SMX Advanced 2012: Surviving Personalization with Google & Bing

Live Blogging SMX Advanced 2012: Surviving Personalization with Google & Bing

SMX Advanced 2012 (Seattle)
SMX Advanced 2012 (Seattle)

First up is Marty @aimclear

Brand Identity Feed

The SEO stuff doesn’t have to do with SEO

Offering strong incentive for existing community classic social advertising and PR hooks: product updates, deals, offers, commercial plays, hr news, etc…

It’s not about fancy SEO changes

Use classic feed marketing tactics

Alltop – go to Alltop and find your site and reach your users

Internal relations: start by wiring up internal stakeholders

Get to know the media: bloggers, tv journalists, publishers, newspapers, radio jocks, circle subscriptions as seo targets

Run facebook ads to people who are in your niche

Customer service: intersection of commerce and seo

The best SEO is a product that doesn’t suck

Celebrate community: where your business lives

Sync with publication calendar

Blog headlines and serial concepts – then returned to aimclear with client feedback

AJ Kohn has written about optimizing Google+

More aggressive participation
– set community based KPIs
– Active participation to serve and delight
– Research and proactively engage users
– social ads to build circles
– give, give, give, give, give
– network w/ competitors’ community

@aaronfriedman from Spark

Buy ads on Facebook

Don’t plagiarize

Don’t neglect your network

Don’t use generic images

Be creative.

Be useful and helpful.

Tactics

  • Twitter longtail suggestion
  • opengraph optimization
  • “tweet what you want” code

tweet the longtail. First, find the keywords. Second, look at the social data (socialmention). Next, develop content. Have a list of users for outreach. Grow your network.

OpenGraph Optimization. Sample of 300 webpages. The OG meta tags content is sometimes empty.

OG titles: 95 characters

OG desc: 297 characters

Put some code in your twitter button: p class “tweetThis” – change you message the next day

Engines are more social – THE RISE OF ENTITY SEARCH

Engines are creating a new database, a non-text database

It’s about understanding concepts through words

verbs, action attribution, frictionless sharing

Entities are the sections in the SERPs

Be excellent to eachother and relevant for what you want to be known for.

The future of entity search is interest-based demographics

What I tell you I am interested in defines me

Social data is your attributes

Klout and Peerindex and mentionmapp are already defining you based on your interest and influence

For now:

Focus on rel-author
– This will play a huge role in entities

Focus on quality content
– Develop according to what users are looking for

Spend time growing your userbase

Next up is @rhea CEO at Outspoken Media, Inc

The future of search is personalization.

The business case for personalization.

Google Personalization methods Oct. 2006 seobythesea.com

Google Now personalizes everyone’s search results Dec. 2009 by Danny on SELand

Factors:

  • Location
  • Search History
  • Social Search

Check out google.com/history to see your search history

Google allows you to connect accounts. And they crawl that profile and they start to see the network.

How does google track your friends?

– GMail
– Interactions you have with other people on google products
– Connected accounts
– Links
– Friends on other sites who connect to you

2 primary signals to identify you:

– similarities between your accounts and profiles
– similatiries between your connections

Creepy!

PostRank, now Social Reporting in Google Analytics

– Conversions
– Sources
– Sharing

Measure personalization in GA

Rhea shows 41% of OM traffic is signed into Gmail

Amit Singhal: secure search was the key to personalized results

Rhea thinks ‘not provided’ would let us deconstruct personalization, and it would be much easier to game

Google doesn’t want to take over Facebook, they want to enhance search with the search graph

The BIGGEST LIST OF TACTICS!

Write geo-targeted content (location specific organic keywords)

Use schema.org markup language (Schema informs freebase, which then is used by Knowledge Graph)

Offline networking to build relationships

Identify networks where if you get in a car wreck, you probably also need a chiropractor, a mechanic, etc…

Make your site mobile friendly.

Targeting for multiple languages.

Local search.

Write great relevant content.

Submit data through Freebase.

Setup authorship – it improves clickthrough.

Brand thought leaders.

Publish content often.

If you are not on facebook publishing content, you are a dumbass.

Create community account logins. Let people login on your site through Facebook.

Use gmail for login.

Use events to drive queries.

Create and post to Google+ page

Setup Google+ Direct Connect

Increase your Google+ followers

Use LinkedIn to identify your network

Use facebook login for comments

Create long and short tail content (check out hubspot for resources)

Engage community like SEOmoz — threaded comments, vote on comments (ego bait)

Q&A

Marty,with personalization, do you still use rank checking tools? – Nope.

What are your thoughts about buying personalization? It sounds really shady.

