Online Marketing News: Who is Matt? Yammer Runs The Numbers, Marketing Infographics 101, Setting Goals = Success

Where the Hell is Matt?
If you haven’t heard of Matt before, you are in for a treat. �In 2003 Matt decided to leave his job and travel around Asia until he ran out of money. �Matt began making videos of himself��dancing, very badly. �His videos caught the attention of Stride gum who asked Matt if he would like to take another trip around the world, on their dime. �Suddenly Matt’s videos went viral. �Matt now travels all over the world dancing and interacting with people from all walks of life.

Facebook to Debut Real-Time Bidding on Advertising Prices
Facebook is following in the footsteps of companies like Google and will begin rolling out real-time bidding for advertising on their site. �Apparently this new technology will help companies more effectively target their ads to consumers. �With the staggering drop in Facebook’s worth over the past few weeks, do you think this will turn their ship around? �Via Bloomberg Businessweek.

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing with Infographics
Looking to incorporate infographics as a part of you online marketing strategy but don’t know where to begin? �Look no further. �This post provides some great insight into determining what people want to collecting your data and translating that into a graphic. �Via Unbounce.

Twitter Takes Center Stage At Enterprise 2.0
Once thought of as the red headed step child of social media, Twitter has emerged as one of the leading social networks for both B2C and B2B companies. �The majority of social buzz for conferences now happens on Twitter under the event hashtag. �Twitter commentary and photos have become a way for audience members to interact with each other, as well as a means for their other contacts not in attendance to gain insight into the event. � Via InformationWeek.

Microsoft to Buy Yammer
Yammer’s private social network fetched a price of $1.2 billion in it’s agreed sale price to Microsoft Corporation. �It is still unclear as to when this�acquisition�will be completed. �Could it be that Microsoft is attempting to add a social element to their�existing�Microsoft Office suite? �Via The Wall Street Journal.

3 Simple Goals You Must Set to Succeed
What is that saying? �If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will get you there. �According to this article there are three vital questions that companies must ask themselves in order to succeed. �Curious to know what they are? �Via Inc.

News From The Top(Rank) Team

Kodi Osmond -�How Big Data is Fundamentally Changing Local Search
It�s no secret that the internet has shaped the way we access and share everything.� Thanks to massive user data collected via Chrome, Google+ and others, Google will be able to make far more accurate inferences about content quality vs. the big content cornerstone authorities of yore. Beyond the legacy sites and without knowing the algorithmic changes to come, this article on Search Engine Watch sheds insight on how significantly and immediately these changes influence the local search experience. �Via Search Engine Watch.

Brian Larson -�Walk Before You Run in Social
While here at TopRank we are fortunate to work with forward thinking clients that have embraced social media marketing, the reality is there are a lot of businesses that have yet to leverage this powerful medium. For those businesses, it�s important to start with the basics so that they can establish a social infrastructure needed to drive real growth and participation. Social Media Examiner shares 3 helpful tips for getting started in this post from Jim Belosic. �Via Social Media Examiner.

Shawna Kenyon -�How to Get More Likes, Shares on Facebook
A study done by social media expert Dan Zarrella analyzes which posts garner the most likes shares and comments on Facebook. �Results showed users were most likely to respond to a photo, which is no surprise. What was interesting was that they also prefer�posts written in the first person using �I� or �me� � a tactic that doesn�t work so well on Twitter. �For a full look at which posts do best, check out the infographic in this article. �Via Mashable.

Time to Weigh In: What do you think it is about Matt’s videos that give them that “viral” quality? �Are you excited or disappointed in Facebook’s new advertising strategy? �Is your team on board with Twitter and how does your team use this platform as a means of engaging clients?

The Things That Facebook Causes, According To Google, Yahoo & Bing

I had a good chuckle over the news yesterday that Facebook apparently has caused an increase in syphilis (or not). So reported the Daily Telegraph, which turns around today to add that to a list of other things Facebook supposedly causes, such as cancer or a surge in rickets. Anything missing? How about asking Google, Yahoo and Bing.

NOTE: A special welcome to our visitors from Facebook! For more stories from us on search, delivered via Facebook, become a fan of our Search Engine Land page!

All those search engines automatically suggest things to search for, as you begin typing. The suggestions come from looking at their records of popular searches that are being done by millions of people. So wondering what many people think that Facebook causes? Just type that in and see what suggestions come up!

On Google, it’s like this:

Going down that list, we learn

Facebook causes divorceFacebook causes application[this confused me at first. It's probably the Facebook Causes application, says Marshall Kirkpatrick ]Facebook causes depressionFacebook causes donations [hey, something positive!]Facebook causes internet explorer to crash[clearly unfair to investor and partner Microsoft]Facebook causes app [probably to crash]Facebook causes jealousyFacebook causes problems[see, Facebook is the universal cause of all problems]Facebook causes statistics [probably stats on things that Facebook causes]Facebook causes cancer [it was in the Daily Mail; it must be true]

Over at Yahoo, we get many of the same things:

Facebook again causes issues such as problems, divorce, cancer and depression. But we also get new things that Facebook causes:

Facebook causes affairsFacebook causes breakupsFacebook causes jealouslyFacebook causes reentryFacebook causes non profits

I’m not sure what reentry might mean. Perhaps a reentry into a new relationship after all those breakups? “Facebook causes non profits” is fascinating? Causes them to succeed? To suffer? To emerge out of nowhere? Or as Angie Pascale suggests, maybe its people looking for a list of non-profits that use the Facebook Causes application.

