still being improved.
They failed to realize, for example, that Bing can mean “sickness” in Chinese (the nationality of Bing’s biggest audience), prompted a name change to “Biying,” meaning “must respond,” which Microsoft is coyly marketing as a “decision engine.”
And they received criticism when Bing’s filtering mechanism could not adequately block porn in its parental settings, which was quickly rectified when the company consulted 25 security vendors for assistance.
Microsoft is certainly improving its image as a legitimate search engine competitor. But the company needs much more innovative firepower before successfully waging war against the Google Empire.
A smart entrepreneur knows to stay connected. Twitter, a micro-blogging tool, enables you to immerse yourself in your industry, develop your company’s brand, and relate to your customers. With 14 million people on Twitter (and more joining daily), if you’re an entrepreneur and not participating, the only question is: why not?
Is Twitter just a techies facebook?
An ex-AOL executive has launched a new online news delivery system in America which hopes to capitalise on the changing trend from traditional print advertising to online advertising.
Advertising spend in traditional media has been on a downward trend for a while now, whereas internet advertising has been a lone bastion of growth in an otherwise declining industry. Newspapers, journals and magazines in particular, the “print” collective, have suffered more than television and radio in terms of incoming advertising revenue.
As traditional journalism fades, the logical step is to move to online journalism and capture advertising space to compliment news articles online. Lewis Dvorkin, a previous writer for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal has formed True/Slant along with former colleagues from AOL News.
True/Slant officially launched some eight weeks ago in April but entered beta testing phase earlier today. The site is a mix of blogs and industry news generation, bringing together professional journalists from the BBC, Boston Globe, New York Times, CNN and other news services to contribute articles.
Adverts run alongside the articles, and contributors are either paid a stipend or a share of the online advertising revenue generated from the article. Mr Dvorkin’s vision is to create the newsroom of the future: “What we’re trying to do is combine traditional standards and values and standards of traditional media with dynamics of the web,” Mr Dvorkin told the Financial Times.
The project was given a $3 million financial backing from Forbes and Fuse Capital. True/Slant hopes to be at the forefront of news delivery online, enabling the internet community to “efficiently find relevant and interesting news culled by contributors they respect.”
A new report from CNN International has found that consumers respond best to multi-platform advertising which combine the best of traditional and online advertising.
Cross-platform advertising offers marketers the best of both worlds, combing the conventional clout of television with the effervescent buzz of digital media online. The most effective advertising campaigns according to CNN are those that can yoke the strength from both platforms to encourage people to buy into the brand.
CNN’s Cross-platform Advertising Study on Effectiveness and Engagement (CASE) involved a dual monitoring of market penetration through a comprehensive online survey and biometric assessments. Candidates were asked to wear a “smart vest” to monitor their heart rate, respiratory rate and body movement during a television screening.
The report showed a high cross over between the two media platforms. Adverts with a call to action have enjoyed success by promoting a teaser on television with a follow up advertisement online.
The results from the scientific investigation found that advertising breaks increased engagement in viewers by up to 10 per cent. Contrary to popular belief, consumers do not switch off during when their programmes are interrupted by advertisements. The study also introduced eye-tracking technology which found that viewers responded well to video content on websites, taking between 66 to 80 per cent of their attention.
According to CNN International’s senior vice president of research, Didier Mormesse, with a combined TV and online advertising approach: “an advertiser can markedly increase campaign recall, leading to positive shift in brand attitudes,” reported bizcommunity.com.
Television adverts in isolation had a 20 per cent chance of being recalled by viewers, but with the addition of internet advertising or mobile marketing, this figure rose to 33 per cent.
The imminent death of SEO has been a hot topic amongst SEO professionals for quite some time now. Some SEO professionals worry that their careers are in jeopardy since search engines are continually making improvements to their technologies. Search engines are in the process of completely revamping their ranking strategies to fight spammers and improve user experience. For example, Google is currently improving intent and behavior-based search in order to provide more relevant search results. So what does this all mean for the future of SEO? Is the death of SEO an inevitable outcome of the advancement of search engines?
People have been predicting the end of SEO since the very beginning. While it’s certain that things on the SEO front are always changing and that search engines are getting smarter, SEOs will continually adapt to these changes just as they have in the past. As long as search engines list websites without requiring the websites to pay a fee, SEO will exist.
Google’s Improvements and What They Mean for the Future of SEO
In the quest to fight spam and improve user experience, Google is in the process of implementing a series of changes in behavior and intent-based search. Every person who conducts a search for a particular term will have different results based on their location and search history. As a result of these changes, search engine optimization have to switch from only targeting keywords to focus more on increasing traffic and conversions. A possibility is that link building will become far less important in the future of SEO because Google will determine the value of a website based on how visitors engage with it. The ultimate goal of websites will be to provide compelling content that entices visitors to read, share, bookmark, and so on.
Social input through voting is another feature that search engines are tinkering with in order to provide user-controlled rankings. Search engine users might have the chance to vote for sites they like and sites will get ranked based on such votes. The model will be similar what’s seen on social voting sites like Digg and Reddit. Of course, search engines will have to find a way to ensure that votes are made naturally in order to prevent black hat SEOs from fooling the search engine bots.
