Twitter Wins the US Election By a Landslide

Despite the final vote tally, Twitter was the clear winner of the 2012 US Presidential election.

No matter what your political bias, the Twitter feed for the past 24 hours has captured the highest and lowest points, the heckling, the gags, the tantrums and the vote count. Once again, Twitter was the place to be to get the most up to date vote tally as State by State fell to each of the candidates. With news agencies reporting inconsistent or biased results, confused voters turned to Twitter to get faster updates via the hashtags #Election2012, #USElection and #USAElection.

According to Twitter staff, election conversation saw Twitter reach a peak of 327,452 Tweets per minute this evening, with not a single Fail Whale in sight – something Twitter staff were extremely proud of.  The company has clearly improved on their server load contingency plan since the last election.

And just as well too, because newly re-elected President Obama (@BarackObama) chose Twitter as the medium for his first acknowledgements of victory:

President Obama claims victory on Twitter

More than half a million people retweeted President Obama’s victorious “Four More Years” photo tweet.

Four More Years for Obama

However, not everyone was happy with the election outcome. Outspoken Republican Donald Trump (@realdonaldtrump) surprised everyone with his vitriolic, bizarre and seemingly unpatriotic stream of tweets immediately following Obama’s victory:

Trump Tantrum

Possibly the most amusing point about this epic tantrum was Trump’s incorrect assumption that Romney had won the popular vote and that the world was laughing at America because of a miscarriage of democracy caused by the electoral college system.

The tweets highlighted with the green pepper were actually deleted from Trump’s feed within an hour of them being posted, suggesting that Trump’s minders may have stepped in to prevent him from further embarrassment.

Trump’s tantrum prompted a wave of hilarious responses from the Twitterverse, some of which are highlighted in the images below.

Trumps Tantrum Trumps All
But for those of us who stayed on Twitter during President Obama’s victory speech, the hilarity continued. About halfway during his speech, someone on Twitter pointed out that the woman in the crowd directly over the President’s left shoulder had decided to stick her US flag into her hair and was waving it about with great enthusiasm.

hairflag FTW

The gesture generated an instant Twitter meme, similar to the one NASA employee @tweetsoutloud prompted when his space-influenced mohawk was spotted on camera during the recent Mars Rover landing.

Within a minute or two, the hashtag #hairflag was born, with witty tweets temporarily hijacking responses to the President’s moving and heartfelt speech.

Hairflag wins best meme

I couldn’t resist a #hairflag tweet of my own! By the time President Obama walked offstage, the #hairflag meme was in full swing, with inspirational posters, Facebook pages and parody Twitter accounts.

So Election Day closes with 31 million tweets posted and Twitter a clear winner, once again. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

 

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25 Percent Discount Coupon for Search Engine College

coupon code for Search Engine CollegeI just realised that I hadn’t yet shared this promotion on my blog so here we are.

If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ll know this already, but to celebrate the milestone of Search Engine College having enrolled students in 56 countries, we declared September to be Study Month. For the entire month of September, we have been offering a 25 Percent Discount on ALL our courses, including our popular multi-course Certification Pathways.

Study Month came about after the fantastic response to our CRAZY Day Sale in July. Many of our readers contacted us, asking if we could offer specials on courses other than our Search Engine Optimization Starter. We listened to your feedback and decided to celebrate Study Month with 25 PERCENT off any / all courses at Search Engine College.

You read correctly! If you order ANY course/s from us in September and use the Coupon Code – STUDYMONTH - you will receive 25% off your shopping cart total. That’s 25 percent off the total amount in your cart, so the more courses you add, the more you save.

Remember – the coupon is only valid until midnight on 30 September 2012, but your course key is valid for 12 months from the first day you enter it, so even if you don’t have time to study now, you can lock in your savings and study when it suits you.

But you’ve got less than 72 hours to take advantage of the discount so get cracking before the coupon expires. Be sure to read the instructions for using the coupon.

Happy Savings!

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Google Delights Trekkies with Interactive Star Trek Doodle

Star Trek anniversary Google doodleAs soon as I laid eyes on today’s Google Doodle I knew it was going to be my favorite so far. I’m a huge Star Trek fan, so my heart started racing when I typed in Google.com and recognized the familiar uniforms from the Starship Enterprise adorning the letters in the GOOGLE logo. But it’s a far cry from your regular doodle. Today’s Google Doodle is a fully interactive game of sorts.

