Fast Five in Search – Week 11, 2014



I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you today. The following is a handful of recent marketing-related posts that caught my eye or that I found interesting. Let’s get straight into it:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Twitter is Bringing Promoted Accounts to Search Results by Anthony Ha of TechCrunch. If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably already familiar with promoted tweets and promoted accounts – Twitter accounts that businesses use to advertise to users. Last week, Twitter announced that as well as seeing promoted tweets from these businesses in your timeline and search results, you may now also see account profiles as a new kind of ad unit. TechCrunch has the low-down on the changes.

2) Skip to the End: 5 Great Ways to Make Your Readers Care by Mike Sowden on ProBlogger. Here Mike tackles the age-old blogging problem of how to keep your audience interested and engaged. There are some clever suggestions in here for ways to hook your readers in to reading your current and future blog posts without resorting to gimmicks or give-aways.

3) 4 Surprising SEM Stats that Every e-Commerce Marketer Should Know by Jordan Elkind on Search Engine Land. With plenty of paid search advertising accounts to keep track of for clients, I like to keep an eye on large brush e-commerce statistics, particularly usage increases. In this post, Jordan shares the latest online shopping trends and e-commerce statistics from the 2013 holiday period.

4) An Introduction to PR Strategy for SEOs by Samuel Scott on the Moz Blog. Following some intense discussions at regarding the death of guest blogging, Scott offers this interesting perspective that SEO and inbound marketing are just PR by another name.

and finally…

5) The Mashable Jobs Board by Emily Chow of Mashable. I’m not sure how I missed this, but apparently Mashable has been managing a Jobs Board for some years – a hiring hub for more than 3,000 employers, no less. If you are looking for a social media or marketing job in the digital space, you might want to check it out regularly.


*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Yahoo! Tops Google for Web Traffic

Yahoo beats GoogleWow. 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.

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Match Types to Change in Google AdWords

When I first heard this news, I was incensed. Now I know that advertisers can opt-out of the changes, I am a little calmer, but still pissed.

Here’s the deal: Starting next month, Google is changing the way match types work in AdWords. From mid May onwards, misspellings, plurals and variations of your Exact Match and Phrase Match keywords on Google AdWords will trigger your ads. In the past, if you wanted your ad to appear for variations, abbreviations or misspellings, you would use Broad Match targeting. If you wanted your ad to appear for plurals or word stemming, you would use “Phrase Match” targeting. If you wanted your ad to appear only when searchers typed in a specific phrase/keyword, you used [Exact Match]. Now, by default, using Exact Match or Phrase Match targeting will ALSO trigger your ads for each of the described variations.

Despite Google calling this change *an improvement*, for all intents and purposes, this means Exact Match is dead. Yes, advertisers can opt-out of this so-called feature, but it is switched on by default, which means that new advertisers selecting Exact Match as a match type will wrongly assume their ads will only be triggered by exact matches of their keywords. It’s a pretty logical assumption! I don’t know about you, but I think that Exact Match should remain, you know, an EXACT MATCH. At the very least, they should change the match type to IN-exact Match so it is less misleading.

According to Search Engine Land, Google has already been testing the new functionality with advertisers and claims the change has resulted in a 3 percent rise in clicks, at comparable CPCs. In the same sentence, Google states that individual results will vary. No freaking kidding. Variations can account for a LOT of searches and for advertisers on a tight budget, this could spell disaster. Here’s an example: if you are an artist selling color prints of your artwork and targeting [color prints] as an exact or phrase match, would you want your ad to be triggered if someone types in *color printers*? No. But it seems this is a distinct possibility under the new rules.

With this move, it feels like Google is taking away some of the minimal control advertisers have over how/when their ads appear in their increasingly annoying quest to make more money for shareholders. I say hands off our Exact Match Google!

What do you think? Do you feel like the changes are reducing the control you have over your campaigns? Please add to the discussion in the comments.

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SMX Sydney 2010: Keynote – Future Directions in Search

Welcome to Day 1 of the SMX Sydney Conference!

Barry Smyth opening the conference

I’ll be live blogging as many sessions as I can and writing up the others later. Today we kick off with the keynote from Chris Sherman, Executive Editor from Search Engine Land.

