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Be a more effective Google User October 24, 2015

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Social Media.
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Every time we surf the web, we use a search engine at least once. Go to your favorite search engine web site, enter a phrase or two and select a result on what you are looking for. Typical scenario, right? A search engine might even be the default web site whenever you open up a browser. While the search engines have vastly improved and have been in use a long time, are you searching beyond the basics? Are you aware of ways to improve the results, hone your search technique? Maybe it’s time for a refresher on the ways to search.

Infogrpahic GooglePowerUserWhich calls for an infographic – love the use of these to convey lots of information visually. This is a great visual from the folks at daily infographic.

A few of the search tips to be a more effective user include:

Quotes – to search for an exact phrase, use quotes around that text as in “exact phrase“.

Search on a particular site – to restrict results to a specific site, enter the search word(s) then add site: as in site:this_site_only.com.

Search for a particular file type – add filetype with a colon and then the suffix. Example : filetype:doc

Search with keywords – Insert keywords such as define, translate or movies in front of the search term.

You can view the complete list of ways to use Google search as the Guide is a great reference. Refer to that page  for more on ways to make searching more effective. Part 3 of that guide talks about search tools specifically.

Once you start to use and master these techniques, your search results will improve and search time will be shorter.

Share a favorite or two of yours and I will post a summary. Maybe you will find this post in your search results.

Happy searching!

 

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Ruminations on 5 Future Trends in Content Marketing May 9, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in E-Commerce, Trends.
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Today, I came across this presentation on SlideShare that enumerates five trends in B2B marketing. The presentation is titled ‘The Future of Content Marketing: 5 Beyonds‘ and I hope the link works for you. There is a lot of great insight here along with humor and some foul language for those easily offended. I hope the message resonates with you and I’m glad to see someone talking about moving the state of the art for content marketing forward.

Here is a brief summary of the 5 Beyonds mentioned and my comments.

1) Beyond Guttenberg – we continue to use print as the reference for content marketing. Move on! We have smart phones, tablets – all this computing power at our fingertips to present static content. I think responsive web sites will accelerate this change to present more dynamic content.

2) Beyond Search – Let Google change the SEO algorithms. You need to build a community around the brand. SEO Moz is mentioned as a great example. Well deserved shout out and kudos to Rand and the team.

3) Beyond One Size fits All –  About time. Gets to the 1st beyond as well. Dynamic and personal content. B2C is already doing this and so is banner ads. Show that you know me and present content that is of interest to me. Not the masses. Having a personalized experience also provides motivation to come back.

4) Beyond Teaching – Don’t just explain it. Provide a way to use it.

5) Beyond Faceless Brands – Put your name on it. And your face. Establishing a relationship aligns with the community concept and builds credibility and authenticity.

The Future of Content Marketing: 5 Beyonds from Velocity Partners

When you flip through the deck, you will find that there are more than 5 beyonds. As a tease, there actually are 10 and I’m not going to list them here…use the link above. I will mention that I do like the implications of content islands and platform silos.

Thanks to Velocity Partners for sharing.

For those that take B2B marketing seriously (and, of course you should), this should stir some ideas of your own. What take-aways do you have? How does your B2B strategy align with these trends? Will it change your approach?

Ruminations on optimum SEO April 24, 2012

Posted by Edwin Ritter in SEO.
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Let’s agree first off that you can never fully optimize a web site. As the site changes, revising the search engine ‘spider-food‘ occurs at the same time and is always a good thing. Second, let’s also acknowledge that every so often, google makes changes to its’ search algorithm. Keeping your site visible to the search engines and aligned to the latest algorithm is all for the good.

But, you don’t want too much of a good thing. As the search algorithm changes and sites are re-indexed using the new criteria, having an over-optimized site may not provide the results you had in the past, or, want going forward. In fact, sites that are not changed may see a penalty.

I recently found this video from SEOmoz* that lists 6 ways to avoid over optimizing a site for SEO :

  1. Be authentic – simple and easy but not always common.
  2. Manipulative internal links – don’t do that.
  3. Link filled footers – don’t do that either.
  4. Text blocks aimed at search engines – yeah, don’t and what a bad user experience.
  5. Back links from non-reputable sources – another black hat technique**
  6. Large amounts of pages targeting similar links – keep it simple.

*SEOmoz is a great resource for organic SEO tips, tools and best practices. Each week, they post a video in their ‘White Board Friday (WBF)’ series.

**Black Hat SEO involves the worst practices and techniques frowned on by the search engines. White Hat SEO is good and rewarded. Always wear a white hat while practicing SEO. And, goggles.

Avoid the penalty. Put on your White hat and check if your site(s) are over-optimized.

Search Basics for Images October 18, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Baby steps here on ways to improve SEO results with images. I have ruminated before on communicating sans words.   Improving search result with your images can be achieved by adding a few meta terms.

Here is a recent post from SEOMoz on somebasic ways to improve search results for images. The video clip talks about the following SEO topics:

  1. File Name – descriptive
  2. Duration – specify how long the video is
  3. Alt Text – variation summary
  4. Surrounding text – brief overview about the piece

Metrics can be collected on each of the topics above. Also, you can collect data on various forms of engagement

  1. # watched only the beginning
  2. # watched to the middle
  3. # watched entire clip

While not a great embedd, as an alternative to the above link, you can use the link to watch the White Board Friday video :

 

http://seomoz-cdn.wistia.com/flash/embed_player_v1.1.swf

// SEOmoz – SEO Software

Using YouTube for SEO research October 8, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Interesting take on using a well known resource in ways you may not think of. Turns out that YouTube can be a great source for SEO keyword research. With so much information posted to YouTube every day, it actually makes sense to use as a keyword rich resource. Here is article that walks through the process. Note that it was posted on SEOMoz by a member, not one of the staff.