Bing’s boring as a crystal ball into what people might think Facebook causes, listing only divorce:

By the way, people searching for the things that Facebook causes has reached a new high, at least according to Google Trends, which shows the volume of searches over time that have happened containing those two words:

Part of that increase may be people who are simply looking for “Facebook Causes,” as in the application. But that chart includes any search with the words “facebook causes,” so other things are mixed in.

Keep in mind that what people search for isn’t an indicator that something is actually true. People searching for something like “Facebook causes cancer” may have heard a rumor and are trying to find out more.

Enjoyed this story? To keep up with more like this on Facebook, become a fan of our Search Engine Land page!

SES NY Session: 3 Tips to Successful Analytics

A full house was in attendance for this SES NY session in which panelists discussed how to squeeze the most out of analytics and turn data into action.

Specifically, Avinash Kaushik, Author, Blogger, Analytics Evangelist from Google shared the following.

3 Tips to Getting More out of Analytics

1. Measure bounce rate

As Avinash described this is essentially when someone comes to your website, vomits and leaves. OR in a less disgusting but not as funny way this is a visitor who having not found what they were looking for left the site immediately.

Be sure to measure bounce rates to understand the number of individuals who are abandoning the website. While some of the traffic will be irrelevant and therefore always likely to bounce, the majority are bouncing because the information they want (while it may be on your website) is not at their fingertips.

Reduce bounce rates by trying the following:

a. Stop sending traffic to the home page. It doesn't make sense and it doesn't work. Please listen to your online marketing consultants and update programs accordingly.

b. Create unique landing pages. While sending traffic to product pages is better than the home page, it's still not ideal. Create a page that is specific to what the visitor searched on.

i.e. If someone searches on tulip bouquets and they click on your Ad, they should be taken to a unique landing page about tulip bouquets, not a general page displaying all the kinds of floral bouquets you offer.

To be quite honest, this person does care about daisies. If they did, they would have searched for daisies. If you make it difficult for your visitor to find the tulips, they are going to hit the back button and find your competitor.

2. Stop the Ego Bids

Don't define your keywords based on what you want to rank for. Define your keywords based on what phrases convert. Last time I checked, the warm fuzzy feeling of an ego ranking doesn't pay the bills.

Help whoever is behind the ego keyword bidding understand the money the company is missing out on by going after ego keywords and you should be able to overcome this hurdle.

3. Experiment or Go Home

Don't let the Hippos get you down! Everyone needs to be testing variations of the campaign.

A hippo, defined as HIghest Paid Person's Opinion, can often drive the direction of a campaign even against best practices.

The way to create change is to love your hippo (internal or client side), understand the thought process behind his/her direction for the campaign and then work on a compromise.

And testing is just the way to accomplish this. Use A/B testing to find out what visitors respond to. Test by sending 75% of the traffic to the Hippo page and 25% to the test page.

Monitor and measure results to determine which ad and/or landing page drives the most conversions. If it’s the test page then you have the data to back up making a change.

At the end of the day, web analytics should be leveraged to help the business make more money.
Determine what metrics are going to help achieve this goal and then measure, report and refine.

Once Again, Bing Rumored To Become Default Search On iPhone

Citing unnamed sources TechCrunch is reporting that Bing will take over the role of default search provider on the Safari browser in the new iPhone OS. These rumors aren’t exactly new and we’ve written and speculated about them before:

Report: Microsoft And Apple Discuss Making Bing Default Engine On The iPhoneApple CEO: Google Wants To “Kill The iPhone”Microsoft Earnings Beat Estimates Online Services Post Loss, More On Bing And The iPhone

However if Microsoft and Apple have reached such an agreement — the speculation is that Google pays roughly $100 million annually for the privilege today — it would be a strange and even remarkable turn of events.

Microsoft has been willing in the past to use its checkbook in its search battle with Google. For example, the company has�successfully�outbid Google and won “default” search deals with HP, Dell and Verizon. In the Verizon case, the informed speculation is that Redmond paid more than $500 million in revenue guarantees and other incentives to Verizon to secure the deal, which is wide ranging and involves both mobile search and display advertising.

Arguably a default iPhone search deal would be quite a bit more valuable than�Microsoft’s�deal with Verizon, which is busy promoting and building the brand of rival Android.

Continuing with this speculative line of argument, Microsoft’s willingness to top Google’s payments to Apple and Apple’s desire to be less entwined with Google may have combined (if TechCrunch is correct) to yield this new outcome. As they say, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

What a crazy and ironic situation if true: Apple and Microsoft teaming up against Google.

Considering that the iPhone deal established and then cemented Google’s position in mobile search it’s a substantial loss, although now Google sees the iPhone primarily as competition for Android. And Google may feel that it no longer needs the iPhone given the rise of Android.