Chris starts his presentation with a YouTube video by Raymond Crowe using shadow puppets to mime “What a Wonderful World”. Like shadow puppets, search marketing looks impossible to do but we’re just out there doing it.

Chris says that the last few weeks have brought incredible change. Seismic change in the industry! We’ve come out of the global economic crisis. Online ad spend is picking up. WE’ll see $54B in global ad spend. Search is 47% of that spend, which is promising for our industry. B2B lead generation spend is still lower than before the economicdownturn, but that may be a lagging indicator.

Chris then showed a series of videos to describe online search marketing.

1) The Renaissance Site:

Video from 1969, taking a look at the *future* of electronic technology. Chris says that what they’re describing in that video is really the Google of today. Although they started laser-focused on search, now they offer “something of everything to everybody”.

Google Fast Flip

New product – combines Google News with a easy view layout.

Google News Timeline

Takes news and shows how stories are developing over a specific timeline.

Google Dashboard

Allows you to see what info Google is tracking about you. How you are represented as an entity on Google. Showed his own dashboard. The amount of data is extraordinary. The dashboard now gives you control over how much of this information is public and available. Demonstrates Google’s commitment to privacy.

Google Australia new products:

– Google Insights for Search – compare one search with another etc.

– Google map icons – allows you to claim a local business using Google Places on Google Maps.

– Google Sponsored Listings – within maps now.  An alternative to Google AdWords.

– YouTube promoted videos – You can now sponsor videos via YouTube so your videos come up the top – not officiallyavailable in Australia yet, except via AdWords AU.

– Google AdWords Webinars – new to GG Australia

– Google Speaks ‘Strayan! New feature to hep Aussies find local info, in local jargon. Cute!

This week, GG has hired a team of photographers to use cameras within the Streetview cars to focus in on more interesting visual data they come across (similar to what Bing are doing with virtual reality?).

Google Woes

– legal woes

– privacy issues

– China and censorship

Google: The new evil empire?

Chris has heard rumors of GG replacing Microsoft as the new evil empire.

– Photographers have sued over book deal.

– EU looking at antitrust

– Execs convicted of privacy violations in Italy

– Xerox and Quintura sue over patents

– Streetview lawsuits in multiple countries

– Launch of Google Buzz

– and the beating goes on…

Chris doesn’t think they will get into major legal difficulties. In terms of privacy though, they might have trouble. When they launched Buzz, they did it without permission and that was a major concern – especially if you use public shared computers.

In response, Matt Cutts went into great detail on the European Public Policy Blog about privacy and transparency. Mind you, he link dropped in a nuclear fashion in that post which amused Chris greatly.

Keep in mind, Facebook’s privacy is MUCH more relaxed and dangerous, in his opinion.

Dealing with the Great Firewall

– Google moved servers to Hong Kong last month

– But China is blocking access to the site from mainland computers

– Excellent analysis at

– Not just China: Google is censoring in other countries as well

– You can use proxies from within China to get past the censorship

– Chris has never personally experienced censorship when running SEM conferences in China

New as of Yesterday

The Google Govt Requests and Removal Tool – a new tool which is a maps overlay to allow people to request information to be removed or request more data. You can even see in real time what requests have been complied with or not. When you mouse over China, it says “Chinese government considers this information a State secret so data is not available”. Article at: “Google Responds to Privacy Concerns With…”

2) Emperor’s New Clothes

Showed video of a plane experiencing a very very dodgy landing. Chris says this represents Yahoo.

– Yahoo is the proud owner of the Emperor’s New Clothes

– Microhoo competition: Salvation or sellout? Microsoft does the heavy search lifting while Yahoo sells ads.

I was discussing this with Chris last night at the Tweetup. Chris thinks this is a clever move by Yahoo, but it really gives all the power to MS/Bing.

– Yahoo has divided the labor – “we’re more interested in what happens before and after search than search itself. In other words, we’re going back to our *browse* / portal mode.

3) Assimilator as Innovator

Showed a clip from Star Trek from The Borg. This represents Microsoft / Bing.  “You will be assimilated”. In other words, Chris says, MS is very clever at making people do what they want. Acquisition after acquisition.

