Lots of very interesting tech and search news this week. A couple of game changers for those of us using search channels to market products and services.
Here’s this week’s Fast Five:
1) Google AdWords Offers Ad Creatives at Scale for PPC by Jessica Lee at Search Engine Watch. This month, Google launched the ability for AdWords advertisers to create ads using custom parameters that you want inserted into your ads. Using a spreadsheet you pre-fill, the feature allows AdWords to retrieve product information that is most relevant to what each customer is searching for and dynamically insert it into your ad text.
2) New Panda Update Rolling Out, Google Takes Another Stand Against Thin Content by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal. Earlier this week, an analyst at Google UK let slip that a new Panda update was in the process of being rolled out to the Google algorithm. Matt has the scoop on what you can expect from this update.
3) The Yahoo Directory – Once the Internet’s Most Important Search Engine – Is to Close by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land. This news came as a bit of a shock. As someone whose job (for years) consisted of submitting client sites to the Yahoo Directory, it was an *end of an era* moment to hear the Directory would be closing down. I’m with Danny on this one – Yahoo has cruelly glossed over the closure of the Directory that started the entire company AKA “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. So long Yahoo Directory.
4) Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to Try by Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot. In this post, Pamela shares some logical testing formulas for improving your blog’s conversion rate. Suggested items for testing include Click Through Rate, content balance, calls to action and publishing rate.
5) 14 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools Every Expert Needs by Steven Macdonald of Search Engine Journal. This one does exactly what it says on the label. Steven has provided a handy list of tools for testing your conversion rate, conveniently categorized by topics such as Analytics, Research and Testing. Be sure to bookmark this one.
*Image courtesy of Threadless.
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The news is all about search engines this week. So much is happening in the industry right now, I can barely keep up with it all.
Here’s this week’s Fast Five:
1) Bing Now Accepting Right to Be Forgotten Requests in Europe by Jennifer Cowan. The landmark ruling in May against Google by the European Union Court of Justice has now influenced Bing. The search company has released a request form for Europeans wishing to take advantage of the recent “right to be forgotten” edict issued by Europe’s top court.
2) Yahoo Search Share Falls Below 10 Percent for “All-Time Low” by Greg Sterling. According to comScore’s U.S. search market share data for June, Yahoo’s search market share has now fallen below 10 percent for the first time ever, with analysts putting the figure at 9.8 percent. In this article, Greg Sterling demonstrates how Bing has grown almost entirely at Yahoo’s expense.
3) Google Analytics Gets Its Own Dedicated iPhone App by Darrell Etherington. Google has finally released an iPhone app for Analytics and it’s pretty damn good. It provides the same data you see when viewing the web dashboard on a mobile device, including visits, sources, page views and user behavior insights. Real Time reports are also included, which allow you to view visitor activity in real time.
4) Google Penalty Hits eBay’s Bottom Line, May Cost Up to $200 Million in Revenue by Danny Sullivan. The true impact of Google’s search penalty against eBay this year has finally been revealed. This article by Danny Sullivan shows that the penalty had a devastating financial impact on the Auction site, to the tune of $200 million.
5) Edward Snowden Calls on Hackers to Help Whistleblowers Leak More Secrets by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai. My curve ball this week is the remarkable appeal from Edward Snowden to attendees of the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference for hackers and technologists to help would-be whistleblowers spill more government secrets.
*Image courtesy of Threadless.
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Wow. I’d never thought I’d get to type this in 2013: Yahoo! has ousted Google to become the number 1 source of US web traffic.
The comScore Top 50 US Web Properties report for July 2013 reveals that Yahoo! owned sites attracted more unique visitors than any other networks, including Google. The numbers are pretty close – Yahoo! traffic only beat Google traffic by less than 300,000 visits, but this win is a significant one for Yahoo!, given they haven’t been at the number #1 spot since 2008, according to Greg Sterling.
You might think these numbers were influenced by Yahoo!’s recent purchase of Tumblr, however Tumblr is ranked separately in the report, way down at position #28. Which makes me think that the hard work put in by Marissa Mayer and her new management team over the past 12 months is finally starting to gain traction.
It must be a sweet victory for ex-Google executive Mayer, who took over the top job when Yahoo! was in crisis – struggling from years of poor leadership and financial mismanagement. Despite an overall revenue dip of 7 percent compared with this time last year, Yahoo!’s latest financial figures reveal solid income growth for the past quarter – up 150 percent on the previous year.
The upshot of this for webmasters is: you simply CANNOT continue to put all your eggs in the Google basket. I say this until I’m blue in the face: Google is NOT the Internet. Both Yahoo! and Bing are major players in the search industry with the potential to provide as much – or in Yahoo!’s case, more – traffic than Google.
If traffic from Google dominates your site stats, take action now:
- Optimize your sites with ALL the search engines in mind. Learn what content / tag structure ranks well on Yahoo! and Bing. Optimize your pages accordingly.
- Study your analytics and learn what keywords convert better on Yahoo! and Bing. Better optimize your content for those keywords.
- Observe how much traffic you get from Yahoo! and Yahoo! partner sites. Compare conversion rates for this traffic with the traffic you get from Google and other sources.
- If you haven’t already established a Bing Ads account, create one and start experimenting with paid advertising on the Bing and Yahoo! networks.
- Verify your web site/s via Bing Webmaster Tools and start observing your site performance via that account.
- To encourage indexing, upload your XML sitemap to Bing and Yahoo! via Webmaster Tools and keep it up to date.
- Monitor your performance in all search engines to reduce your reliance on Google traffic.
Taking action now will mean that you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors and more importantly, if your Google rankings suddenly plummet – *cough* Panda, Penguin *cough* – you’ll have traffic from other sources to catch your fall.
The Twitterspehere has been aflame for the past hour with the breaking news that Google’s Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, Marissa Mayer has been announced as Yahoo’s new CEO.
News of another Yahoo CEO was nothing out of the ordinary – they’ve had 5 CEO changes in 5 years – but the fact that it was Google’s blue-eyed girl has come as quite a shock to the search industry. Marissa has been the *face* of Google for 13 years and was Google’s 20th employee. She has been the driving force behind the makeover of Gmail, the launch of Google news and is considered one of Google’s stalwarts. To see her named as CEO of one of their two main rivals has caught most people by surprise.
The surprise has been a pleasant one though – the overwhelming sentiment on Twitter has been that if anyone can turn Yahoo around, it’s Marissa. Yahoo stock holders clearly agree – the stock has risen by nearly 4 percent since the news was announced. In an interesting twist, Google learned of Mayer’s resignation via a telephone call.
What will this mean for Yahoo? Who knows, but her appointment alone has raised hopes Yahoo can regain all-important market share. Watch this space!
Del.icio.us fans worldwide are in shock today with the news that Yahoo has decided to terminate the site, along with Altavista, MyBlogLog, AllTheWeb, Yahoo! Bookmarks and Yahoo! Picks and Yahoo! Buzz.
News broke on TechCrunch this morning after a leaked slide from an internal Yahoo! product team meeting fell into the hands of Eric Marcoullier, who co-founded blog social network MyBlogLog. It has since been removed from YFrog, but the slide depicts three columns titled Sunset / Merge / Make Feature with Del.icio.us, Altavista, MyBlogLog, Yahoo! Bookmarks, AllTheWeb, Yahoo! Picks and Yahoo! Buzz listed under the not so subtle *Sunset* column.
Marcoullier tweeted the slide from his account and then all hell broke loose, with Yahoo Product Manager Blake Irving even threatening to fire whomever leaked the slide.
Del.icio.us fans in particular have been very vocal about the news, voicing their opposition to Yahoo’s decision using Twitter hashtags such as #savedelicious and #delicious and even creating an online petition which can be *signed* by retweeting it. Ironically, many of the top bookmarks at Delicious today featured it’s demise.
The product terminations come the same week Yahoo! announced layoffs for 4 percent of its global staff.