For Microsoft, it’s a potentially huge deal and could boost the company’s visibility and search share in mobile. The iPhone Bing app has been quite popular and is a significant driver of mobile queries for Redmond. Of course it all remains to be seen.

We’ve asked for official comment from Microsoft and Google but don’t expect anything of substance at this point — leaving us to wait until June 7, or perhaps longer.

Update: An official Microsoft spokesperson said that the company won’t comment on “rumors and speculation.” However�I just had an exchange with a Microsoft “insider” who is highly skeptical of the truth of the rumor.

Update 2: Another Microsoft spokesperson said the following:

With respect to the iPhone rumor, this is the third go-around with this�particular rumor, and we’ve been consistent in saying that we’re not�commenting.

Update 3: TechCrunch now has updated its story to say new sources explain the situation is “more complicated” than Bing becoming the default provider. Meanwhile at AllThingsD, Kara Swisher reports that the talks seem to be about including Bing as an option on the iPhone, not as a replacement to Google.

For related news, see Techmeme.

Search Marketing Blogs Update 060807

Another fine harvest of search engine marketing blogs this week with some chicks, some Danish and ClearSaleing.

SEO Chicks – Julie Joyce, Lisa Ditlefsen and Anita Chaperon are women, or as they prefer to be called, “chicks” who know SEO and PPC. They decided after a few beers during a London conference that it was time to get some female attitude into the SEO & SEM blogosphere and here they are with lots of great photos from the recent SMX conference.TwentySix2 Marketing Blog – Katy Orell and John Waddy of TewntySix2 have joined the search marketing blogosphere offering a nice mix of tips, tactics and industry commentary.Mikkel deMib Svendsen – I have no idea what this blog is “really” about because it’s in Danish and my 9 months in Denmark 14 years ago isn’t helping any. What I DO know is Mikkel from many, many search marketing conferences in his signature bright, and I mean bright colored suits talking about some serious online marketing, not just black-gray-white hat search engine optimization. If you do speak Danish, I’m sure you’re in for a treat. Tak!ClearSaleing Blog – I came upon this search marketing agency blog indirectly and found it to be chock full of great posts with practical advice and clear insight from people who know what they’re talking about without all the pomp and circumstance you see on the prima donna SEO blogs. Well done!

Feel free to add the BIGLIST badge to your blog!

4 Tips to Create a Viral Video

Many people have a skewed concept that viral videos are random, that the virality of a video is based on luck. But viral content isn’t random.

The factors affecting virality have a lot to do with the connection between the content and the respondent, according to an April 2012 study found in the Journal of Marketing research Vol. XLIX, by the American Marketing Association.

The biggest factor connected to virality in this study was the level of arousal the content induced. It also looked at the affect of positive content versus negative content, and how all of these factors link together to create viral content.

There are two types of arousal: high and low. High arousal can be content that is positive or negative, while low arousal is characterized by creating sadness or relaxation.

1. Arouse Your Viewer

“Positive and negative emotions characterized by activation or arousal (i.e., awe, anxiety, and anger) are positively linked to virality, while emotions characterized by deactivation (i.e., sadness) are negatively linked to virality,” according to the American Marketing Association.

In other words, content that creates high arousal with a viewer is more likely to be viral than content that creates low arousal. High arousal was the key content virality factor in this study.

In this study, one standard deviation increase in the amount of awe content induced, their chance of being viral increased by 34 percent. Similarly, with one standard deviation increase in the amount of anger content induced, their chance of virality increased by 30 percent.

Focus your video on creating high-arousal emotions with a user. The more viewers feel, the better!

2. Sad is Bad

Contrary to popular belief, when content evokes more of the sadness emotion (or low activation), it is less likely to be shared. The more sadness the content induces, the less arousal it activates, and the less likely it is to be viral.

Although the general thought is usually that evoking more emotion of any kind leads to more engaging content, therefore fueling virality, this isn’t the case. Increasing the amount of sadness content evokes is less viral than content geared to increase awe or anxiety (high-arousal emotions).

Stay away from video content formed around low-activation emotions like sadness or relaxation. Go big or go home!

3. Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Another great aspect of viral content: the more positive and upbeat it is, the more likely it is to become viral. Although more positive and negative extremes in content have a greater chance to become viral, positive content trumps the negative.

What do the results of this study tell us? People shared content more often when it was positive! Positive is more viral than negative, hands down.

If choosing between whether a video should be of a more positive or negative nature, always default to positive content!

4. Negative as a Positive

Don’t assume that all negative content will give you negative results. Negative content can be viral too! Even though positive content is more viral, negative content is also linked to higher virality.

Videos that induce anxiety or anger are more often shared by users. Something evoking shock, like a high-speed car chase or an intense fight, creates high-arousal or activation.

This data tells us that your negative video can go viral. Don’t back away from sharing the negative just because positive content is a little more viral.


Focus on creating high-arousal emotions in your video (awe, anxiety, anger, happiness, etc). Stay away from content formed around low-arousal emotions (sadness, relaxation). Default to using positive content more frequently than negative – but don't rule out negative content, as it's still linked to virality, though it’s a step below positive.