Now part of the collective:







Fast Search & Transfer – AllThe Web



– Bing is arguably a better na,e than Live Search, but what does it mean? In Chinese it means “Very certain to answer”.

– Fun image licensing for their home page means rotation of photos – always different. Chris uses Bing as his home page because he loves their home page photos so much.

– Powerset does a semantic search rather than algorithmic. Different to other SE’s. Uses Freebase to gather data. If you drill down, it will give you options like Wikipedia on steroids – will go and semantic search ALL Wikipedia articles on a topic you search for – very powerful.

– Bing Maps – geolocation can be an issue (e.g. Thinks Chris is in Melbourne right now). But they do some things very well. Mapp Apps are very cool. What’s Nearby also good. Signs and Billboards etc.

– Bing has captured billions of data sources for travel sources and put them into searchable form. Based on historical data, can tell you things like when is the best time to buy a ticket to New York – when it’s cheaper etc. This is powerful stuff! Shows graphs and charts and heat maps to tell you costs of flights, accommodation etc. Unique to Bing.

Chris sees this as the way going forward. This type of travel data may get rolled out to retail, eg volume of sales etc.

Bing SearchRank – another new feature not yet available in Australia. Get an idea of what searches are popular right now, similar to Google Trends.

4) The Shiny New Disruptor

Wofram Alpha. It’s a new computational knowledge engine. Wolfram’s founder believes the complex world can be reduced to simple rules and those rules are computable.

– WA contains 10+ trillion pieces of data, 50K types of algorithms and models and linguistic data for 1000 languages.

– In WA, put in a mathematical problem and Google will shoot out an answer. But in WA, it will give you the ellipse, a visual definition of the calculation. Put in a chord search and it will come up with the scale visually, plus allow you to play it.

– Ask questions and WA will give you all the data you could ever wish for. People can type in things like “When will I die?” Scary answers. *10 peanut M&Ms* WA will respond with the dietary calories. *Who’s the fairest of them all”?* Snow White. They are obviously paying attention, as answer has changed since Chris first started asking it some months ago. *Am I drunk?* Will give you the alcohol percentages of common drinks.

Social Media

– love it or hate it, SM is huge.

– How big?

– Globally, 1 billion+ users wasting spending 2 billion minutes/month

– Share of global online time:

Facebook 16%

YouTube 9%

Google 5%

This is HUGE. If you’re SEOing for Google, you might want to rethink your priorities and start advertising on Facebook and YouTube.

Email’s not going away anytime soon, but stats show that Social Media is more popular with people. Email has flatlined in terms of time spent, while SM has gone to vertical curve.


– 75% of Twitter’s traffic comes from APIs

– Twitter has become a *real* search engine

– Twitter has just announced monetization – “promoted Tweets”. Chris finds this disengenous, although he concedes it will probably be successful.

– Based on KW bids, ads will be displayed at top of search results

– Resonance reuqired (think Quality Score), based on retweets, replies, hashtags, clicked links etc. Searchers need to engage with the ads for them to maintain position – this is a Google approach. Makes sense given key staff are ex FeedBurner / Google staff.

– Third party distribution

– Twitter palns to expand program to it’s partners and then it will become massive.

– other options – Tweetup – contextual sponsored tweets displayed on  publisher sites, using a CPM model now with cost-per-click and cost-per-new-follower.

– TweetUp – is a new tool -the brainchild of’s founder. It’s a network of the world’s best tweeters. Response has been sceptical, but hey, the response to GoTo’s idea of PPC caused the same reaction in people.


Chris says Facebook is here to stay. So many ways to reach people and the size of the audience is astonishing, he says. You can’t ignore Facebook. There are definitely ways to measure the impact of a Social Media campaign.

– If Facebook was a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world

– lots of fertile options for marketers

– pages, apps, ads, polls,

– And analytics via Facebook Insights

If you’re looking for ways to leverage Facebook, try:

One third of the people ON Facebook are interested in marketing on Facebook – encouraging. Chris says, if you’ve avoided SM until now? STOP and reconsider.

Real Time Search & SEO

– As real time search becomes more commonplace, it is displacing *traditional* search results

– Fundamental SEO is still important, but there are new opportunities to gain exposure thanks to real-time algos

– At it’s heart, Caffeine is an attempt to capture real time crawl. Larry Page is very impatient about this concept.