 

Lack of Available Google Profile Usernames & Custom URLs

I was not able to get myrealname@gmail.com. Yeah. I know. Cue the violins. It’s such a tragedy. It was probably because I didn’t get a beta invite to Gmail, and someone beat me to the punch. Whatever. I’m over it. Kind of. But I always knew that not getting my name as a Gmail username would come back to haunt me in more ways than one. So let’s talk about Google Profiles and custom URLs.

If you have a Google account, you are eligible to create a Google Profile. I have several Google profiles: a few for myself and many more for clients. Your Google Profile is associated with your email address, so you can have a Google Profile that associated with your Gmail address or some other email address. It does not have to be a gmail.com address. Let’s take a look at the 2 scenarios:

  1. Your profile is associated with a non-Gmail email address.
    Google Profile URL: Custom URL (non-Gmail Account)
    Google Profile URL: Custom URL (non-Gmail Account)

    If you have a Google account that is associated with a yahoo.com, hotmail.com or some other domain, you have an advantage: you can actually pick a custom URL for your Google Profile. You are actually presented a box where you can type in your custom URL. Just fill in the blank with your username: www.google.com/profiles/_________.

    That’s pretty cool, right? Well it is until you realize that pretty much every possible username is unavailable. This is because you cannot get a username that someone already has for their Gmail account. For example, let’s say some already has imabadass@gmail.com (and they do, btw). If that is true, then you will not be able to get google.com/profiles/imabadass for your custom URL. And because Google does not recycle email addresses, it doesn’t even have to be a current email address username. If that username has ever been used, you are outta luck.

    The bottom line: Using a non-Gmail email address will allow you the option of creating your own custom URL username. Good luck finding one that is available!

  2. Your profile is associated with Gmail address

    Google Profile URL: Custom URL for Your SEO Sucks!
    Google Profile URL: Custom URL for Your SEO Sucks!
  3. As you can see, with this option you are only given 2 choices. You can use your Gmail username, or you can use some string of predetermined numbers. Obviously, this is a great option if you have an awesome Google/Gmail username. If you take this route, email spammers will be able to easily deduce your Gmail address. If you don’t want your email address spammed to hell over, I recommend using the string of numbers. However, that is damn near impossible to brand (if that is your goal).

So there you have it. I wish you the best of luck with your Google profile custom URL. And don’t forget that it’s probably twice as bad over at Yahoo and MSN when you try to set up those profiles.

Yahoo Paid Inclusion, Search Submit Pro (SSP) Discontinued Effective Dec. 31, 2009

I just got word that Yahoo’s paid inclusion program Search Submit Pro (aka Yahoo SSP) is being discontinued effective December 31, 2009. Everyone has been wondering if Yahoo and Bing would keep Paid Inclusion (Search Submit Pro) up and running after the Yahoo/MSN deal. But it looks like now the verdict is in. Paid Inclusion and Yahoo SSP will be discontinued. Bro hymn for Yahoo SSP. You were a great soldier in the new millennium, and you were the last Paid Inclusion program to fall. Damn.

The impact of this decision will obviously have massive implications in the world of search. There are a lot of websites out there that rely on Yahoo SSP as a source of traffic, revenue and brand exposure. And there are also a ton of marketers who rely on Yahoo Search Submit Pro as a search marketing tool for their clients. Furthermore, Yahoo SSP may not be a huge revenue stream for Yahoo (maybe it’s $100M per year?), but I am still very surprised by the decision to discontinue the program. After all, it’s an effective program that drives millions of dollars every year. Maybe they had to discontinue Yahoo SSP in order to get the Yahoo/MSN deal completed. I’m sure more official blogs/sources will have more official details very soon.

So long, Yahoo SSP. You were a dear friend to the interwebs, and we’ll miss you dearly.

Update 1 (10/14/2009): I wish I could give you a source or a link or something, but I can provide nothing to confirm this post. But believe me, Yahoo’s paid inclusion program is about to go bye-bye. Today I’ve seen people tweeting about it, so I’m sure the details will emerge soon enough. But for now, my lack of proof makes this seem like a rumor. Take it or leave it. I’ll post links once the official story breaks.

Update 2 (10/15/2009): It appears David Lewis got the call from Yahoo, too.

Update 3 (10/16/2009): Barry Schwartz has an official post about Yahoo Paid Inclusion being discontinued. Jump over to SearchEngineLand.com to see it.