Clearly thinking outside the box here to use a great resource in another way.  I like the way the research can also be used to define the site hieararchy. Here is a tangible benefit of the research so clients can understand the benefit or keyword research.

Also, it’s fun to say to your boss “I’m doing research while watching YouTube”.

Manage your local business listing to improve SEO October 7, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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When it comes to boosting your local search results, having an active business listing is easily overlooked. Business owners can use these ‘interactive yellow pages’ to improve customer awareness. This can be a great word of mouth (WOM) referral for new business. Here is a recent article from SEJ that talks about what to do after you list your business.

For the small business owner, managing your business search results is protecting your interests. Make sure it is on your SEO to do list. If you don’t have the time or experience, hire someone to assist you.

Google Instant Search – It’s new and it’s improved. Is it different? September 17, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Any time google does something, people notice. And, people talk about it. True to form, when google instant recently started a phased release, the digerati posted numerous articles about it. One amusing aspect from these is the reaction people have to this enhanced search capability. I’m sure you have seen or heard some of the exaggerations:

  • It’s a game changer!
  • It will end search as we know it!
  • There is no need to do SEO anymore!

Easy, now. This is not that big of a change. While the search experience using google instant is improved, it is not a quantum change. In fact, it is more of the same, only faster.

google instant search image

shot of google instant

One benefit with google instant that I like is the predictive set of results shown while typing. While some results are laughable, many are close, if not exactly the term sought. This is how your time is saved while searching. For searchers, the speed increase is the biggest impact – it decreases the time spent on search by a lot. But, the actual results and mechanics involved on how to get ranked for SEO terms does not change.

I think google instant will improve our search habits. It will encourage us to be more selective in terms used and symbiotically this will lead to improved results shown. We will be smarter in use of search and so will the google search index.

I saw this article that succinctly talks about the impact and what it really means for businesses going forward. Check it out and share it the next time you hear someone say google instant means we don’t have to do SEO anymore.

Currently, google provides the option to dis-able using instant. So search can be the same as it ever was. I suspect that once you get used to the increased speed, you will always use instant. And, when using other search engines, showing the results will seem s-l-o-w-e-r, zzzzzz.

Are bookmarks passe? January 12, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Someone once said to me “I don’t remember things, I remember how to look them up”. At the time, I thought it was an interesting way to organize information. On the web, bookmarks are an electronic equivalent. You don’t need to remember the exact URL, only the name of the bookmark. I may not remember even a shorthand URL address, but I know I can look it up if I save it as a bookmark.

In the frontier days of the internet, bookmarks were a wonderful way to manage the growing number of sites you wanted to visit on a regular basis. Browsers were very strict on the URL format – capitals mattered. As browsers upgraded, you ‘ported’ your bookmarks for use with the latest version. You did not want to lose that list! That bookmark list had lots of valuable sites listed the accumulated over time. As other browsers were introduced, they included a way to import your bookmarks from another browser. Thus, users came to expect Netscape and IE could import bookmarks from each other.

Other browsers came and went as the web grew up. Here’s a great list of browser comparisons from wikipedia. Netscape is gone of course. Moved to the web’s bit bucket / recycle  bin. It is not a surprise that today, IE is the browser used most often.  Mozilla’s FireFox is 2nd and Safari rounds out the top three. The good news is that all three are supported on PC and MAC platforms. Every day, I use FF, Safari, IE  and Chrome as well (and, in that order). If I don’t have the URL in the history of one browser, I fire up another browser and copy the URL from that one. I hear you – why do that? Well, I like to see how sites support each browser. Also, some sites dictate what browser to use as they are coded only for type (e.g. – card game sites want IE).

Today, browser upgrades are routinely easy with bookmarks, along with your other setting, automatically migrated. They grow up so fast, don’t they? Now, you don’t have to be exact on the URL.  With the advent of browser history and cookies, the browser will fill-in the URL for you. Like that feature a lot and use it often. Of course, that doesn’t work so well if you use multiple devices. Or, if you use a device shared by others, as in, say, the Public Library.

I have bookmarks from sites that I regularly visited in the mid-90’s. Fun to reminisce once in a while. Not sure if many of them exist anymore. If the urge struck me, I have the URL to visit their site.

So it occurred to me the other day – when did I last use a bookmark? Seems like a long time. I don’t check my bookmarks anymore. Instead, I will use a search engine to find a web site. I let google or yahoo or bing do the walking, to mix metaphors. Maybe my friend was right. Remembering how to look up things is better. Previously, bookmarks did that. But I think their usefulness has declined. I know there are sites like digg and delicious that save URLs and serve as a ‘bookmark’ to share in the clouds. I have accounts on those sites and post URL there often. So I use bookmarks but now they are public.

I submit that the common web behavior is to use a search engine over a bookmark. Seems so much easier to type in a term and pick a site from the ever changing list. Another change I have made is I would exchange bookmarks with others vis email. Today, I tell them ‘use this phrase’ to search on and pick a site from that list. Search engine use is now so common that ‘google’ is a verb and was recently cited as the word of the decade.

How’s your mileage with bookmarks lately? Are the passe? Will they be an artifact of using the web during its’ frontier days?