Google and other search engines are raising the bar in SEO. Initially, this will make it harder for SEO professionals to do their job but the end result is positive. Spammers and black hat SEOs will have more difficulty succeeding in their unscrupulous efforts and search engine users will be provided with content that is more relevant.
Humans, Not Machines
As always, the aim of webmasters and SEO professionals should be to appeal to humans. People spend so much time trying to trick the search engines that they forget who they are ultimately serving: people! Your site should be optimized but your priority should always be to fulfill needs and provide solutions. Considering the direction that SEO is going, human actions and behavior will ultimately determine rankings. Your SEO success depends on your ability to engage people through great content and social media marketing
Its official according to Google, Canada’s Coolest Company is Fresh Traffic in Winnipeg, the search marketing and web optimization firm who’s CEO came to Winnipeg in August 2007 to search the potential of setting up office.
Now settled in the Canwest Building on Portage Avenue Winnipeg, Fresh have started to be an integral part of business life in the Manitoba province.
Other accolades this year included being voted top SEO company by search magazine twice and the staff at Fresh Traffic recently came out on top as Guitar Hero wizards at tenant appreciation day played on the 470 sg ft courtyard TV screen.
How Can a Domain Help Attract Free Traffic?
If you want to be found on the search engines by local people searching by city and industry trade, example here for Winnipeg, www.WinnipegYourTrade.ca as we call it, then a Winnipeg Domain could help.
A couple of examples of www.WinnipegYourTrade.ca would be
Today’s competitive online marketplace makes it increasingly difficult to be found by people searching for information. Investing in a quality keyword name is an effective and long lasting marketing strategy.
Meaningful keyword names are easy to remember and can give you a great marketing edge. They help produce a regular flow of potential customers to your site. This makes your marketing efforts less expensive and more efficient.
Most “Web Traffic” experts will tell you a successful search engine strategy should include a web address that contains the keywords or phrase that people use to find your product or service. Your web address should be relevant to your website content and descriptive of your business or industry. Search engines get smarter every day and many prefer websites that display total relevance. There are many other things you’ll need to do to optimize your website, but every bit helps.
Make Your Web Address Sell for You
I was browsing one of the internet marketing forums the other day, and stumbled on a thread titled “What happened to the 4 pillars of Internet Marketing?”.
For those of you who don’t know what the 4 original pillars of internet marketing are, here’s a quick recap:
1. Product. Product is very important, I mean, that is what you are selling, right?
2. Price. 95% of all the selling propositions are being turned down because of the price. Probably this is the reason 1$ trials work so well.
3. Promotion. Traffic, Copywriting, PPC and basically anything related to generating traffic and driving leads.
4. Place. You can’t go to a synagogue and try to sell pork chops. I mean, you can, but…Trust me, you don’t want to. *Hint: big rocks and your head.
Those are the 4 pillars of internet marketing, according to the old school Gurus. However, world is rapidly changing, and we must keep up with it.
Those pillars no longer apply when it comes down to 21st century’s internet marketing industry. They probably still do when selling tea or rice, but when it comes to sophisticated customers who shop online, nahah! Different approach is required!
After taking a cold hard look at the internet marketing industry today as we know it, I have created a new internet marketing pillar blueprint. I am not saying this is going to go global right away, but I do believe it what is needed to be done, if you want to build a profitable internet marketing business.
1. Traffic. You can say it goes under promotion, but Traffic is not about promotion anymore. Today, when the customer gets destructed so easily, traffic has became more about grabbing attention. If you know how to grab person’s attention when he is surfing the web, you got traffic!
2. Conversion. Internet Marketing is all about conversions, are you kidding me? Capture pages, click through rates, bounce rates etc. Everything is needed to be tested, modified, customized and tested some more!
3. Growth. Growth applies to you, the person behind the product. The only way you can be providing more value and getting more sales is by growing. Not in height, but in mind. Growing your knowledge base and raising your personal value through the roof.
4. Content. This is actually an inevitable byproduct of growth. Providing quality content is what is going to separate you from the spammers, self promoters and uneducated newbies who have no clue how to market online.
This is my personal view on the 4 new age pillars of internet marketing. You can support me, or you can dispute me, the choice is yours and comments are welcomed, however, remember that marketing isn’t about you or your product going viral, it is always about the consumer.
I’m not sure why some Winnipeg companies are frightened of the Internet over traditional media. They are clinging to an old business model. Some of these traditional media have come to monopolistically control everything, and thereby get 100% of the profits.
They don’t look to the future, they look to the past. They don’t embrace change, they fight it.
With the net the public have the power to obtain what they want, when they demand it, and most importantly the power to choose what they want without buying the full package.
Winnipeg change is HERE
Winnipeg based Fresh Traffic Group – one of the worlds leading Internet Search Marketing companies – today announce that they have acquired two Canadian web companies – Betop Internet Marketing and Red River web design – to operate under the Fresh Traffic umbrella.
Jerry Booth CEO of Fresh Traffic says “Having in house graphic and web designers can only help further the services already offered by Fresh. We can now build websites for our clients using all the good practices usually missed by other web design companies, that together with award winning search engine optimization and Internet marketing, will make for a very strong end product.”
The company started to relocate their headquarters to Winnipeg in September 08 with the goal of having the US & EEC offices acting as satellites. The latest acquisitions will only strengthen the Winnipeg, Canada link.