To mark the 46th anniversary of the iconic TV series Star Trek, Google has put together a really fun commemorative doodle. Ryan Germick, Google doodler and keen Trekkie, led a team of animators to create the multi-scene Star Trek animation to celebrate the show’s launch 46 years ago.Google Doodle Star Trek anniversary

My initial delight in spotting the doodle grew as I discovered the incorporated interactive elements. Clicking on highlighted areas of the Google logo triggers a series of tributes to iconic Star Trek episodes, including “The Trouble With Tribbles” and pilot episode “The Man Trap”, which aired on Sept. 8, 1966. Various letters from the Google logo play the crew of the starship Enterprise. Captain James T. Kirk is played by the central “o” in Google.

There are a few different scenes with various highlighted areas you can click on to make the scene play out. My favorite is the tribbles hiding in the ceiling of the Transporter Room. How many others can you find? After the final animation plays out, Google redirects you to search results for Star Trek the Original Series.

I declare this to be Google’s Best Doodle Ever!  You can watch a full video of the interactions below :

 

 

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Find Ms Parker July Competition

Hey guys

To spice things up a bit during what can be an otherwise boring time of year, we’re resurrecting the monthly Find Ms Parker competition on Search Engine Wiki.

Find Ms Parker is a good old fashioned hide and seek competition, with regular clues posted on our Facebook page and tweeted via @sewiki. Your task is to Find Ms Parker – our resident librarian – who is hiding on a page somewhere in our resources library at Search Engine Wiki. There’s a picture of her in this post so you know what she looks like.

It’s easy to win. Just find a pic of Ms Parker somewhere on Search Engine Wiki and tweet @sewiki with the page URL and *I found Ms Parker!* in your tweet, as well as the hashtag #FindMsParker so we can track it. If you don’t have a Twitter account, send the URL to us via our Contact Form and put *I found Ms Parker!* as your subject line.

The first person to find her and notify us as per the rules receives a training voucher to the value of USD395 to use towards any course/s at Search Engine College.

So what are you waiting for? Go find Ms Parker!

CLUE #1 : I keep a diary with entries typically displayed in reverse chronological order.

Update 2 July 2012: Ms Parker has been found! Congratulations to David Gall in Brisbane, who found her lurking here. Well done David, your training voucher will be sent out shortly.

 

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SMX Sydney 2012 – Aidan Beanland – SEO Essentials for Web Migration

This is a summary of Aidan Beanland’s presentation at Search Marketing Expo / Online Marketer Conference held in Sydney 1-2 May 2012. Aidan Beanland at SMX Sydney 2012

Aidan Beanland is the SEO & Audience Optimisation Manager for Yahoo!7 in Australia. Aidan directs SEO operations for Australia and New Zealand and advises on international strategy for the Yahoo! network.

Aidan explains there are 3 phases to a successful web migration:

Phase 1 – Research / Strategy

What’s changing? Your migration situation could be any of the following:

  • Moving from one domain to another
  • Switching to a new Content Management System (CMS), creating new URLs
  • Significant changes to site content
  • Update to site’s Information Architecture
  • A new geographic audience
  • Merging one or more sites together
  • Changing your web host

…or a combination of these.

Aidan suggests asking the following questions prior to migration:

  • Why are you doing this? Content? CMS? Design? Acquisition? CEO says so? Be clear about your objectives.
  • Does this NEED to happen? Really?
  • What can be migrated separately? Know the roadmap and any dependencies.
  • Will this cause new SEO challenges? AJAX, Flash, poor information architecture?
  • What enhancements can be included?
  • Are you aware of the risks? Really?
  • Who’s idea was it? Make sure responsibility is clear.

Phase 2 – Planning / Benchmarking

Before migration, Aidan recommends taking benchmark stats so that you can check these again after migration. During the month before migration, record these stats:

  • Click Through Rates, average search positions, external/internal links, content keywords via Google webmaster tools
  • Top search referral keywords, conversions from SEO by keyword phrase/URL
  • Engagement metrics (bounce rate, session length, PVs/visit, etc)
  • Top referring URLs
  • Geographic locations of visitors
  • Search engine referrals (note seasonal variations)

SEO Migration Task List

Determine your ‘money pages':
• The most search engine referrals
• Highest link equity (page authority, root links, link diversity)
• Best conversions

Split search engine referrals keyword phrases into three buckets:
1. Brand terms
2. Competitive ‘head’ terms
3. Long tail terms

Rank check your top 50/100 referring search queries and take note. Record your most common internal search queries.

