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The End of Yahoo Search

Posted by admin on August 26th, 2010

Having waited months for the final OK, Yahoo’s search platform is now officially powered by Bing. Testing of the integration was ongoing for the last several months and search users saw results very similar to Bing’s. Some search results still vary on Yahoo because they still add their own little touches to the search listings but for the most part, users will be seeing the same results.

For Bing, however, there are some changes to the way search results are listed depending on the term being searched. For instance, doing a search for “safes” on Bing will yield a page consisting of several “sections” of search result listings where users can find relevant information on more specific information related to safes. There is a news section, a buyers guide section, and a fireproof safes section.

So, what does this mean for search going forward?

First, when users perform a search on Google, Yahoo and Bing, they’re going to see two sets of results primarily. There is less variety for top 10 listings to see and users will have to click on the next button for more. It was good while it lasted to see different results and see how each ranked sites in their index. This creates a more competitive environment where the big 3 would do their own thing to bring innovation to the search marketplace. Now, we have less competition and I believe ultimately, less innovation going forward.

Second, the Bing-Yahoo deal sets up a showdown between Google and Bing for search market share. Google is by far ahead of Bing and Yahoo but things can change if Microsoft makes the right moves. With the growing use of mobile search, Microsoft could take advantage of it by negotiating its search engine use on mobile phones with cell phone providers and major handset manufacturers such as Apple’s iPhone. If the default search engine was switched from Google (as is the case in many of the handsets now) to Bing, we could see more Bing converts in time to come if Microsoft manages to pull it off. At the present moment, Bing is added as one of the 3 major search engines offered. According to Chitika, that amounts to about 50% of mobile search.

Why is this significant? While mobile search is small at the moment, mobile search is gaining rapidly and is set to dominate in 5 years according to a research report by investment firm Morgan Stanley:

…we’re “now in the early innings” of mobile Internet development, which is growing faster than previous tech cycles, including the evolution of the desktop PC.

Third, for search engine optimization experts, the fewer the search engines, the less variety of major factors we have to focus on in order to rank well. That doesn’t make the job any easier since there is a smaller margin for any error especially on guaranteed SEO programs which we offer to select clients. Some of our clients have in fact experienced an increased level of web traffic because of better overall rankings on Bing as compared to Yahoo previously. Since our SEO strategies are diverse in nature and intended to deliver balanced top 10 rankings across the 3 major search engines, this switch worked out really well for our clients with many of them dominating Google, Yahoo and Bing at present for their industry related keyword phrases. In a later installment, I’ll offer some juicy details on what it takes to rank well for Google and Bing search so stay tuned.

Social Media and Your Company Brand

Posted by admin on March 9th, 2010

Recently, there has been much buzz surrounding the Toyota debacle where Toyota car owners are complaining about brake problems and sudden acceleration issues with several of the car manufacturers most popular models like Camry, Tacoma, Tundra and Prius. Even their Lexus brand is involved. As a result, a number of people died in accidents traced to sticky accelerators and braking problems which plague their cars for the last two years.

The grandson of the founder who took the top post last year, Mr Akio Toyoda, conceded to an appearance in front of a Congressional panel to explain the situation. Besides the expected apology to their biggest car market, the session basically outlined some improvements and changes they’ll be making in the next year to correct these quality control issues.

It all began as a supposed floormat problem last year which escalated to a global recall of many of their cars and a potential electronics defect in their cars. Now, recalls by themselves are common and no manufacturer is immune to them. Pressures to cut costs (corners) and the drive to sell more cars lead to problems down the road for many of these manufacturers. In most cases, the public has a short term memory and the problem is forgotten a year or two later. Cases such as the Ford Pinto ended up costing the company much more than the internally calculated $50 million. The reputation damage and cost is estimated to top $121 million once the Pinto memo was made known.

In the last few years, however, the landscape of business has changed dramatically. With the advent of current social media titans Twitter and Facebook, companies have to learn how to manage their reputations quickly and effectively. Just a simple press release or televised appearance is no longer enough to contain bad publicity. In Toyota’s case, it isn’t even the largest recall in history. Yes, the recalls sparked a brushfire that spread quickly online and the damage to Toyota’s reputation for quality cars is expected to be felt for many years to come.

According to CNBC, Toyota didn’t stand a chance to salvage their reputation on Twitter:

Anyone with access to the Internet is now a micro-Nader, an antlike information-gathering-and-broadcasting agent who can contribute his experiences and interpretations to the data stream. This is why the Toyota recall has achieved brushfire velocity and stunned a company that, just two months ago, was literally on top of the world, with the most loyal customer base arguably ever assembled by a carmaker. With the monster recalls of the past, it was as if a manufacturer had been hit by a heavyweight punch… For Toyota in 2009, it was very, very different. This time, it wasn’t the big blow. It was death by a million tweets.

Just maintaining their Toyota Twitter account wasn’t enough. They needed to respond quickly and assign an experienced full-time staff with tact and in-depth company knowledge just for damage control. The slow response just made things worse and preparing themselves before it spread like wildfire could have saved them hundreds of millions instead of a few million.

Social media is here to stay and as a business, companies need to realize their reputation can quickly be marred by a small incident and their company perceptions tainted for years. With our social media marketing service, you take the first step to protecting yourself. We help maintain your social media accounts and keep them updated. We track what’s going online and keep you informed of any potential reputation issues so you can quickly respond to them. No longer can you ignore this important facet of online marketing.

Researching Keyword Phrase Demographics

Posted by admin on August 27th, 2008

According to the Microsoft AdCenter blog, they’ve updated their Demographic keyword research tool to better find keywords and plan campaigns. For example, knowing what percentage of searchers using a particular keyword phrase will help to determine whether ranking in MSN Live search is worthwhile since the search users in that engine leans towards women.

This tool coupled with the Audience Intelligence tool which gives you an idea of the commercial value of a phrase are excellent keyword research tools for SEOs and PPC marketers alike. Using the Audience Intelligence tool with the query setting, enter a keyword phrase. The closer the number to one reflects the propensity of the web searcher to make a purchase. A phrase over 0.5 tends to be a more commercial keyword. This helps to eliminate wasted marketing dollars in PPC and SEO for keyword phrases unlikely to convert to sales.

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