Oh, and one final tidbit: did you know content written by women was shown to be more viral than content written by men?

Become an Expert Digital Marketer at SES New York
March 25-28, 2013: With dozens of sessions on Search, Social, Local and Mobile, you'll leave SES with everything and everyone you need to know. Hurry, early bird rates expire February 21. Register today!

Google Could Make $5 Billion From Paid Search Ads on Tablets in 2013

Click-through rates and conversion rates on tablets rose sharply in 2012, and a new report from Marin Software projects tablets will account for 20 percent of Google’s paid search ad clicks in the U.S. – and about $5 billion in revenue.

Overall, the share of paid search clicks from mobile devices rose around the world in 2012, and people are more engaged with search results when they're mobile, according to Marin.

The State of Mobile Search around the Globe 2013, an annual report, analyzed more than $4 billion in paid search spend by brands and advertisers in 13 countries. Most of Marin’s clients are large advertisers spending more than $100,000 per month on paid search.

Analyzing the average CTR across devices, Marin found CTRs for smartphones were 107 percent higher than desktops computers, while tablet CTRs were 37 percent higher. At the same time, cost-per-click was lower on mobile: smartphones clicks were approximately 36 percent cheaper than desktop clicks, and tablet clicks were about 17 percent cheaper.

But the bargains won't last, especially with Google's enhanced campaigns on the way, which will eliminate any difference between tablet and desktop CPCs later this year. CPCs on tablets and smartphones increased 25 percent and 13 percent respectively during 2012, while CPCs on computers increased approximately 9 percent.

Conversion rates for smartphones were lower than for tablets and desktops, while conversions on tablet devices improved 31 percent in 2012, compared to 9 percent for smartphones and 7 percent for computers. Marin noted, however, that many smartphone conversions likely take place in physical stores, as consumers search for products or locations on their phones before traveling to the store to buy.

In the U.S., Marin Software clients saw an increase in paid search clicks coming from Google, accounting for 23.4 percent in 2012, up from 14.2 percent the previous year.

Marin's US customers increased their mobile search spending by 85 percent in 2012, from 10 percent to 18.4 percent. The company says that mobile devices will account for one-third of paid search clicks and one-third of search budgets by December 2013.

In the UK, Google's share of paid clicks from mobiles increased 65 percent, while in Europe, the increase was even greater, increasing from 5.9 percent to 14.5 percent. UK advertisers increased their share of search budget on smart mobile devices from 9.94 percent to 19.32 percent last year, an increase of 94 percent, while Eurozone advertisers upped their investment in mobile search from 4.8 percent to 11.8 percent of paid search budgets, an increase of 146 percent.

Mobile CTRs were higher than for desktops in the UK and Europe. In the UK, average clickthrough rate for phones was 5.8 percent, compared to 4.78 percent in Europe. UK tablet CTR was 3.93 percent, with 4.8 percent CTR on tablets in the rest of Europe.

Unlike in the US, mobile costs per click are rising, with tablet CPCs increasing an average of 36 percent in the UK and 24 percent in Europe. (Marin noted that some of this could be due to currency fluctuations.)

Rising CPCs could be the result of better mobile conversion rates in these regions. While desktops and laptops still offered the best conversion rates, in Europe, tablet conversion rates of 1.5 percent almost equal those of desktops at 1.8 percent, with phones lagging at .5 percent. Again, Marin noted that smartphone conversions are likely under-reported.

In the rest of the world, Marin analyzed Google search data and found that mobile's share of paid search clicks was highest in Australia (21 percent), Japan (16.2 percent) and Singapore (22.5 percent). While advertisers' spending on paid mobile search in Singapore was close to on par with CTRs, at 22.5 percent of total budget, other countries had not caught up.

The report noted that optimizing mobile ads and handling them separately from other paid search campaigns can give marketers more control over campaigns and increase overall performance.

This article was originally published on ClickZ.

Become an Expert Digital Marketer at SES New York
March 25-28, 2013: With dozens of sessions on Search, Social, Local and Mobile, you'll leave SES with everything and everyone you need to know. Hurry, early bird rates expire February 21. Register today!

Is Google Buzz Dead Already?

Where’s the buzz on Google Buzz? According to online ad network Chitika, the buzz is gone, dead. Chitika says this is true both in general web searches, as well as search activity across its network of 80,000 sites.

Chitika’s blog post explains more, with numbers from its own network:

February 9th, 2010 � the day Buzz was launched � the search engines lit up with queries. The Chitika network saw about 1,500 searches that day for the term “Google Buzz,” approximately 15 times the number of searches for “Twitter.”

However, those searches dropped off quickly � on February 10th, there were 580 searches; on the 11th, 147. From the 12th on � only three days removed from Buzz’s much-hyped launch � searches for Google Buzz failed to break three digits, and in most cases elicited less than 10 searches per day.

Chitika also points out that Google’s own Insights for Search research tool tells a similar story. Here’s a comparison showing Twitter and Google Buzz web search activity around the world over the past 90 days. (Twitter is the blue line, Google Buzz the red.)

