Industry News

Social Media Versus Search

It seems like it’s impossible to get away from articles nowadays that start with the phrase “In these hard economic times…” But gear up for another, because in these hard economic times, companies are looking for any excuse to yield revenue and cut costs. Perhaps that accounts for part of the reason social media tactics are so very popular right now.

After all, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace can disseminate information about your company’s products and services in a quick and (most importantly) free way. And this ability has many touting this means of marketing as the next best thing.

But there’s also something to be said for holding off on any fad that simply seems too good to be true. After all, any new marketing efforts require time and energy. Even if there isn’t any money required upfront, there is still the necessary dedication of manpower. And this can be viewed as tantamount to expense, because time is most certainly money. As such, before you or your company launches an organized social media effort, make sure it’s right for your business and make sure your business is ready for that kind of campaign.
(more…)

Google Health Announces New Improvements, Raises Old Concerns

It was only a matter of time before our medical records and medical histories teamed up with the internet. And not surprisingly, Google led the way with their Google Health beta program.

Launched in May 2008 to the public, the program is intended to offer users more control over the management of their medical records and other medical dealings. To that end, Google Health allows users to keep prescriptions and test results in a more organized and accessible format. And perhaps the most prominent feature is that users can now import all (or some) of their medical records into their account.

Signing up simply requires a general Google account. Seeing as the hallmark of many Google programs is their user-friendly nature, Google Health doesn’t disappoint. Logging into your Health account just requires your general Google account password.

Offering the edge on real-time medical information, the latest update to Google Health is new software allowing personal medical devices to stream data directly into your account.
(more…)

Taking Down the eBay Machine

When eBay was first introduced to the online community, it truly revolutionized the way people viewed working from home. In a post-eBay era, it suddenly became a very real possibility for people to pull in a little extra cash simply by dishing off household leftovers. But as the company grew more and more popular, the higher ups grew more and more greedy. Raising their listing fees and other associated fees, users grew increasingly alienated.

With the advent of Craigslist and other less fee-driven sites, users began seeking viable eBay alternatives. While many sites cropped up claiming to be the next eBay rival, they tended to be plagued by scammers and questionable sellers. (Who wants to pay $100 for poorly made Christian Louboutin rip-offs?)
(more…)

Google Earth: Helping Us View Earth in a Whole New Way

Making its debut in the middle of 2005, Google Earth was an innovative virtual globe that allowed users to view satellite images of almost anywhere in the world. Seeing the roof of your house or your car in the driveway after zooming in from the earth as a whole was certainly a unique and exciting thrill, but after the initial appeal wore off, users began to draw a collective yawn.

Clambering for more exciting features, the latest version of Google Earth has finally arrived. Labeled Google Earth 5.0, the most prominent update is the addition of an ocean. While older versions of the program had a vague blue section that everyone accepted as the ocean, this new version features the ability to actually dip below the ocean surface. Users can now view the layout of the sea floor in 3D, and they can also view accompanying videos of ocean life, ocean expedition logs, and more.
(more…)

If You Want to be as Successful as Obama

With the world watching Obama on inauguration day, it was inevitable that people would carefully analyze his speech from a variety of different angles. But I’m sure not even his young, hotshot speechwriter Jon Favreau (sorry, not Mikey of Swingers fame) foresaw that Obama’s speech would offer some helpful insight into all of our future online content.

With it well known that politicians are the kings and queens of rhetoric, what techniques of theirs can we implement into our own work?

The Hook

It’s no mystery that any good piece of writing has to hook the audience right away. For Obama, this meant utilizing language that kept us hanging on his every sentence. If-then clauses kept us asking a collective, “If what?” (See a shameless example in this article’s headline.)

In terms of online writing, pose a question in your headline. With all the numerous blog posts and articles out there, there has to be something to set your article apart. And if the headline can already get your audience thinking and asking questions, you have a significant leg up on your competition.
(more…)

The King of Search

It’s hard to even imagine the internet without the aid of search engines. Whether you’re looking for a piece of trivia or you’re looking for a new website, search engines are the main way we navigate the virtual world. And within this world of search, one name stands far and above all the others—Google.

So popular is the Google monolith that it is practically synonymous with search itself. After all, what other search engines have warranted the creation of a verb? After enough time, users became so accustomed to “googling” something that Merriam-Webster responded with the addition of google, a verb meaning the use of the engine to acquire information.

But what exactly made Google such a commanding force in search engines? Official representatives of the company explained that it was Google’s speed that set it apart from its competition. Recognizing that Google itself was merely a middleman used to get people from point A to point B, Google devoted its time and energy into yielding the fastest search results and offering those results in an easy-to-use interface that got people to other sites and on their way.
(more…)

Yahoo Makes Cuts and Company Changes

Yahoo is one of the most established internet presences, and this has been a busy week for the online-centered business. While one move represents a company improvement, another feels like a step backwards.

The first change marks the company’s concerted effort to improve the spam filter on its mail service. Spearheading the campaign is Mark Risher, who has been aptly named the “anti-spam czar.” The new effort teams Yahoo’s research department with several universities in order to more effectively block spam in its mail service. Even with this new effort, Yahoo still urges their mail users to manually mark when spam messages get through to the inbox or legitimate messages get sent to the spam folder with the “spam” or “not spam” buttons.

The second company change actually speaks to the larger economic climate. After recently opening a research and development facility in France, Yahoo has announced that roughly 20% of the French department will receive the dreaded pink slip. These announced layoffs will reduce the French department from 251 employees to 199 employees.

Digg Users Don’t Dig Digg

Sure. Digg’s heart might be in the right place, but in practice, does the system fall short? That’s the argument made by many Digg users who are having more than a little trouble getting their news stories seen or heard on the user-generated news site.

Digg was originally established in response to the mainstream media, which many felt did not portray or distribute news according to what would actually benefit or educate users. They also had complaints about the powerful systems of people (and companies) that control these news outlets.

But it seems that Digg has just become a smaller approximation of that very system. Because users’ stories gain popularity based on user reviews, the “powerdiggers” (those who have accrued a powerful network of fellow diggers) are much more likely for their stories to be seen, read, and shared.
(more…)

SEM Opportunities Untapped In China

In the United States we have a tendency to think we are the most technologically, politically, and socially advanced. But, as far as internet use goes, Americans aren’t logging on as often as Chinese users. With 253 million internet users, China recently surpassed the United States with the world’s largest web population. The Chinese also have another edge on American web users – they have more fun online.

A recent survey of 2,500 web users from 16 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, China, Korea, and Australia found that China’s users were more likely than others to describe web-based activities like blogging, posting on message boards, reading forums, and watching online videos as “fun.” Chinese web users are also more active in their internet use than users from other countries. “Web 2.0 is far more advanced in Asia, and in China, than in the U.S. and Europe,” said Bernice Klaasen, head of interactive research at TNS Media Intelligence Singapore. “In Western countries, about 1% of users create content online, about 10% participate through methods like comments or discussions, and the rest are lurkers.”
(more…)

Climbing the SEO Pyramid

There’s little doubt that SEO campaigns have become more prevalent and more dynamic in the recent past. And while nothing can guarantee the success of your business, there are certainly steps you can take to increase your chances of exposure.

With that in mind, there has been the creation of the SEO pyramid. Offering the necessary steps for SEO success in a level by level form, the rendering of this kind of campaign can be basic or it can be more detailed. But either way, the basic principle remains the same.

For any company that is looking into utilizing an organized SEO campaign, there are several required elements: commitment, keyword research, content, link building, and management.
(more…)