Fast Five in Search – Week 11, 2013

fast-fiveThis week’s Fast Five contains some fascinating insights into Google as well as some great advice about compelling content and keyword research. Enjoy!

1) Liveblogging: Walk A Mile In Google’s Shoes With Matt Cutts by John Rampton         This is a fascinating live blog post from this week’s SMX at San Jose. Matt Cutts shares everyday moral dilemmas faced by Google when it comes to providing accurate yet questionable or unsavoury content. A must read!

2) How to Deal With Challenging Clients by Craig Bradford                                            Craig is right when he says that as consultants, a large part of our time is taken up managing other people’s attitudes and behaviours – particularly if they are unsatisfied for some reason. Craig’s helpful 7 strategies on maintaining excellent client-consultant relations are good solid advice. Make sure you read his 4 handy tips at the bottom – to rectify things if they do go wrong.

3) 5 Unexpected Keyword Research Sources by Sujan Patel                                     Finding it hard to think outside the box when it comes to keywords? There are many helpful tools regarding keyword generation and analysis, but this post will ensure you enter any client or management meeting with the kind of creative thinking that is sure to be noticed.

4) 7 Content Archetypes That Generate Natural Links by Brian Dean                      Everyone wants to know the secret of getting natural backlinks and answer is of course quality content. But what if your creative energy isn’t flowing? Well, Brian’s list of 7 Archetypes is a handy one to refer back to for inspiration. You’ll probably notice his Archetypes being used throughout the blogosphere after you’ve read this.

and finally…

5) How Is Your Search Engine Handling Synonyms? By Lenin Nair                                 This is an interesting article, particularly for keyword researchers. Apparently Google recognises some synonyms but not others. This interesting post outlines several reasons why this is the case. The one that particularly caught my eye was the fact that keyword targeting by SEOs is helping Google to identify synonyms. The circle is complete!

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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Factbrowser: the research discovery engine

Blog imageYou might remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about How to Find Compelling Internet Statistics?

Well after that post I heard from Keith Anderson who wanted to introduce me to a site he founded called

Keith created Factbrowser about a year ago to help people discover the most compelling new research about technology, business, consumers, specific regions and the Internet.

The site is totally free, and it’s updated daily with new reports from hundreds of credible sources like Nielsen, NPD, IDC, Pew, gathered from press releases, social media posts and newsfeeds.

The entire database is searchable and filterable by topic, source and region, so you can narrow down the most relevant research quite quickly. It also uses quite a detailed topic tagging system if you like that sort of thing.

Each snippet of data also has social sharing buttons in case you want to share it with your online community with one click. But what I find best of all about the site is that the source of the data is clearly highlighted in red, together with a link to their web site and Twitter account if available.

Great job Keith and thanks for sharing.


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How to Find Compelling Internet Statistics Without Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

If you’re like me, you do a lot of research online. Cat in a Cup

Whether I’m writing an article, preparing a slide deck, putting together a presentation or researching a subject for a client, I always seem to be hunting down compelling Internet statistics of one kind or another. Particularly topics like:

  • Number of US households with Internet access.
  • Latest search engine market share figures.
  • Most popular search terms for a particular year.
  • Number of Facebook users in a particular country.
  • Amount of e-commerce expenditure in past 12 months.

I always start a search for stats like these thinking it’s going to be a simple task and then end up down some bizarre rabbit hole, emerging two hours later with an amusing picture of a cat in a teacup.

To prevent this from happening again, I’ve bookmarked a list of *Go To* sites for Internet statistics in my Evernote account and today, (you lucky things!), I’m sharing them with you:

  • Internet World Stats – This site lists a range of Internet usage statistics sorted by country and population figures. The site is regularly updated and features a range of handy charts and graphs. There are also links to the latest Facebook usage statistics.
  • ComScore – The press releases and reports from ComScore are often geared to the search industry, so I can usually find something of relevance here related to my particular slide deck or training workshop. Their white papers and presentations are also fantastic sources of visual cues and infographics to help illustrate your points.
  • Forrester Research – Forrester is a prolific publisher of research documents, market reports, analysis and studies of all kinds and in all industries.  A common focus of their research is the impact of the Internet on business activity. Many of their reports are available for purchase, but they also regularly release synopsis’ of their more influential studies for public use through their media department.
  • Google Trends – Don’t overlook Google Trends as a source for useful web statistics and anecdotes. For example, if you enter a search for *mobile phones*, you can track Google’s search history for that phrase and related phrases since 2004 and note the peaks and troughs as the use of cell phones impacted our daily lives. The items highlighted with a letter of the alphabet are influential news items relating to the search term over the historical period. These make fun anecdotes for your presentation e.g. in 2010, Fox News reported that mobile phones have more bacteria on them than the handles on public toilets. Ewww.
  • Facebook Marketing Bible – The FMB apparently started life as an internal company manual and has now become a published guide to marketing your brand, company, product, or service on Facebook. The Facebook Marketing Bible includes summaries about the inner workings of Facebook, strategies to using Facebook for your business, specific how-tos, successful case studies, and insights from social media experts across the board. I include it in this list because it contains some of the most interesting Case Studies for using Facebook that I’ve come across and everyone knows that compelling case studies are the lifeblood of a successful presentation.
  • Nielsen – Nielsen is another prolific global research company. Anything that Nielsen publish quickly becomes extremely influential and many businesses make major decisions based on the data published by Nielsen. Their whitepapers and webinars are freely available for download once you register for the site and new reports are published every day. If I need stats quickly, I always start here.
  • Gartner Research – Gartner Group provide insightful research on the impact of the Internet and the increasing role of IT in business. Gartner’s specialty is technical research, particularly relating to applications development and business intelligence. Unlike Forrester, Gartner’s research is generally only available via paid subscription, but they do offer a 30 day free trial.
  • Simba Information – Simba offer market intelligence primarily for the media, education and publishing industries, but their research reports often include useful technology-related statistics e.g. *The iPad and its Owner: Key Trends and Statistics 2013*.
  • Google Zeitgeist – Google’s annual wrap of the most searched-for topics, year by year, country by country. Think of it as Google’s answer to the Guinness Book of Records.
  • Gap Minder Not strictly Internet related, but Gapminder is a non-profit site that publishes the World’s most important trends in the fields of wealth, health, global development and the environment. In their own words, Gapminder is a modern museum on the Internet with the intention of being a *fact tank* that promotes a fact-based world view. Gapminder produces videos, Flash presentations and PDF charts showing major global development trends with animated statistics in colorful graphics.

Hopefully this list has helped shorten your search time for compelling and useful Internet statistics and prevented you from falling victim to the Rabbit Hole syndrome. After all, the last thing we need on the Internet is more pictures of cats in teacups.

Postscript: Factbrowser has been suggested as a worthy addition to this page. Thanks Keith!


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Top Five Search Industry Blog Posts of the Week

Blog imageIt has been pretty quiet in the blogosphere during the festive season, but there have been some great posts about link building lately, that I thought worthy of sharing.

Since the Panda and Penguin updates, webmasters are having to rethink the way link profiles are used to determine Google’s search results. Google is determined to weed out sites with spammy non-relevant links and make search results more intuitive and personal.

What does all this mean for link builders? Well, I gathered the following articles from the last few weeks to help answer that question – Happy Reading!

Semantic Search and Link Building Without Links -The Future for SEO? by Simon Penson

In this article Simon talks about how anchor text is no longer the primary factor when it comes to determining the relevancy of links. Other things like social signals, link age and personalized search query history are now equally – if not more important.

Simon says Semantic Association is the new catch phrase and determining the context of search queries is the new holy grail for search engineers. Google no longer wants to find out exactly what we are searching for, they also want to know why, so they can deliver search results personalized to our unique needs.

Simon lists several innovative tools he has used to adapt to these Semantic Search changes and encourages webmasters to even ‘post without links’ in order to take advantage of co-occurrence, “(co-occurrence) is a way of ranking websites and pages not on inbound links but by how many times they are MENTIONED in close proximity to key phrases.”

Interesting stuff!

3 Areas That Get Overlooked When Building Links in a Bubble by Julie Joyce

I engaged with this post straight away because I could relate to Julie’s suggestion that most link builders are operating in a vacuum. Having worked on many link building campaigns for clients, I know this is often true.

SEM is such a complex and ongoing process that one company may have the contract for link building, while another has the PPC contract and so on. The problem is how to align the various strategies.

Julie’s article describes ways to align link building strategies with PPC; Social Media Campaigns; and Technical SEO – for an efficient and effective overall marketing campaign that is sure to reach your target audience.

Your Best Link Building Tool in 2013: Community Manager by Kate Morris

This post follows on perfectly from the one above. Kate describes link building as a process of relationship building and outlines how to integrate in-house link building strategies across an organization.

More than ever before link building is about developing key relationships. Most companies already have staff which perform this function in various ways including: executives, marketing and customer service representatives. Kate says that what may be missing is a Community Manager who can oversee internal and external company relationships.

Kate lists the top personal traits for link builders/community managers in this interesting ‘human resources’ slanted article.

Don’t Build Links, Build Bubbles By Craig Bradford

While many organizations are underwhelmed by the marketing power of Google Plus, this post could change all that.

Craig describes how engaging with Google Plus can radically change the results of your customer’s search queries – in a way that Facebook and other platforms can’t match.

If we are signed into our Google Plus account when web browsing – our online connections influence the search results we receive. Craig describes this ‘filter bubble’ capacity of Google Plus – as more important than building traditional links and will revolutionize the way companies build and maintain relationships with their customers.

A must read for all marketing professionals!

A new tool to disavow links – Google Webmaster Central Blog

Although this post appeared back in November 2012, I felt I couldn’t do a ‘top five’ post on link building, without including it.

The new Google Disavow Links Tool is Google’s answer to taking control of your backlink profile post-Penguin, by removing all spammy in-bound links from your site – without needing to gain the permission of the site which is linking to you.

That’s all for this week, happy post-Penguin link building everyone!

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SEO, Social Media and Other Hot Tech Jobs for 2013

Happy New Year readers!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break and relaxing vacation, if you were lucky enough to get one. If you’re in a technology career, I have some fabulous news to kick off 2013.

Tech Job Search

2013 Jobs in Tech

Two major US recruitment firms have released Salary Guides that reveal the hottest technology jobs for 2013 and their approximate starting salaries. The salary ranges show that tech jobs are bucking the trend when compared to other industries and are offering extremely high starting salaries for persons with the right skills.

They’ve even identified SEO/SEM specialists and Social Media Specialists as two of the best paid and hottest technology jobs for 2013. I was so excited by this news that I wrote an article about it: SEO and Social Media Specialists Identified as Hot Tech Jobs for 2013.

You can download the PDF salary guides here:

Robert Half Technology – Salary Guide 2013

The Creative Group – Salary Guide 2013

Print them out and go ask for that payrise! Or, if you are keen to get some training under your belt before knocking on the bosses door, consider taking one of our online marketing courses first.


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