That’s general web search. Insights for Search also shows the same trend using its News Search filter — for a brief time at its launch, Google Buzz saw more news search activity than Twitter, but interest in Buzz is all but gone now.

And at the risk of piling on, even Google Trends shows the same pattern.

Google Buzz launched last month and immediately garnered a variety of reactions from users — some good, some bad, and some that eventually prompted Google to apologize and make changes to how Buzz works. But the ultimate feedback might be happening now, in the form of the web’s decreasing interest in the product overall.

Then again, it may just be that Facebook and Twitter have entrenched themselves as the dominant and almost unassailable leaders in social networking. Both have faced their share of challengers, and so far, have fended off every one.

Your turn: Are you using Google Buzz? Do you use it more or less than you did when it launched?

Facebook “Search War” With Google Mostly Sound And Fury

The people running Facebook are an ambitious crew; they see Facebook as a successor to Google in many respects. In fact many of the executives used to work at Google, including CTO Bret Taylor, COO Sheryl Sandberg, Advertising VP David Fischer and Communications VP Elliot Schrage, among others.

However as a search property Facebook has, in the past, been almost unusable and no threat to Google or any other search engine. In fact, it has been (so far) a missed opportunity for Facebook partner and investor Microsoft. But Microsoft’s Bing is becoming more prominent on Facebook and the site itself has tried to improve search.

Now the AllFacebook Blog declares that Facebook has declared “war” on Google with an “Open Graph Search Engine” that will create a semantic index of the web (via the Like button) and (eventually) make Facebook search better than Google. Have we thus entered the era of “Facebook SEO”? Should publishers and marketers be optimizing sites for Facebook search and SEO?

Over the past year Facebook has seen growth in search query volumes and has started to approach AOL in terms of overall query volume share, according to comScore. And certainly Facebook search has considerable potential — but that’s still what it is: potential.

AllFacebook shows that non-Facebook sites are now starting to appear and rank in “Facebook” results (as opposed to “Web Results”), as though they were internal Facebook pages — based on how many “Likes” they have:

This is interesting and may begin to create some new user behavior at Facebook, and among publishers/marketers. But Facebook has a long way to go before it can effectively replace Google or any other search engine.

In general the search user experience on Facebook is ambiguous and cluttered. (Marty Weintraub at aimClear details “Facebook Ranking Factors,” which illustrate some of the confusion in Facebook results.) In addition the information available via Facebook search (as opposed to Bing on Facebook) is quite thin right now.

Google, Yahoo and Bing (proper) provide a much more coherent and complete user experience when people really need information.

Has Facebook become an important — even critical — marketing vehicle and promotional tool? Absolutely. Is its search engine going to challenge Google in the near term? Not a chance — at least not without radical change and improvement.

As Danny said to me in an email and a comment on the aimClear blog, “If this is declaring war on Google, Facebook�s starting out by sending a boat against a battle fleet.”

Twitter: How Our New ‘Top Tweets’ Works

As Twitter continues to roll out its new home page, more users — new and old — are being exposed to the new “Top Tweets” feature. As we said yesterday, Top Tweets shows a collection of recent messages that scroll every couple seconds.

That’s what it does, but the bigger question is, How does it work?

For the answer to that question, we went to Twitter’s Chief Scientist, Abdur Chowdhury, who explained that there’s no wizard behind the scenes choosing which tweets to show on the new home page. It’s all algorithmic.

“Top Tweets is a new algorithm we developed that finds tweets that are catching the attention of other users,” he says. “The algorithm looks at all kinds of interactions with tweets including retweets, favorites, and more to identify the tweets with the highest velocity beyond expectations.”

That last bit there is important: “… the tweets with the highest velocity beyond expectations.” Obviously, there’s all kinds of science and computation going on here. Every Twitter user, it seems, has an expected level of attention and interaction for his/her tweets. If a tweet surpasses expectations, it might hit Top Tweets. And while the home page currently seems to focus on celebrity Twitter users, Chowdhury says that shouldn’t always be the case.

“This is intended to highlight Tweets from all users and doesn’t favor those with large follower counts.”

As we mentioned yesterday, Twitter has an @TopTweets account that’s tied to the new home page display. The account retweets a variety of messages in order to use a format that Twitter users already know. “We reuse the existing paradigms of Twitter for our Top Tweets account” Chowdhury says. “So, the interesting tweets we find are retweeted to that account. Thus, people can follow it and get them in a natural way rather than invent a new approach to this.”

The @TopTweets account adds even more to its Favorites. That’s one of Twitter’s most under-utilized functions, yet it’s what feeds the “Top Tweets” on Twitter’s new home page.

“Favorites to this account are posted at a much higher rate than the retweets,” Chowdhury says. “Thus, people can follow the account and get a cool new stream of information they may not have been exposed to without it overwhelming their timeline and allowing people to use favorite widgets.”

Chowdhury also says that Twitter is getting language-specific “to make the tweets more relevant to users.” It identifies Top Tweets in different languages, including Japanese, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

How about the news that Twitter Search itself would gain a most popular tweets feature, someting that Twitter’s dev people have talked about within the past couple weeks? Chowdhury told us that “search will be launching a similar feature soon.”

Learn SEO, Social Media & Digital PR from TopRank

There are many ways for company marketers to advance their knowledge in the digital marketing and PR space. A big part of TopRank’s consulting services are to provide clients with education so they can better implement recommendations and promote the advantages of SEO, Social Media and Optimized PR in house. We’re also active participants towards industry education on these topics through speaking at conferences.

September is the calm before the storm of speaking events for TopRank but October and November are packed with opportunities to learn strategy, hear case studies and understand specific tactics for implementation on the topics of Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing and Online Public Relations. Here are our upcoming events. We hope to see you there:

Oct 5, 2009 – MIMA Summit, Hilton Minneapolis

The Intersection of SEO and Social MediaSuccessful social media efforts build community, better connect brands with customers and can influence both media coverage and increased sales. Yet implementing a social media marketing program without optimizing content for search is literally �leaving money on the table.� Useful social content (blog, video, images, audio and applications) that cannot be discovered via search is a lost opportunity to reach audiences that are looking. Why do so many companies fail to leverage their participation on the social web for SEO? This session will provide specific �Do�s and Don�ts� of social media optimization and provide attendees practical examples of how companies can leverage SEO and social media content to improve their search marketing performance. This is a solo presentation by Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing.

Oct 19, 2009 – DMA09 Conference, San Diego Convention Center

Search Engine Marketing ExperienceIf you�re an in-house marketer that�s frustrated with your current SEO campaign (or new to SEO and need some basic tips), this is the session for you! Thought leaders are on hand to teach you everything you need to succeed with your SEO campaign�from SEO 101 to advanced technical and conversion tips. Two sessions (morning & afternoon) will be led by SEO Copywriting and Content Strategy expert, Heather Lloyd Martin. TopRank CEO Lee Odden will participate in the morning site review session.

Oct 22, 2009 – Digital PR Next Practices Summit, Grand Hyatt New York

Search Engine Marketing, Optimization and How to Write for the WebEvery element of digital communications has its own degree of importance, but there is one thing that consistently ties it all together: Search. In this vein, knowing how to optimize Web content for search is as crucial as knowing how to write Web content that supports your messaging, heightens engagement and meets bottom-line goals. This panel will untangle the Web of confusion surrounding how search engine optimization and marketing actually work; it will also provide you with the tools that will make media professionals and journalists more apt to engage with your brands online. Speakers include Daina Middleton and Lee Odden.

Oct 29, 2009 – MN PRSA Conference, Minneapolis Metropolitan Ballroom, Golden Valley

Breakout sessions on Social Media:
1) Panel discussion on social media � Rick Mahn, Lee Odden, Albert Maruggi & Greg Swan

2)Taking iMarketing to the next level with the intersection of SEO & Social Media for PR� Lee Odden

Nov 7, 2009 – PRSA 2009 International Conference, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina
Looking Ahead: The Nexus of Social Media and Public RelationsWhere do news releases, media training, message development and the tenets of crisis management fit into the new world communications order? A panel of thought-leading professionals shares examples of successful social edia/public relations programs across a range of industries. Learn how to jump-start promising new media tools and channels in your organization and incorporate them with many of the core public relations skills you’ve honed over the years. This panel is moderated by PR industry veteran, Peter Himler this panel includes: Rick Clancy, David Bradfield, Rob Key and Lee Odden.

Help Google Find Your Releases: Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Tactics for Public Relations Professionals
Nine out of 10 journalists, reporters and editors use search engines to do their jobs, according to a recent survey by TopRank Online Marketing. In this environment, public relations professionals must understand the ins and outs of search engine optimization (SEO). Find out how to choose the best key words, optimize your newsroom and press releases, build better links and sell SEO to decision makers. Plus, attendees will learn the No. 1 SEO tactic to implement today. This is a 75 minute workshop by Lee Odden.

Nov 10, 2009 – WebmasterWorld Pubcon, Las Vegas Convention Center
How do Social Media & Search Intersect? – �Does social media prevent the need for search? Does social media play an important role in search? This session will discuss both worlds with moderators Vanessa Fox & Brian Carter plus speakers: Tony Adam, David Wallace, Bill Hartzer and Lee Odden

How SMBs Can Use PR Campaigns to Grow Traffic -�Online PR has become a profound contributor to search engine optimization as well as proving to be its own qualified driving channel. This presentation will show how small businesses can take advantage of online PR to increase traffic links, and how to overall do good business. Moderators�Alex Bennert & Taylor Pratt plus speakers:�Jiyan Wei, Lee Odden & Sean Jackson

Search Bloggers : What’s Hot and Trending? – This session is a round-table discussion featuring the prime bloggers and reporters of search examining the state of the industry moderated by Greg Hartnett and with panelists:�Michael McDonald, Barry Schwartz, Lee Odden & Loren Baker.

Be sure to watch specific announcements and details plus discounts and giveaways for many of these events at TopRank’s Digital Marketing News Blog.

Marketers, Consumers Favor Email Over Social Media [Report]

Despite all the newfangled channels and technology by which marketers can reach consumers in a digital capacity today, email is still the most effective and inclusive, according to new research from ExactTarget.

Marketers and consumers both favor email as their first online activity of the day at a rate of 76 percent and 69 percent respectively, according to the new report from the cross-channel interactive marketing provider that began as an email-marketing provider in 2000.

About one in four marketers and one in three consumers think brands should invest more marketing time and resources into email as well. Facebook and Twitter fared less in that regard, with 21 percent of marketers and 22 percent of consumers pointing to Facebook for more marketing investment, and 12 percent of marketers and 5 percent of consumers putting a higher priority on Twitter.

ExactTarget's Marketers from Mars report also clarified the important differences in online behavior and smartphone adoption between consumers and marketers. While 90 percent of marketers own smartphones, only 51 percent of consumers have made the leap to the next generation of mobile.

"When it comes to online behaviors and preferences, consumers with smartphones behave a lot more like marketers than consumers without smartphones do. The differences are striking – consumers with smartphones email more, use apps more, share more, check in more, review more, visit deal sites and redeem mobile coupons more, and generally purchase more online than consumers who don't own smartphones," the company noted in the report.

"Smartphone ownership doesn't necessarily cause consumers to use specific channels more, but it does make it easier and more likely that they will," the company concluded based on a survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers and more than 400 U.S. marketers. "Yes, smartphone ownership will continue to grow. But the hyper-adoption of mobile channels by marketers is unlikely to be matched by consumers anytime soon."

While email captures the daily attention of marketers (99 percent) and consumers with (89 percent) or without a smartphone (85 percent), Facebook gets daily usage of 66 percent of consumers with a smartphones and 50 percent of consumers without a smartphone. Meanwhile, Twitter hasn't crested the half-way mark among any of the groups surveyed. Only 48 percent of marketers, 31 percent of consumers with a smartphone and 10 percent of consumers without a smartphone reported using the site daily.

Facebook ranked second among the most common hub for both marketers (21 percent) and consumers (28 percent) to connect with brands online. Twitter ranked low on the list of digital morning checks. Only 15 percent of marketers and 3 percent of consumers ranked Twitter as their preferred channel for connecting with brands online, but 58 percent of marketers and 46 percent of consumers said they follow brands on Twitter to receive advanced notice about new products or services.

This article was originally published on ClickZ.

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Firefox 14 Now Encrypts Google Searches, But Search Terms Still Will “Leak” Out

Firefox 14�has officially launched today, which means all Google searches are encrypted by default. However, due to a Google loophole, the encryption will not prevent things you search for from “leaking” out to Google’s advertisers nor potentially showing up as search suggestions or in data reported to web sites through Google Webmaster Central. The Firefox team saidof the change:

We automatically make your Google searches secure in Firefox to protect your data from potentially prying eyes, like network administrators when you use public or shared WiFi networks.

This is true. The “secure” version of Google search that Firefox will be using — called Google SSL search — does prevent anyone from “eavesdropping” on what you’re searching for. However, Google SSL search will tell advertisers what you searched for, if you click on their ads. If Firefox were trying to make searching fully secure, it would also block what’s called “referrer” information from being passed along, in addition to using Google SSL Search. Technically, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, Firefox apparently has decided against doing this. Our previous story explains more:

Firefox To Use Google Secure Search By Default; Expect More “Not Provided” Keywords To Follow

As for Google, it could also prevent referrer information from being passed along to advertisers, if it wanted. However, it made a deliberate choice to keep providing this information. The choice continues to be confusing. When Google made the change last October to block referrer informationfor non-advertisers last year, the argument was that this was intended to protect privacy, that search terms themselves were potentially sensitive and revealing information. However, those same potentially sensitive terms are provided to advertisers, plus they may be revealed within things like Google Autocomplete or in data reported to publishers through Google Webmaster Central. The articles below explain more about these issues:

Google Puts A Price On Privacy2011: The Year Google & Bing Took Away From SEOs & PublishersGoogle�s Results Get More Personal With “Search Plus Your World”Google “Search Plus Your World” To Launch Beyond US? Likely, As Secure Search Set To ExpandFor those seeking full-privacy, consider some of the search options listed below:Scroogle�s Gone? Here�s Who Still Offers Private SearchingPostscript: My Debate With Firefox

I’ve been having a bit of a back-and-forth between Asa Dotzler, the director at Mozilla who oversees Firefox, who both accuses me of not understanding how Google SSL Search works and misrepresenting what Mozilla has said about how it will provide privacy within Firefox. Actually, I’ve come to think that Mozilla doesn’t understand how Google SSL Search works and itself has been�misrepresenting�how privacy protection will work — and not work — within Firefox.

SSL Search Blocks Two Types Of Leakage, Not One

Here’sthe comment at The Verge where Dotzler tells me I don’t understand what’s happening:

Danny, you misunderstand what SSL search is trying to accomplish. We�ve made the connection between the user and Google secure from snooping. That�s what SSL does and that�s why we�ve implemented it. Google can do what ever it wants with the data once it gets it, but the bad guys sniffing your wi-fi connection cannot get at your information.

Given that I’ve been writing about Google SSL Search in-depth (see those links above) since Google launched it last October, yeah, I have a pretty good idea of what it is and what Google was trying to accomplish with it. My replyat The Verge:

I�ve not misunderstood what SSL search is trying to accomplish. In fact, I probably understand it better than you do. Otherwise, I wouldn�t be having to explain the next part. SSL Search was rolled out because Google said that search term data was too sensitive to be leaked out, either through eavesdropping on a connection (what encryption prevents) or by passing along those terms in referrer data to publishers. SSL Search blocked BOTH of those things, because Google itself felt they were co-equal issues. SSL Search, however, specifically did not block passing referrer data to Google�s advertisers. Sensitive search terms data was apparently not so sensitive for Google�s advertisers to have access to. When Firefox makes use of SSL Search, you�re still allowing all those advertisers to see the search data that supposedly is too sensitive to leak out to non-advertisers. If you really wanted to make SSL Search as secure as Google could have � and should have � made it, then Firefox would stop passing referrers. Alternatively, you could use the completely separate Google Encrypted Search. That would prevent referrer leakage except in the extremely rare case where someone left Google for another secure site. The site would still see the referrer, but at least the data would remain encrypted. I�m pretty sure that by using SSL Search, the referrer data is being passed along without encryption, potentially opening up the ad clicks from Google to eavesdropping.

If you want to understand more about this, the referrers, the difference between Google SSL Search and Google Encrypted Search and how it all plays out with Firefox, I’ll refer you back to reading this previous post from me:�Firefox To Use Google Secure Search By Default; Expect More “Not Provided” Keywords To Follow.

Firefox Told Consumers Change Would Help Strip Search Terms From Referrers

Now, you could excuse Firefox from all this, I suppose, and say that Mozilla is only talking about how it supports the first part of what Google SSL Search means to protect, the actual connection, the direct conversation with you and Google. However, that’s not what Firefox said when it started talking about adding SSL support last May. From its post then:

Additionally, using HTTPS helps providers like Google remove information from�the referrer string. While Google users may expect Google to know what they are searching for, Firefox users may not be aware these search terms are often transmitted to sites they visit when they click on items in the search results; enabling HTTPS search helps sites like Google strip this information from the HTTP referrer string, putting the user better in control of when and to whom their interests are shared.

There’s no mention of the fact that actually, HTTPS doesn’t help Google at all in stripping referrer strings. That’s because Google has decided to deliberately override how HTTPS is supposed to strip information. If you want to understand more about that, in detail, see my previous post,�Google Puts A Price On Privacy. There’s also no mention that referrer data from ad clicks will continue to be transmitted to sites. If I had to guess, I think Mozilla posted this because it didn’t understand that Google wasn’t following the standard process of how encryption is supposed to break referrers if you pass to an unencrypted site. That’s unfortunate for Mozilla, because it put it in the position of making a claim about what the Firefox change would do without an important caveat. When I pointed this out to Dotzler on Twitter, his responsewas:

�You’re misrepresenting what Mozilla said. We said “it helps providers like Google remove …” which it does.Yet Firefox Also Says Change Has No Impact On Google Stripping

Again, it doesn’t help Google, and if Mozilla fully understood how Google SSL Search worked, it wouldn’t have made that claim in May nor would Dotzler have repeated it in tweet above. Moreover, repeating that claim makes absolutely no sense when Dotzler also said this today in another comment�at The Verge:

If Google wants to pass on the search term they can, regardless if the connection is SSL or not. A user sends a search term to Google (which is protected from eavesdropping by SSL) and then Google generates a page of results based on that search term. There�s nothing preventing Google from attaching that search term to the referrer coming from Google. SSL says nothing about that.�What the SSL connection between Firefox and Google does is to protect your searches from people snooping on your wi-fi connection or otherwise intercepting your connection.

Apparently, HTTPS doesn’t help at all with stripping referrers since “there’s nothing preventing Google from attaching that search term to the referrer” as Dotzler wrote. That’s the opposite of what Firefox blogged in May and what Dotzler tweeted to me about my supposed “misrepresentation” of what Mozilla said.

How SSL Is Supposed To Strip

Dotzler also said, in terms of referrer stripping that “SSL says nothing about that.” Well, Google told me that it did say something about this, as I covered before. And here’s are the specs for HTTP 1.1 that specifically talk about why browsers shouldn’t pass referrer information when someone goes from a secure site (say Google) to a non-secure (say an advertiser’s site) environment. Those are the same specs cited from by the Wikipedia page that Mozilla’s own May blog post pointed at, when it raised the issue of referrer stripping.

No mistake. It is a big privacy improvement for searchers using Firefox that the browser has shifted to Google SSL Search. It’s a nice move for Firefox to make, even though it will cause more marketing data to disappear.

But it’s a pity that not one story covering the change that I’ve seen listed on Techmeme (other than our own) mentions the advertiser loophole that Google SSL Search left open. It’s an important point. It’s certainly one that Mozilla could have mentioned in its own post today.