– Real time search impacts SEO in a huge, huge way. The algorithm has basically been re-written. Can’t do much right now except continue to use best-practice.


– This will amplify things

– Personalization affects search results

– For text results, can’t do much

– However, opportunities to gain real estate via universal search are still good

– Think *digital asset optimization*

Chris says, don’t despair, these changes offer oppportunities for you to use them to your advantage. Because most people won’t be – now’s your chance.

Mobile Search

Chris says “Are we there yet?” YES we are. Tipping point has hit this year – mobile advertising has become popular with the advent of smart phones.

-mobile advertising is the new Point of Sale

– 5.8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide by 2013; 30% will be smartphone users (Portio Research)

– Mobile ad spend 2015

New Data from Morgan Stanley:

– Sometime between 2013 and 2014, there will be more mobile Internet uers than desktop PC users

– Growth of the iPhone happened at 11x the growth of Desktop Internet!

– These stats will impact Facebook users too obviously

– If you’re not already doing so – GO MOBILE NOW

– Little competition right now

– Go multi-mobile – see Cindy Krum’s article on Search Engine Land

– Consider optimizing your site for mobile search

– Use GPS based mobile apps to leverage your business e.g. 4Square, Gowalla, Placecast (GPS based advertising)

Video Marketing

– YouTube is second largest search engine right now

– Syndicate your videos widely

– Use video because your competitors probably aren’t

– Embed meta data, relevant titles & filenames

– Use appropriate on-page SEO

– Descriptive text

– Include your URLs in the video to encourage viral linking and viewing

A Huge Trend: Targeting

– Types of targeting include device / geographic / demographic / behavioral

Device Targeting

– GG, MS Yahoo

– Device platofrm tgt allows you to target your ads to PCs and iphones and others

Goegraphic Targeting

– GG, MS, Yahoo

– Language targeting occurs at country level or radius

– Also beningn, used to reach specific groups and exclude others

Demographic Targeting

– MS (full), YH (partial), Google (exploring options)

– Targeting ads based on age, gender, income etc.

– similar to direct mail, but uses data from volunteered information

– Can be problematic, especially on shared computers

Behavioural Targeting

– MS, YH, Google content only. Not search or Gmail

– Ads targeted based on online behavior (visits, pruchases, queries etc).

– Benefit = ads match interest closely

– Concern = privacy? What privacy?

Merging Online and Offline Data

– Exelate & Aperture pull data from Neilsen and other co’s to combine data with search behaviror

Opting out of Targeted Ads

– Google makes it kind of fun but not clear and hard to find

– MS uses legalese and it’s boring

– YH also makes it unclear and difficult to find

– You can opt out of 200 Ad networks by going to NAI (inc big ones)


– Web search has consolidated to few major players

– Good news – competition among majors has also increased, good for SEM and searchers

– Counterintuitive: Advertising may DECREASE as search engines continue to refine targeting options

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More Not For Profits to Receive Free SEM Training

You may remember that Search Engine College launched a free search engine marketing training initiative last year for charities and not-for-profit organizations worldwide.

If you missed it, we’re offering 25 charities per year the opportunity to learn search marketing skills at no cost, to help them make the most of their limited marketing budgets.

Our 3 latest recipients of free search marketing courses are:

1) UK Connect – the communication disability network, works to promote effective services, new opportunities and a better quality of life for people living with aphasia. UK Connect want to improve the marketing of their training and consultancy with a view to setting up more services around the UK. This will allow them to have a wider impact on those living with communication disability.

2) Christchurch Women’s Refuge -New Zealand’s first and foremost social change agency dedicated to preventing violence against women, young people and children. Their mission is to create a society where all women, young people and children live life free from violence.

3) The Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society – PARS is a not for profit assisting prisoners and their families with reintegration & rehabilitation issues throughout New Zealand. Prisoner reintegration is an area that can be difficult to market effectively. A Search Engine College marketing course offers PARS the chance to maximise their publicity and positive social message.

Those are three very worthy not-for-profits and we are delighted to be able to offer their staff a free course.

If you know of a charity or not-for-profit that might benefit from a pro-bono course, please encourage them to get in touch and spread the word by linking to this post.



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