The SEO Impact of the Microsoft Bing Yahoo Search Merger

As you have all heard, Yahoo gave up today. Epic give up. Danny Sullivan wrote a great eulogy over at Search Engine Land, and Jason Calacanis said, “Yahoo committed seppuku today.” And over at TechCrunch, “Today, Yahoo died as a search engine.” To make it more depressing – I have already seen name mashups like YooBing, BingYoo, YaBing, Bingoo, BingYah, MicroHoo, BingYa, etc…

I’ve got to admit: Today, I actually teared up a little. I remember surfing Yahoo in 1995, looking for Cliffs Notes for Grendel. Yahoo was the only place to go. I mean, search is a space that Yahoo created! WTF are they doing by throwing in the towel? Yahoo had 20% market share in search. What were they thinking? Obviously, this deal benefits Microsoft more than it benefits Yahoo. So sad…

How about the SEO impacts of the merger of Yahoo and Microsoft Bing? There are a few that come to mind:

  • Will the link: and linkdomain: search operators continue to work on the new Yahoo?
    A few years ago, MSN disabled the link: and linkdomain: search operators at msn.com. This was an important day because you could no longer check MSN’s database stats for inbound links for a site. It came back about a year later, and then went away again. If you haven’t noticed, Google’s link: operator sucks. Google doesn’t want you to know all the links for a site, so the link: command on Google always returns an extremely low, inaccurate number of inbound links. Those bastards! But if you have a WebmasterCentral account for your site(s), you can see some more actual/honest inbound link data. With MSN and Google not providing any worthwhile backlink data, we have been forced to use Yahoo’s linkdomain: operator. Yahoo’s backlink data is much more honest and accurate. For the most part, checking back links is great for 2 purposes: 1) checking your own site(s) backlinks quantity and 2) checking your competitors’ backlinks. If Yahoo uses MSN’s search algorithm and the linkdomain: operator is disabled, it’s going to be really tough to check your competitors’ backlink growth. Furthermore, it will be tough to tell if they are buying links. I’m not into reporting people for buying links, but if you are, you may want to invest in some new backlink tool.
  • What happens to the Yahoo Search Directory?
    This one is interesting. As the Yahoo Directory (dir.yahoo.com) is a money-maker, I can’t imagine Yahoo or Microsoft getting rid of it. However, you may recall that MSN once had a Small Business Directory (archive view) at sbd.bcentral.com. There were thousands of sites in that directory. Now that site redirects to the MS OfficeLive website. If MSN got rid of their own directory, what might they do with the Yahoo Directory? It’s a good question. In terms of link authority and trust, the Yahoo Directory is the #2 directory behind DMOZ. But unlike DMOZ, you can pay $299 per year to be in the the Yahoo Directory. It’s a highly-respected directory, and unlike DMOZ, you won’t have to waits months on end with no answer. As long as you have a good site, you can get into the Yahoo Directory for $299 per year. But if the Yahoo Directory is discontinued….holy crap. That is a lot of link juice that will just evaporate. A lot of sites will lose quality historical links. Maybe it will shake things up a bit. Maybe not. Either way, you may want to make sure your sites find their way into other trusted directories, like business.com and botw.org.
  • What happens to Yahoo’s feeds programs, such as Paid Inclusion and SSP?
    Yahoo’s Paid Inclusion and Search Submit Pro (SSP) programs are crucial traffic and revenue sources for many search agencies and online retailers. It’s a huge business, and without it, many online retailers would see massive drops in revenue. Essentially, these programs allow you to pay for organic rankings in Yahoo on a pay-per-click basis. You may not know this, but for several years, MSN used Google and  Yahoo for its search. It wasn’t until LiveSearch launched that MSN actually broke away from Yahoo and Google. During the time MSN was using Yahoo for its search platform, Yahoo feeds were showing up in MSN results. But when LiveSearch launched on 9/11/2006, MSN no longer had a feeds program. They didn’t use one for LiveSearch, and there is currently no feeds program for Bing. As Yahoo’s Paid Inclusion and SSP programs are critical components for agencies and retailers alike, it should be a no-brainer to keep the programs active as part of the Microsoft search platform. But I guess we’ll have to see what happens.