Planning Task List

  • Check new domain and/or host IP has no *ghosts*.
  • Ensure new domain WHOIS entry is correct (same as current if possible)
  • Put the new domain live with a holding page linking to the current site
  • Ensure current and new domains are verified in Google Webmaster Tools
  • Replace absolute with relative links
  • Evaluate new site wireframes/mock-ups and incorporate SEO requirements
  • Retain (and improve) internal link structure if possible
  • Crawl old site to generate a URL list
  • Inform registered users that a new site is coming

301 Redirect Task List

  • List most important current URLs and corresponding new URLs
  • Set up 1-1 redirects for all key SEO (and other traffic source) pages
  • For less important pages create redirect rules, e.g. Capture descriptive words from old URL to return a search listing on those words
  • 301 redirect old sitemap.xml files to their new location

New Site Final Task List

  • Put the staging site behind IP restriction AND/OR Password protect
  • robots.txt disallow
  • Crawl the new site (using Xenu or similar). Looks for the usual culprits:
    – 404s
    – Incorrect redirects (don’t forget images and files like PDFs!)
    – Dupe/missing page titles & descriptions
    – High click depth
    – Large/slow pages
    – Non-canonical URLs/content
    – Use old site URLs as a crawl list to check redirects are working
  • Set up a 301 redirect s/sheet so tech team has a clear map of instructions
  • Stress test! Can it handle the load?
  • Set up Google Alerts for something unique to your new pages so you know as soon as your new pages are in the index

Phase 3 – Migration

10 First Steps:
1. Remove robots.txt and/or password/IP restriction
2. Lower your DNS TTL (time to live) to ~5 mins/300s then update DNS setting
to new host IP
3. Verify new site in Google Webmaster Tools
4. Use Google’s ‘Change of Address’ tool
5. Re-crawl to check for errors
6. Submit new XML sitemap(s)
7. Check indexation (site: ) and sitemaps in GWT
8. Keep both sites live until ALL users are now going to new site
9. Inform your users and your industry – PR opportunity?
10. Update external links

Next steps:

Redirect old pages to new pages in stages, suggests Aidan. Splitting the migration process into manageable chunks allows for rollbacks and better cause/effect troubleshooting.

An example:
1. Migrate to new host – wait ~1 week
2. Redirect site to a new domain – wait until traffic stabilises
3. Migrate content (one section/directory of the site at a time) – wait several
weeks

Phase 4 – Monitoring

Some things to keep tracking after the migration:

  • Use the old site URL list as a crawl list to check redirects are still working
  • Check sitemap indexation & crawl errors/volume in Google Webmaster Tools
  • Remember to check rankings for other search engine gTLDs if your business relates to other countries
  • Check referrers to your 404 page. Use this to fix broken links (on and off-site)
  • Check internal search queries – have they changed from the old version? Use this to enhance navigation
  • Canonicalisation? Are all pages consistently with or without out www.? https://?
  • Keep ownership of the old domain! Indefinitely! Maintain redirects
  • Monitor key business goals
  • Tidy up broken links – return a 404 or 301 to logical equivalent
  • Regain site links if they got removed
  • Update & add external links – contact webmasters, may be chance to improve them or add more. Prioritise by value (SEO and navigational)
  • Backfill any organic traffic slump with PPC traffic
  • Ask your loyal users for feedback on their experience of the new site
  • Update your local listing entries (e.g. Google Places), if necessary
  • Flush out old links. Point links to these from an indexed but low value page to force recognition of the 301 redirect.
  • If things go really wrong – roll back!

Site Migration Dos and Don’ts

  • Don’t do it! (or at least don’t switch everything at once)
  • Don’t get excited when referrals increase immediately after launch – this can happen when old + new URLs are indexed and appear together in SERP, or when Google ‘tests’ new domains for CTR and engagement.
  • Don’t blanket redirect all old pages to your new home page
  • Don’t let your old domain lapse
  • Do hold your ground and be patient. You’ve explained the risks and time-frame to the business (right?).
  • Do update your most valuable links – Don’t rely on the 301 passing on link juice in full or quickly
  • Do be prepared for a roller coaster ride! Traffic can fluctuate, some things don’t work as expected, sometimes a post-switch site can perform more strongly than you’d hoped.

Good luck!

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