    Update: Yahoo Search Submit Pro (SSP) Discontinued Effective Dec. 31, 2009

  • What happens to Yahoo channels such as Yahoo Shopping and Yahoo Travel?
    This is really just an extension to the previous question, but these are huge sources of traffic. Be sure to keep an eye on what happens with these channels. Yahoo Shopping is HUGE. I mean HUGE!!!! I can’t imagine anything happening to it. I can’t even imagine them merging it with Bing Shopping or Bing Cashback. That would be stupid.
  • One less searchbot crawling the internet
    We’ll miss you, Yahoo Slurpbot. You traveled long. You traveled far. You did your job without complaining once. You were a true soldier. RIP, Slurpbot.
  • Rank checkers will have one less engine to check
    Whereas you were probably checking Google, Yahoo and Bing for rankings, now you’ll just have to run your keyword lists across Google and Bing. And honestly, some website owners might be happy with the results, as many sites rank much better in Bing than in Yahoo.
  • Ask.com quietly moves into position as the #3 search engine
    Ha! I still miss Jeeves. He was a trooper. But also be aware that LBi Netrank has some data showing that Ask.com is (sometimes) scraping Google for search results. Are we losing Yahoo and Ask?!?!?!
  • Optimizing for Google and Bing at the same time
    It kinda sucks, but SEOs get accused of only optimizing for Google. It happens all the time, and all we have to do is point to the fact that Google has a 70% market share (and depending on the vertical, it’s sometimes higher). And then clients remind us that Yahoo has 20% and Microsoft Bing has 8%. At that point, we continue to point at Google’s 70% market share. But now, according to comScore, Yahoo’s 20% will combine with Bing’s 8% market share to combine for 28% of the market share. 28% market share is nothing to sneeze at, so we have to focus on both Google and Bing. While Google and Bing both respond to strategic SEO methods, it is worthwhile to note that Google gives more weight to links and Bing gives more weight to a site’s domain name (i.e. You’d better have keywords in your domain name & URL!). In my experience, Google and Bing are a lot closer in terms of how they value traditional SEO methods. Keywords in the title tag, keywords in the domain, organized site structure, updated content with decent keyword density, optimized internal links, inbound link growth – both engines reward these methods, as they are the basic building blocks of an SEO campaign. And while these are common signals for all 3 engines, my experience leads me to believe that Google and Bing reward these methods more quickly and predictably. Furthermore, seeing how Bing is pulling in more content into its search results pages, you may want to pay more attention to how your content is optimized and arranged on your site’s pages.

Well, that’s all for today. We’ll miss you, Yahoo. I’m still upset. I hope you find happiness. I know we can be friends again some day in the future, but please don’t call me now. I need some time to get over you.

Update:

  • John Battelle: Questions on the Yahoo Bing Deal (link)
  • SEOmoz: Top 10 Things the Microsoft/Yahoo! Deal Changes for SEO (link)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Admits to Wanting Do-Over on Search

There is an awesome post over at TG Daily (link). At the Executives Club Chicago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked a question that had everyone on the edge of their seats: “If you could have one do-over, what would it be?”

I would probably say I would start sooner on search,” Ballmer stated to the crowd. Ballmer stressed that the company knew of search the research and effort had been put in, they weren’t sure of the market and that they had no business model. It just wasn’t there. The company lacked in an application for their findings.

Wow. I’m amazed at his honesty. However, I completely agree. I also like how he referred to Bing.com as “the little engine that could.” FYI: Microsoft is marketing Bing.com as a decision engine, not a search engine.

Like a Fat Kid Playing Halfback in Soccer, Bing.com Tries Really Hard to Keep Up

Tom Smykowski: It's a Jump To Conclusions Mat
Tom Smykowski: It's a Jump To Conclusions Mat

Bing.com, the new search engine from Microsoft, launched last week. And at the end of the week everybody was jumping to conclusions about Bing overtaking Yahoo as the #2 ranked search engine in the world. And that would have been pretty cool. I guess. Everyone in the SEO world would love to see Microsoft have a great product. And maybe it would have been cool if just for one week, Bing.com could have jumped over Yahoo. It would have proven that you can throw out a new product and a lot of marketing and have a tremendous opening. But alas, Danny Sullivan is reporting that it wasn’t a Cinderella story after all.

Like many other search marketers, I was waiting for Nielson, comScore, Compete and Hitwise to weigh in with Bing vs. Yahoo data. Please check out Danny’s post at searchengineland.com for more detail. But here’s the message:

What these data collectively show — and we’ll update if/when we get more — is that Bing has received a potentially significant traffic bump compared to Live Search/MSN since launch and rollout of the marketing campaign on TV and online. However Bing has (so far) not surpassed Yahoo for the number two spot.

Well, good luck, Bing! And on a side note, maybe you could answer the claim that Bing.com is switching title tags with search queries to increase clickthru (here). I mean, that would be crazy. Replacing the title tag from a page with the exact search query – only to increase clickthru? Well, that is definitely grey area. It makes me kinda happy in a way, but my clients are not going to like it. Just sayin’ is all…

Also, remember that scene from Groundhog Day, where Ned Ryerson yells “Bing!” about 100 times in 60 seconds? Why isn’t Microsoft using that video as the official marketing video for Bing.com? It could have gone viral. Just ask Rand. He’d agree. Well, probably not. But I seriously would not be surprised if this scene from Groundhog Day did not play a role in naming the new Microsoft search engine. I mean, everyone loves Ned Ryerson. Why not use his quote as the name for a search engine? Check out the video and see for yourself: