Is Your Web Site SEO and Social Media Friendly?

Numerous companies are losing vast amounts of revenue due to their web sites doing poorly in the search engines. �Web sites that are not easy to find via search miss out on attracting new customers as well as repeat customers that use Google to navigate sites they already know about. Is the same true for web sites that are not social media friendly?

People discover new sites through search, but also through recommendations made via email, word of mouth and through social media content. Making a web site social media friendly will facilitate the saving and sharing of content with others, extending reach and facilitating engagement.�

Consumers find new content via social networking sites ranging from links on Twitter to Facebook to their favorite blogs. �Content creation and links that occur as an outcome of social media participation can provide positive signals to search engines and affect search visibility. Making a site more social media friendly will expand the opportunity for content to be discovered directly and indirectly.

Search is the most efficient and effective way for consumers to discover content. Companies that want to take advantage now of where trends in information publishing, discovery and marketing would do well to ensure their content strategy factors in the value of search as well as social media.

Core concepts to understand search engine friendly web sites includes:

Crawlable contentSite organizationInternal linksKeyword usage – content optimizationCode/HTML optimizationInbound links from external web sites

The notion of “search engine friendly” basically means making a web site easy for search engines to find, make a copy of, understand and rank in search results. �Search engines are by no means perfect, not even Google. Making web sites more search engine friendly means making up for shortcomings in the search engines’ ability to crawl, index and sort web content.

This is why SEO is an important asset to the performance of natural seasrch results. All major search engines invest in continued improvements in order to achieve a better search experience for users. Some of the things that SEOs have traditionally done for web site publishers are now handled automatically by search engines such as many of the features included in Google’s Webmaster tools.

Improving a web site’s availability to search engines as well as keyword usage and links (internal/external) helps the search engine provide better search results to consumers. It’ also helps companies marketing their products and services to attract more qualified buyers. Not only can web site traffic increase, but the right kind of visitors will self segment themselves by the keywords they use to search.

Many companies have the search issue handled or at least they’re on their way. A recent study by eMarketer shows B2B companies rate Search Marketing as one of their top marketing investments for 2009. �A poll run on Online Marketing Blog with well over 500 responses also ranked SEO as a top digital marketing tactic for 2009.

Standard search is evolving but it’s not enough to remain competitive to focus on standard Search Engine Optimization tactics. �The social web is the web of the near future and real time search results through services like or even the new sort by recency option within Google are giving consumers more control over the freshness of the information available to them.

The increasing demand for fresh, live web content as well as the expectation of consumers to interact with what they find in the search results demands that web site owners and content publishers make their web sites both search and social media friendly.

Here are a few ways web sites can make themselves more “Social Media Friendly”:

Fresh content – To play the search and social media game, a web site must be in the content publishing business. Search engines and participants of the social web respond favorably to the signals created from frequent updates. �Participation in off site social channels can be brought into the corporate web site through RSS or widgets providing web site visitors access to additional forms of information and interaction with the company.Social content – Not all of a company’s social web participation needs to happen offsite with third party tools. The addition of a blog, reviews, forum or even a social network to the company web site can provide intersted consumers opportunities to interact with other brand fans as well as the company. �Easy to share – Besides the ability to contribute to conversations happening on a corporate web site, there’s a tremendous opportunity and benefit to making it easy for site visitors to share that content with others. �Many sites offer “share this” options that make it easy for readers to submit the page being viewed to popular social bookmarking and social news web sites such as Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon. �Sharing options for Facebook, Twitter and email are also popular.Making it easy for web site visitors to share interesting content (web pages, video, images) facilitates the word of mouth recommendations people make in real life, except when done online, they become searchable assets.

The advantages of incorporating social features include improved online word of mouth, stimulating conversations with prospective customers and advocates and expanded market reach. The question is, are web marketing teams incorporating a social media strategy with their overall search marketing and vice versa? �

Are you making your web site search engine friendly for the social web?

You can find 5 ways to make your web site search engine and social media friendly in this companion blog post at�Mashable.

The BIG SMX West Preview: Why You Should Attend

Search Engine Land’s SMX West search marketing conference is returning to San Jose on March 11-13, 2013. We’ve got a revamped, updated agenda, and have already confirmed more than 100 world-class speakers. If you’re involved in marketing, PR, social media or any other customer-facing activity, you owe it to yourself (and your company’s or client’s bottom line) to attend the show. Here’s why – then go register for your pass and save off on-site rates.

2013: New Trends, New Opportunities – And New Challenges For Online Marketers

To borrow a famous slogan, “the hits just keep on coming.” But for online marketers, this catchphrase has multiple meanings. On the one hand, we’re seeing virtually continuous change and innovation, with new channels like Facebook Graph Search and Google+, the advent of Big Data, the explosion of mobile usage… it’s a great era for marketers, because the hits just keep on coming.

But professional marketers share a lot in common with professional athletes, especially in sports like football and hockey, where… the hits just keep on coming. And taking those hits, surviving and continuing to play at the top of your game requires stamina, persistence, and a willingness to continue to improve your plan and outplay your competitors.

We designed SMX West to help you meet these challenges and succeed. Want cutting edge tips and techniques you can put to work immediately to take your marketing campaigns to the next level? Or, want survival insights and strategies that help sharpen your competitive edge? If so, SMX West is for you.

SMX West: Something For Everyone

SMX West is one of the two large Search Marketing Expo events that Search Engine Land�s publisher Third Door Media runs each year in the United States. SMX East, held in New York City in October, is the other.

Whether you’re a Web designer, developer, in public relations, advertising or traditional marketing, search is such a crucial marketing medium that you should maintain an ongoing education about it. And, as organizations integrate online and offline marketing, it’s crucial to understand how search fits in with the “big picture,” not only contributing to enhanced brand exposure but, in many cases, paying for itself via measurably improved ROI.

SMX West gives you that education, no matter who you are. The show is big enough that we can offer multiple tracks filled with sessions that cover all interests and experience levels. Beginner, intermediate or advanced — focused on paid search, SEO, social media marketing — we’ve got plenty planned for you.

Our Agenda-At-A-Glance provides an overview of everything that’s going on, complete with “ski run” icons that indicate sessions suitable for your experience level and skills. We also identify sessions that are focused on SEO (working with �free� listings), PPC (paid search ads), and SEM (fits into both categories).

SMX Boot Camp Gets You In Shape

If you’re new to search marketing, our SMX Boot Camp will get you up to speed. It happens on the first day of the show, Monday, March 11. Attend and you�ll learn the fundamentals in these sessions:

Keyword Research & Copywriting For Search SuccessLink Building FundamentalsPaid Search FundamentalsSearch Engine Friendly Web Design

To encourage new people to learn about search marketing, we offer all these sessions through a low-cost SMX Boot Camp ticket. That includes admission on the first day to Expo Hall, networking lunch, Expo Hall reception, and the Evening Forum on March 11. You can upgrade to a full pass, should you want to attend more sessions on the second and third day.

SMX Boot Camp is also open to anyone with a full All Access conference pass. Everyone who attends every Boot Camp session gets a Certificate of Completion.

Competitive SEO For Fun & Profit

With constant algorithm changes, personalization affecting search results, and an ever-increasing number of competitive websites appearing every day, it’s challenging for SEOs to keep up. A further challenge is to justify your hard work and persuade bosses or clients why — and exactly how — your work is valuable. While SMX Boot Camp will give you a start, we’ve got plenty of sessions designed for seasoned professionals to keep and sharpen their edge:

Essential SEO Analytics: The Performance Metrics That Truly CountThe Technical SEO Metrics You Should Care AboutHow To Groove To The Google Dance (Yes, It�s Back)

Ethical and effective search marketers spend a lot of time trying to create good content, drive traffic and convert and keep customers. But sometime they step over the lines of what search engines deem acceptable. In The Search Police: Matt & Duane�s Excellent Search Engine Adventure you’ll hear examples of what not to do and why, plus general tips directly from Google’s Matt Cutts and Bing’s Duane Forrester on how to succeed with the search engines.

Paid Search For The Pros

Are you focused on paid search? Don’t worry, all that talk about SEO above doesn’t mean you’re left out. In addition to paid search-related sessions throughout the conference, we also have a special Paid Search Track running on the first day of the show, with these sessions:

Forget What You Know About PPC � Best Practices DebateReady, Aim, Fire� Then Retarget!Fast And Easy PPC AnalyticsOptimizing Success In Search NetworksSMX Social Media Marketing @ SMX West

SMX Social Media Marketing is our annual conference dedicated to social media marketing. Missed getting in? We�ve got some of the best sessions coming to the SMX West Social Media Marketing Track, including sessions focused on cutting edge tactics to engage socially with your customers and key stakeholders, how to create viral content, tips for using popular social media sites and tools and more:

Getting Ahead With Google+Blow Me Away BloggingSupercharging Reach & Engagement On Facebook & TwitterSocial Media Automation: The Good & BadKeynote Conversation: Grady Burnett, Facebook

The developments keep coming fast-and-furious from Facebook. In this keynote conversation, Grady Burnett, Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions for Facebook, will talk with Search Engine Land & Marketing Land founding editor Danny Sullivan about topics ranging from the recently launched Facebook Exchange to the even more recently announced Facebook Graph Search beta.

Evening Forum: Walk A Mile In Google’s Shoes: Dealing With Tough Calls In Search

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion of what Google should do. “Google should remove links to pirated content!,” cries Hollywood. “Censorship!”, cry Internet activists. “Google should ban spammy websites!,” cry searchers. “Google’s unfair to my site,” respond those hit by penalties. “Google should remove certain negative results for a politician, a company or person,” some might think, only to have others view any meddling as some type of overt bias. For every action Google might take, there might be an equally negative reaction or repercussion. That’s why the company thinks carefully about any search policy it puts into place. In this session, Google search policy specialist Patrick Thomas looks at some of the decisions Google has to make and the careful balancing act it has to maintain.

Scaling The Peaks @ SMX Summit

We often hear from people at SMX shows that in addition to attending sessions, some of the most valuable learning they take away comes from interacting and networking with others. To address that, we’ve added an all new track: SMX Summit. These Powerpoint-free sessions feature some of the foremost experts in the world discussing and debating important topics, followed by no-holds-barred Q&A where they’ll be ready to answer any and all of your questions. The lineup for SMX summit includes:

Conversation: Paid Search Keeps On Growing, But Where Is It Going?Conversation: Is Link Building Still Crucial, Or A Waste Of Time & Money?Conversation: Defining The “New” SEOTen Rock Your World 5-Minute SMX TakeawaysWhat Semantic SEO Means For The Future Of Search Marketing

Semantics — literally the study of meaning — is the next wave in search. We’ve always had meta data to express meaning, but with search engines recognizing more types of microdata formats and with Google’s push into understanding meaning via its vast “knowledge graph,” SEOs need to focus more closely on linguistic meaning beyond simple keyword and anchor text optimization techniques. At SMX West, these sessions delve into the increasingly important power of semantics:

Schema 101: Why The New Meta Data MattersSchema 201: Real World Markup For SuccessFrom Authorship To Authority: Why Claiming Your Identity MattersInside Google�s Game-Changing Knowledge GraphFor Enterprise & In-House Marketers

Large organizations face unique challenges, ranging from multiple sites in multiple countries to a managing a wide array of stakeholder interests. In-house marketers, regardless of whether they work at a large or small company, face similar challenges. If you’re in either of these roles, you’ll want to check out these sessions:

Maximizing Enterprise SEOMaximizing Enterprise PPCIn-house SEO and PPC: What You Can Learn from Each Other, OptimallyIn-house SEO with Agile Development Process: Success at Rapid SpeedContent: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

With Panda, Penguin and other recent algorithmic updates, Google threw down the gauntlet and started enforcing what it had preached all along — that the key to getting good rankings and traffic was first and foremost to offer quality content in a useful, appealing way. So-called “content farms” and other sites that existed solely to capture traffic and monetize it without necessarily offering an exceptional user experienced were banished from Google’s index.

Unfortunately, other sites that innocently or naively used similar techniques got caught up in the purge and saw traffic plunge. The good news is that over the past year, the “new rules” have become much clearer and better understood. In the Content Track, panelists will discuss the elements of quality content, how to create and repurpose it, how to keep it fresh and vibrant — and, how to recognize and avoid “the bad stuff” the search engines frowns upon. Sessions will delve deeply into these integrally related topics:

Advanced, Bullseye Keyword Research TacticsContent Isn�t Just King, It�s Also Queen & AceHow To Enchant Customers By Modeling Their PersonasRiding The Wave Of Mobile Search

Several years ago, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt predicted that mobile would grow to be one of the company’s most important (and profitable) areas of focus. His prediction has more than come true, with some analysts estimating that mobile now accounts for as much as 15% of revenues, and is growing faster than any of Google’s other business units.

And, mobile isn’t just about smartphones any more — advertising (and importantly, conversions) on tablets has exploded in the past year, and by some accounts will soon surpass phones as the most effective way for marketers to connect with people not tied to their desktops. In our Mobile Track sessions, our speakers will be covering these trends and more:

Trends In Mobile SearchBeing Found Through Mobile AppsMobile Ads: From Click-To-Call And BeyondConverting The Mobile CustomerLocal & Retail Tactics

If you cater to a local clientele, local search is an essential channel. But, the current state of local search is messy, with confusing options, variations and alternatives. Add to that a constantly shifting landscape with fiercely competitive providers who often make moves to gain advantage over one another at the expense of both searchers and marketers.

Retailers also face unique challenges, ranging from maintaining complex sites with hundreds, thousands or even millions of products that constantly change based on inventory, new items or models and consumer demand. Beyond maintaining and optimizing their own sites, retailers also must deal with issues like providing structured product listings to shopping and comparison search engines.

The Local & Retail Track at SMX West features experts who have faced all of these challenges and will offer lessons learned and best practices for thriving in these complicated environments. Sessions include:

Must Have Local Search TacticsBeing National, Going LocalUp Close With Product Listing AdsGoogle Shopping Goes Pay-For-PlayExploring Important Issues

Online marketing keeps growing and developing, with new options emerging almost daily. The Potpourri Track features sessions covering a number of these key issues that don’t fit neatly into any of the other tracks at SMX West. Come sample the delicious fare offered up by our panelists in these sessions:

Big Data & Search MarketingPagination & Canonicalization For The ProsHow To Build Links & Win Authority Through Public Relations

Just 2 weeks ago, Facebook unveiled a major move into the search space: Facebook Graph Search. Powered by what people�s friends are liking and sharing, Facebook Graph Search can make recommendations ranging from places to eat to products to buy. In Meet Facebook Graph Search, we�ll look at how this new service works and how search marketers can tap into it.

Beyond Search: Exploring The Online Marketing Universe

SMX’s roots are in search — our team has been organizing search marketing conferences longer than any other team or company in the world. Over the past couple of years, we recognized that search was evolving and morphing into a multifaceted species of marketing, and search marketers were increasingly wearing multiple hats and integrating their search efforts into diverse channels. So, we jumped on the opportunity and started Search Engine Land‘s sister site, Marketing Land to explore the full universe of online marketing, reporting news and covering companies pushing the boundaries beyond search.

That’s why we’re introducing a new Marketing Land track at SMX West. While we’re still keeping a strong focus on search in these sessions, we’ll cover channels that many search marketers don’t consider traditional, or haven’t yet tried, but that offer some great opportunities. Sessions in the Marketing Land track include:

Going Viral On YouTubeYouTube Words: Tying Your PPC Campaigns To YouTubeSocial Media AdsA Photo Is Worth A Thousand LinksThe Clinics Are Open!

Want specific advice from experts about issues with your sites or campaigns? The doctors are in! On the second and third days of the show, our popular clinics return, covering these areas:

SEO Site ClinicSocial Media ClinicLink Building ClinicPPC Tune-Up Clinic With The SMX MechanicsPost-Conference Workshops & Training

Looking for even more advice in a smaller group setting on particular topics? Stay an extra day, and you’ve got a choice of in-depth workshops and training classes to choose from:

Bruce Clay SEO TrainingAdvanced AdWords TrainingInternational Search SummitContent Marketing AcceleratorIn-House SEO ExchangeaimClear� Community Management Master Class

Save by registering for a combination All Access + Workshop pass.

Quality Programming

I’ve covered most of the show, which has over 50 editorial session in all. Now, some words about producing those sessions.

All the SMX sessions I�ve described above are what we call editorial sessions. People are speaking on them because we feel they have great information to offer. No one bought their way onto a panel.

Each session is developed by a �session coordinator� who reviews speaking pitches and reaches out to knowledgeable people to assemble a panel. The session coordinator works with the speakers to create a session where presentations support each other, rather than overlap. In most cases, the session coordinator is also the session moderator.

Formats also vary. Sometimes we have panels with multiple people. Sometimes we have only one or two speakers. Some panels are all Q&A. Some feature presentations. We don’t lock ourselves into one particular format, because different topics require different approaches. Instead, we focus on creating a great overall experience.

The entire editorial portion of the show is overseen by me and my co-chair Danny Sullivan. We�ve been organizing search conferences longer than anyone in the industry – more than 15 years and counting!

The attention to programming is part of what we call the SMX Content Difference, and it�s why we�re able to guarantee the quality of our events.

Freebies: Expo Hall, SMX Theater & Plus Sessions

Of course, our many SMX West sponsors & exhibitors do have great information to share with SMX attendees. That�s why we provide several ways for attendees to hear from them.

On the first two days of the show, we have a Sponsors & Partners Track. Unlike our editorial sessions, these are created and produced by the company sponsoring them. That�s why we mark them as �Plus Sessions.�

But sponsors know they�re competing to attract attendees who are also considering high quality editorial sessions. That causes them to want to match the high bar our editorial sessions set. So Plus Sessions do offer great information, often through case studies. Before some editorial sessions, we�ll also have a few very short �Solutions Spotlights� that highlight leading solutions and services found in the SMX Expo Hall.

The Expo Hall runs March 11-12. In addition to visiting the booths of participating companies, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about their products and services through the SMX Theater Presentations, which are mini-sponsored sessions that run 20 minutes each. Presenters frequently cover case studies – they’re a great way to learn quickly about a company, product, service or topic.

The Expo Hall is free for anyone, as long as you register in advance. The Expo+ Pass allows you into the Expo Hall, the SMX Theater and Plus sessions for March 11-12; the Expo Hall Reception and Evening Forum on March 11, and the morning keynote on March 12. Of course, those with full conference passes have access to all of these events plus all the editorial sessions. For a breakdown of what each pass offers, check out our pass options page.

This is also a good time to thank our premier sponsors Covario and Marin Software, and our gold sponsor Bruce Clay, Inc.

Organized Networking

At SMX, we don�t leave networking to chance, where you hope to randomly encounter the right people. We�re organized!

Even before you arrive, our SMX West Facebook Group allows you to connect with other All Access pass holders and speakers before, during and after the show. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in collaborative group with discussions, questions and show announcements.

The night before the show, we have our SMX Meet & Greet reception. It�s another great way to meet people before the show starts. At the end of the first day, the SMX Expo Hall Reception offers another chance to mingle.

First time at an SMX conference? At SMX West, we’re also offering an informal SMX Orientation: Optimizing Your Conference Experience just before the Meet & Greet. This lets you get the scoop on accessing presentations, Wifi, power, food, networking and great content. Plus you�ll meet part of the SMX team as well as other �first-timers� and start making connections before the show starts. SMX Orientation is open to All Access attendees and speakers.

During lunches, we offer our unique Birds-Of-A-Feather lunch tables, where attendees can network with each other and discuss specific topics. Being grouped with people who share a common interest is a great icebreaker. Table topics are published several weeks prior to the show.

All these options can be found on our networking page. You�re going to meet plenty of people! And when you�ve registered, don�t forget to tell the world by using one of our I�m Attending badges.

SMX Conveniences

We know attending a conference is not only a monetary investment, but also an investment in time. So we make sure to include conveniences in your SMX pass to make your out of office experience more productive and comfortable. That means no boxed lunches at our shows. You�ll get a great meal, on a real plate, and you�ll want to go back for more. You�ll also get refreshments and snacks throughout the day, kicking off with a light breakfast (and plenty of caffeine!) People take pictures of the food we serve at our events, they�re so amazed and pleased. Honest!

We�ll also keep you connected, providing free WiFi in the conference rooms. You’ll have access to all of the speaker presentations provided, which allows you to catch up on sessions you couldn’t attend. Also among the little touches, we�ll give you a conference backpack. It�s a real backpack, one that you�ll take home and use again and again.

Join Us In San Jose!

I hope you’ve found this preview useful and are ready to attend. You�ll find more details on the SMX West website, including the Agenda-At-A-Glance. You can register online or by phone at (877) 242-5242.

See you in San Jose!

New German Law Will Allow Free “Snippets” By Search Engines, But Uncertainty Remains

The good news for search engines like Google is a proposed German copyright law won’t require them to pay to show short summaries of news content. However, uncertainty remains about how much might be “too much” and require a license. The new law is expected to pass on Friday.

Der Spiegel explains more about the change:

Google will still be permitted to use “snippets” of content from publisher’s web sites in its search results….

What the new draft does not stipulate, however, is the precise definition of the length permitted.

The draft bill introducing an ancilliary copyright for press publishers in Germany (Leistungsschutzrecht or LSR) goes to a final vote at 1oam Germany time on Friday. Below is my background about the hearings that happened this week, which in part lead to the snippets change.

From This Week’s Technical Hearing

Despite all the procedural and constitutional objections to the Leistungsschutz bill, there are also a couple of technical and political ones. Critics (and there are plenty of them) raise concerns that the collateral damage by this change in copyright will hurt search engines, innovation in general and especially smaller press publishers.They point to ambiguous language in the bill that will cause legal uncertainty and lawsuits that will take years to be settled.

The German government and supporters of the bill have done little to address these objections. On Saturday, I published an advance copy of the answers by the government in response to a letter of inquiry by the opposition Left Party. There is a continuing pattern in the government�s response referring open questions to be settled by courts or simply by ignoring the question.

One of the last opportunites to discuss the mechanisms of this ancilliary right within the parliament lasted for 90 minutes Wednesday at an expert hearing at the subcommittee for New Media (Unterausschuss Neue Medien, UANM) at the German Parliament.

Public invitations for this hearing were sent out only a couple of days ago, after two weeks of behind-the-curtain negotiation between the governing factions in parliament (Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Liberal Democrats (FDP)) and the opposition factions (Social Democrats, Left Party and Green Party).

CDU/CSU and FDP had previously refused to schedule another hearing next to the judiciary committee hearing in January, saying�that all questions could also be addressed in this expert hearing. As it turned out, there were a couple of technical questions that could not be addressed, due to the fact that none of the invited experts in the judiciary committee hearing were experts in the field of technology. How could anyone have known that there are at least two kinds of experts out there!

Invited experts were

Dr. Wieland Holfelder, engineer at Google (there was a consensus agreement by the committee members �that he could pass non-technical questions to legal counsel Arnd Heller from Google, who was sitting behind him)Dr. Thomas H�ppner, representative from the press publishers� association BDZVProf. Dirk Lewandowski, University of Applied Sciences, HamburgMichael Steidl, International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), London

Two experts were invited by the majority factions (H�ppner and Steidl), two experts were invited by the opposition (Holfelder and Lewandowski). The procedure was following the usual procedures: There were three rounds of questions for members of parliament, two questions from each faction to one expert or one question to two experts. There was no opportunity for introductory statements by the experts and no strictly enforced time limit on answers.

So, in order for an expert to be allowed to speak, he has to be given a question from a member of parliament. An expert is not allowed to ask questions or offer refutations to other experts directly. This results in a strategy that each side is going to give softball questions to their own experts and potentially compromising questions to the experts from the other side. It has to be assumed at many hearings that questions were exchanged before the meeting and that there is some level of expectation on what the answer might be. This is exceptionally true for partisan experts whose employers directly benefit from or suffer by the outcome of this legislative process.

Some of the softball questions provided the experts the opportunity to explain how robots.txt works (Holfelder) or explain the shortcomings of robots.txt (Steidl and H�ppner).

Holfelder introduced himself as engineer who implemented his own web crawler 14 years ago. He distributed printouts of robots.txt examples and the resulting snippets in the search engine results pages. He explained additional meta-tags that Google uses to add or remove content from the Google (or any other of the leading search engines). To some extend, his presentation felt both verbose and strangely elementary. In an ideal world, none of this information would have been new to a subcommittee that specifically focusses on such topics.

Petra Sitte, (Left Party) had asked Holfelder to comment on ACAP, a protocol that was proposed by a few publishers and has failed to get any meaningful level of acceptance by the market. Holfelder provided a few examples in which implementing ACAP will be prone to spammers, as it mandates the way in which provided descriptions have to be shown.

Konstantin von Notz (Green Party) asked Holfelder whether it was possible for a search engine provider to detect whether specitic content on a web site is covered by this LSR or not. This is – in my opinion – one of the most important questions of this bill because it outlines the potential for huge collateral damage or legal uncertainty over the coming years.

The ancilliary copyright is awarded to a press publisher (a press publisher is defined as anyone who does what press usually does) for his press product (a product of what a press publisher usually does). It exists next to copyright awarded to the author who can license his/her content to anyone else. It means that it is not the text itself that defines whether conent is covered by the LSR.

Here is an example: A journalist maintains his �personal web site in order to advertise for his services as a freelancer. He has a selection of half a dozend of his articles on his web site that help to inform potential customers on his journalistic skills. These articles are of course protected by copyright. They will not, however, be covered by the ancilliary copyright because he is not a press publisher. The very same texts on the web site of a magazine�s web site will be covered by the LSR. How can a search engine determine if text on a web site is subject to both copyright *and* LSR?

Holfelder replied that Google has a couple of heuristics to determine whether a certain page is provided by a press publisher. However, this law has no provisions for �honest mistakes�. If Google failes to detect LSR content and does not receive prior permission to index such content, Google faces legal consequences. There is no such things as a �warning shot� or an obligation by the press publisher to proactively inform a search engine whether it things a certain page is LSR covered. This is the legal equivalent of a minefield.

Holfelder stated that a search engine would in this scenario tend towards overblocking in order to avoid a lawsuit for violating the LSR.

H�ppner, the press publishers� expert spent his time mocking a comparison about this bill that involves taxis and restaurants. He then stated how services such as Google News substitute visiting the original pages, with some rambling about a Google service called �Google Knowledge�. It was hard to tell whether he meant the failed Google Know project or the Google Knowledge Graph in the standard Google search.

His main argument on robots.txt was a passive-aggressive one. Publishers do not like robots.txt per se, they merely use it to fight for the last crumbs that search behemoths like Google have left them. In other words, if a press publisher is providing meta description text�or Twitter cards, this should not be seen as some kind of agreement to actually use this text in order to build snippets in a search engine. I severely doubt that this position would hold in court or among the motivation of press publishers.

Prof Lewandowski�s contribution to the hearing was an interesting one as he is the first expert in a long time who does not seem to have an agenda with respecto to the LSR. His viewed were balanced, nuanced ones, highlighting both the high level of acceptance of robots.txt and some of its shortcomings. He pointed out that at least at Google News, the limited amount of sources and the opt-in-meachnism (yes, it�s more complicated than that) of Google News would permit running such a service in an LSR world.

Steidl used his time to explain IPTC�s contribution to the world of standards and mentioning the RightsML project which is in active development. He criticised robots.txt for being without a governing organisation and for failing to express rights on a sub-article level.

Both Google and the press publishers were not very eager to present actual numbers in Google News usage or how visitors are directed to third party web sites.

In round two, Google�s legal counsel Haller was asked how Google will react to this bill if enacted. He replied that Google does not know the final version of this bill, and that Google has not decided yet on how to implement it. He pointed out that his companry would have to not only deal with publishers from Germany but from the entire European economic area who could exercise their own LSR rights against Google.

Editor�s Note From Danny Sullivan:�Thanks again to Mathias for contributing this report and his views. Be sure to also see our previous story,�German Parliament Hears Experts On Proposed Law To Limit Search Engines From Using News Content.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Twitter Search Lets You Once Again Find Old Tweets

For ages now, Twitter has only allowed you to search for tweets back for about a week. Looking for a tweet older than that? You were out of luck, at least using Twitter itself. But now, that’s changing.

In a post today, Twitter says that some older tweets are now going to be available. How far back? That’s not said; but, it seems like tweets that are particularly popular or notable will be available. From Twitter’s post:

As we roll this out over the coming days, the Tweets that you�ll see in search results represent a fairly small percentage of total Tweets ever sent. We look at a variety of types of engagement, like favorites, retweets and clicks, to determine which Tweets to show.Seeking Old Tweets

That’s nice to have, and it certainly makes sense that Twitter is doing more to ensure that people can find some of those important tweets right on Twitter itself, such as the most retweeted tweet ever, “Four more years” from Barack Obama:

Oops. Yes, that’s an old tweet, but it’s Slate retweeting Obama’s tweet. In a search for barack obama four more years on Twitter, I couldn’t find the original tweet at all — and I had to do a ton of scrolling to get back to November.

Have You Met Twitter’s Advanced Search?

I had more luck when I used Twitter’s advanced search feature. There, I was able to narrow my search to tweets made just by the @barackobama account for “four more years,” and that brought the famous tweet up:

At first, however, only the November 5 tweet shown in the screenshot above appeared first. After about a minute, the famous November 6 tweet suddenly popped up ahead of that. And, after a few more minutes, this happened: a January 21 tweet moved into the top spot:

I suspect that this is down to Twitter still adjusting to searching through a larger collection of tweets. I also suspect it will get better, over time.

Speaking of time, the default with Twitter is to list tweets chronologically, even if you use its advanced search page.

If you find yourself having to do a lot of scrolling to find what you want, after doing a search, you might consider Topsy. There, you’ll get more date range options as well as a bigger collection of tweets than even Twitter has.

Combine Quality Score & Bing Ads Share of Voice for a Simple Bid Recipe

When you put aside Quality Score’s function as a landing page and user experience thermometer, you can think of quality score as a tool to help you benchmark your click-through rate (CTR) against your competitors’ CTR. There are 101 ways to get distracted with Quality Score and Share of Voice, but instead of diving into everything, I’ll focus on a simple bid recipe.

One way to use the Quality Score metric is to help prioritize where to bid more. On the other hand, share of voice (a.k.a., impression share) gives you a great of idea of not just where you’re losing impressions, but it’ll also tell you why so you can begin to fix the problems.

Let’s see how you can combine Quality Score and share of voice to give you the most bang for your buck.

Quick points of information:

Bing Ads Share of Voice (SOV) report is similar to Google AdWords’ Impression Share.Bing Ads Share of Voice data is provided on the keyword + match type level data (and located in ‘Reports’ tab.The logic applied in this article can be applied to Google AdWords using their Impression Share and Quality Score data – but adjustments will need to be made account for ad group level data.How Can Quality Score Help You Prioritize Bids?

I often find keywords with great Quality Scores (8, 9, 10) get ignored – as search marketers, we focus tend to focus on the poor scores. It’s in our nature. For you parents out there, which gets more attention, a report card with all As and one F or straight Bs? I think that F is going to get more attention!

If you have a Quality Score of 8, 9 or 10 you’re getting an A from the engine because you’ve nailed your landing page, user experience and keyword relevance. The keyword relevance slice of your score is telling, and in Bing Ads specifically it means your CTR is much higher than to the marketplace average (your competitors). So if you have a great Quality Score, an increase in your bid will give you more bang for your buck.

High quality scores tell us which keywords are outperforming the market from a CTR perspective. When your CTR is better than all of your competitors, you will pay a lower CPC for any given position. So a high Quality Score of 8, 9, or 10 can help uncover keywords where you have an “advantage” bidding vs. your competitors.

What Does Share of Voice (a.k.a. Impression Share) Really Tell You?

Officially, “Share of Voice represents the percentage of times your ads were actually shown in relation to the total number of chances your ads could have been shown, based on your keyword and campaign settings.”

Translation: The report will give you a great of idea of not just where you’re losing impressions, but also tell you whyso you can begin to fix the problems.

I’ve included a breakdown of the Share of Voice performance statistics below, let’s focus on Rank though you’ll see the others mentioned. I like to think of Share of Voice as a map of how a paid search keyword travels through a search engine to be delivered as an ad.

For instance, after your keywords pass through processes like editorial approval and targeting, Bing ads will then check your budget to determine if an ad is eligible. If you have budget they’ll make sure you have a relevant result, your bid is competitive, and then only the top ads are shown on the page.

Share of Voice for Bidding

The Share of Voice performance statistics connect to actions you can control. In the report, it’ll tell you how many times your ad didn’t show because your bid was below the minimum bid (lost to bid) or where your need to improve CTR (keyword relevance).

As a refresher, here’s a quick action guide to help you organize your optimizations. CTR improvements are particularly helpful for long term performance, but bidding strategies such as rank & bid can be quick wins.

“Lost to Rank”: Putting Together Quality Score and Share of Voice

We’re focusing on Impressions Lost to Rank because it’s one of the last processes behind the scenes to determine if an ad shows on the search page. If you lose impressions to rank, it’s typically because your position is too low on the page.

Your Rank is determined by comparing the composite score of advertisers bidding on a certain keyword. Combine your bid x CTR for your score and compare you against all of your competitors’ bid x CTR scores. Then sort from highest to lowest and the top ads serve.

Using Share of Voice Impressions Lost to Rank to calculate the missed opportunity, overlay keywords with high quality scores. This will give us keywords with opportunity due to rank, but have a very high CTR, therefore a bid change could have impact. Then filter by keywords that are profitable (CPL, ROAS, RPC, Contribution Margin, etc…) and bid based on your CPC head room. Your goal is to capture those missed impressions you’re not showing for.

This is where your basic bidding strategy and data aggregation skills come into play. Going old school, you can determine your “true” max CPC by multiplying your CPA goal by your conversion rates, then adjusting for the average CPC to max CPC ratio. I’ve seen similar strategies combined with fixing minimum bids employed on accounts with millions of keywords to drive 50 percent+ in incremental clicks per month for 7 figure click increases.

There are always a number of considerations for bidding strategies especially when you move to the long tail: diminishing incremental returns, level of data aggregation and basics like match type to name a few. But using the Share of Voice report can be an effective long tail keyword bidding tool, especially if your keywords sit in position 4-6 because they’re commonly filtered out due to Rank or Low bids.

Remember to season to your tastes and to avoid focusing on Quality Score by itself. This doesn’t solve your poor Quality Score issues, it is a useful application for optimization. Bon appétit!

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Mobile Search iPhone Dance-Off: Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo vs. Wolfram|Alpha

Recently, PCWorld had a mobile search face off between the search apps on Android, so it’s only fitting that the iPhone follows behind with one too – taking a look at features like multitasking, copy paste, voice search, making consistent phone calls and even still with widgets, 4G, NFC, and more.

Since I have a known allergy to all Apple devices, my colleague Aaron Farr from the Covario SEO team, performed the mobile search dance off with his iPhone.

The mobile search engine app “Dancing with the Stars” contestants are:


We’ve gathered these four search engines in order to test the top four searches pulled from Google Trends beginning in April:

NHLGame of ThronesInstagramZerg RushWolfram|Alpha

Wolfram|Alpha works by using its vast store of expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis, and generate reports.

From the beginning, you can see that Wolfram|Alpha is neat, clean, and gets straight to the point which is also why it’s the search engine behind Siri.

It works by interpreting your input and generating the results for you by indexing web pages, then looking for textual matches, and finishes with a list of links to follow.

It’s more of an information calculator and therefore works best when searching for sports scores, dates in history, and conversion queries.

Wolfram|Alpha also accumulates search results that can be added to a chart that can be touched to show more in depth data.

The history option saves searches and personalized preferences to narrow down search results along with the ability to download the data.

Although this search engine isn't the best for shopping or finding a cheap hotel, it is a unique way to search for statistical data and a great way to find answers that might not be answered as quickly with other types of search engines.

Not to mention, this search engine is very tech geek friendly, which we all know makes a number of us happy.

Side-by-side search comparison:


Search results consist of information about the domain (i.e., web hosting, web statistics for, site rank and HTML element hierarchy graph).

The search states that the results are based on the assumption that “NHL” is an internet domain and gives you the option to assume it is a hockey topic. However, if you do, it only says that that topic is under investigation. So if you are looking for scores or player stats this is not the place to search.

Game of Thrones

This search results in two different assumptions:

That Game of Thrones is a book and gives the author, publisher and publish date along with some related search queries comparing with other books.That it is a television series and gives the network, air dates, episode run time and number of episodes.

It also delivers an image of the show’s intro graphic and a list of the cast members.

Finally there is a related query comparing it to a few other TV shows.


This search delivers a “development of this topic is under investigation" and that is all you get.

Zerg Rush

This search gives you a result using Wolfram|Alpha’s closest interpretation of the search. Thus, it's just a dictionary look up definition of the word “rush” as a noun. Also it delivers first known use in English, word origin, frequency in history (shown in a linear scale).

This is all followed by a long list of terms like inflections, synonyms, antonyms, narrower terms, broader terms, rhymes, lexical words, anagrams, and phrases. It continues on with notable uses, crossword puzzle clues, scrabble score and phone keypad digits.

This is a great example of how Wolfram can be an excellent engine for data searches. Each break out allows you to dive deeper into that result.


Right away, you'll see that Bing is much more visually appealing than its counterparts, with its black and white interface complemented with beautiful photo wallpaper.

In front of the wallpaper, you will find 12 links in white text that allow you to search Images, Videos, Maps, Local, Deals and Movies that are visible from the home screen. News, Shopping, Directions, Travel, and Weather can be found by scrolling further down.

When tapping the camera icon in the search bar you will find Bing Vision, which allows you to search via camera. It has the ability to search and scan barcodes, Microsoft Tag, or QR codes. Next is a cover search, which allows you to take a snap shot of a CD, DVD, book cover or video game box, and search based on that picture.

Finally, the text search allows you to search based on words that are highlighted on screen that Bing recognizes from the photo. This is by far my favorite feature. An additional voice feature completes a search based on dialogue into your microphone.

Bing offers clean, easy to read results that can be sorted by all, news, videos, images, shopping, local and deals. Bing is an adequate and very visually stimulating search engine.

Side-by-side search comparison:


This search brings up results for the latest game score in National Hockey first and then lists the latest news headlines. Right after that you get a large SERP for with links to conference, standings, scores, stats, division and schedules. You also get a NHL GameCenter app download link for quick access.

At the end, you get some NHL related video links from and image search results followed by related search suggestions.

Game of Thrones

First up is the news result, including a post about it being the top pirated TV show. Then you get the actual HBO site page for that show with links to cast, episodes, shop, videos, baelor (the ninth episode of Game of Thrones), and about.

After that, there are App results for IMDb and TV guide. At the end, you can shop Bing for the book and movies, check out some Bing images, and do a related search.


The first two results are app results for Instagram app and Textigram. Then you get to the with links to the about, FAQ, edit account, coming soon, jobs, and blog. Lastly, there are news results and related search suggestions.

Zerg Rush

This search comes up with Wikipedia, know your meme, and Urban Dictionary definitions at the top followed by image results. After that there are a bunch of links to related content, which ends with related search terms.


Yahoo search has a very different look from the others.

The rich HTML5 results of the new design include Image and Video results.

It offers a tab-based interface that displays “trending now,” followed by a series of tappable search queries topping the Yahoo search trends at the time.

Tap the magnifying glass in the search bar and narrow the search by Web, Images, Local and News – significantly fewer options when compared to Bing.

However, if you tap the pin icon to the right of that, you get a large list of local search options, such as Restaurants, ATMs & Banks, Gas & Automotive, Lodging, etc.

You have the ability to switch “safe search” on and off and go to the desktop view of Yahoo search.

Yahoo is a bit overwhelming with searchable options, which makes it a little difficult to decide what you want to do. You might not find exactly what you're looking for in a hurry.

This iPhone search app does what it is designed to do, but it is far from being an exciting service.

Side-by-side search comparison:


Yahoo delivers Shortcuts first. They include an image and a direct link Yahoo sports and yahoo sports photo gallery. Then there are two categories, overview and latest updates with links under them. Overview has scores & schedules, standings, teams, and stats. Latest updates shows news, transactions, blog and videos.

Then you get to which is followed by more Yahoo short cuts to Yahoo News results. After the second batch of Yahoo Shortcuts you get other news sites and Wikipedia. It finishes off with the “also try,” which is the same as Google suggestions.

Game of Thrones

With this search the first thing that comes up is News results and it tells how long ago the news article was posted. There is a button to search more news, if that's what you're looking for.

Next you get the official website with links to crew, episodes, shop and videos. After that there is Yahoo Shortcuts, but in this case it just a link to a website that has information on the show and recaps of recent episodes.

Wikipedia is next followed by even more Yahoo Shortcuts for blog results.

Finally, there are links to TV guide, HBO and other television networks – all followed up with images and “also try.”


This one had the iPhone App link right up top with the website There are a couple links below this for about us, coming soon to Android, and FAQ.

The rest of the results are pretty basic with Wikipedia, iTunes, and blogs. Lastly, the “also try” has some long tail keyword alternatives.

Zerg Rush

Unlike the others, this search gives image results right at the top with Wikipedia plus some links to strategy, mobbing, fighting games, and CCGs. The rest of the results are basic, except the one for has a thumbnail image link in the SERP. This is the first time this came up in the search results during the research.


Google still comes out as the best overall, one-stop shop for search.

In look and feel it mirrors the desktop version, making it easier on users with no additional learning curve.

It starts with the five tabs at the top for Web, Images, Places, News and More for filtering search queries. You can tap out a search, take a photo, or run a voice search. There are icons along the bottom of the screen to do quick location-based searches, so you can find what’s nearby in a certain category with one tap.

Also, just like the web version, you can tap the Google icon to the left of the search bar and see the dropdown for further search filtering.

This dropdown includes Images, Places, News, Shopping, Videos, Blogs, Discussions and Books.

Along with this feature, you can also tap “More” to the right of the quick filter search tabs to gain access to those search queries. You can also access Google’s other apps like Google +, Docs, Translate, Calendar and many more.

Side-by-side search comparison:


Google brings up “NHL Games” first, which highlights recent hockey games showing teams final scores. If the game has not yet been played, it shows the date and time of the game.

After that there is with quick links to scores, playoffs, shop, video, teams and schedules. Following that you get NHL news links and a bunch of other common sites like Wikipedia and sports sites. At the bottom there is “pages similar to” and “searches related to nhl.”

Game of Thrones

This search results leads to the official website right on top with IMDb followed by Wikipedia. News for Game of Thrones is next in line and Amazon follows up with a link to buy the music.

A few links follow that like a Facebook link, plus fan sites. Google images is next and then shopping results. Related searches gives a list of eight long-tail keyword searches you can choose from.

Instagram comes up first with App Store and Google Play right after. Wikipedia, blogs and social networks take up the next section of real estate with news results to follow. Finally, it’s all summed up with similar pages and related searches.

Zerg Rush gets in first with image results right below. Next up is news and Mashable followed up by YouTube video links. Wikipedia get in there with some blog sites and some links to Starcraft and Battlenet for the gamers. It’s all summed up with related search terms.


Wolfram|Alpha is a simple and unique search engine, but not the best if you need a specific thing fast – unless you are trying to solve a math problem of converting centimeters to inches.

Bing is easy on the eyes and very user friendly, but doesn’t seem to populate solid results as well as Google. Bing was my favorite after Google because it was was user-friendly when navigating searches.

Yahoo is busy and boring. Plus, it doesn't have the ability to compete with Google’s results. It does have a lot of the same search filtering as Google, but lacks the easy to use iconization that Google has adopted, making it harder to find the right one. When scrolling down for searches, the search bar goes up with it and you have to swipe a number of times to get back to the search bar to search again.

We leave the ball in your court. However, after this test run, we still prefer Google, which is even faster and easier to use directly from Android phones – especially those with Ice Cream Sandwich 4.X versions, which have a default Google search tab at the top of your home screens.

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Google On Will They Ever Remove PageRank From The Google Toolbar?

Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted a video on YouTube named Why don’t you turn off the PageRank feature in the Google Toolbar?

It is a very fair question, in fact, a question Matt Cutts brought up himself in about five years ago in 2007. But till this day, we have the Google Toolbar with the PageRank indicator in Internet Explorer browsers and others. Google has downplayed the importance of Toolbar PageRank over the years, in fact removing it from Google Webmaster Tools in October 2009.

In the video, Matt said the reason they still have it is not because SEOs use it but rather because searchers and users still use it to determine how “reputable” a web site is.

Matt then goes on to explain that Google’s own browser, Chrome, does not have PageRank built into it. Plus, IE 10 doesn’t allow add ons. So, he wouldn’t be surprised if the PageRank values in the toolbar go away by themselves. He said Google will continue to support it as long as users are using it.

However, Matt added that the “writing is on the wall” for this feature as more and more browsers come out and replace the older versions of the browser.

Here is that video:

For more on this topic, see our comprehensive Google PageRank article.

Microsoft’s CEO, Ballmer: Google Is “Copying” Us

The Seattle Times Newspaper published an interview with Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer. The interview covered many topics but I wanted to highlight the search specific topics.

Ballmer in the interview said, “They’re [Google] starting to look at the stuff we’re doing and copying it back. What is it? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” He outright says Google is copying them. Of course, many would agree.

I also found Ballmer’s comments on what Bing does better than Google. Ballmer said, “our maps are better, our images our better, our picture is different.”

In response to Google’s CEO calling Bing, Google’s biggest competitor, Ballmer said, “We’re his best competitor, and we’re a very good competitor and we’re going to do a very good job..”

Outside of those comments, did you know Ballmer checks his Facebook account and page everyday?

3 Essential Content Curation Best Practices to Boost Content Marketing Performance

Creating original content is resource intensive and while some companies that have all the copywriting resources they need (that’s an exception not the rule) it makes sense to curate content in addition to publishing original articles and media.

Curation is the cornerstone of being useful on the social web by finding, filtering and adding insight to content online and sharing with social networks.

Qualitative curation over time helps associate the topics being curated with the company or person doing the curating. When a company does a good job of defining its unique selling proposition and what it stands for, those key concepts help define editorial themes in everything from a content calendar to topics that drive curated social media content.

In combination with original content and industry participation, curation can be very powerful for creating awareness and credibility.

Due to it’s importance, content curation is a topic I cover in Optimize and to dig a little deeper, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 9 to help you get a better idea of what content curation can do for your business and some best practices.

Content Curation Facilitates Many Content Marketing Objectives:

Efficient, topically focused collection of information that appeals to customers looking for a �single source� on a particular topic.Grows awareness of your brand as a topical authority based on adding insight to industry commentary.Facilitates networking into spheres of influence in your industry. Collecting and sharing content from influential members of your community can get you on their radar resulting in being mentioned, links or even referrals.Attracts links from social sources like Facebook and Twitter. Social links can send traffic, influence social and standard search visibility.Attracts links from other web sites which can also send traffic and influence better visibility on search engines like Google and Bing.Keeps prospects engaged as part of your lead nurturing efforts.

Blending a mix of new content with the filtering and management of other useful information streams is a productive and manageable solution for providing prospective customers a steady stream of high quality and relevant content. There are several good free services that facilitate curation tasks like Storify., Silk,, and many more. Software can help, but on it�s own, isn�t the answer.

Pure creation is demanding. Pure automation doesn�t engage. Curating content can provide the best of both. Here are several best practices to help you with curation sources, types of content and where to publish.

1. Sources of News to Curate:

Industry specific newsletters sent to you via emailLinks to content and media shared on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit and other social sharing websitesGoogle Alerts, Google News or Google+ SearchCuration tools: Flipboard,, Storify.comReal-time search engines: Topsy, socialmention.comNiche topic blogsNews aggregators: Alltop, popurls, TechmemeBookmark and or subscribe to updates from industry news, magazine and blog websitesPress Release Distribution Services like PRWeb, PRNewswire or MarketwireReview competitor websites and monitor for mentions of their brand terms in though Google Alerts and social media monitoring tools like Trackur or Radian6 to see what kind of curation tactics they�re using

2. Types of Content to Curate:

Useful resources relevant to your target audience: blogs, news, training, tips, networking and industry events.Content created by influential people of importance to the target audienceStatistics, research and reportsCompelling or provocative industry newsVideos: YouTube, Vimeo, ViddlerSlideshare presentations or search for .ppt file typesWhitepapers, eBooks and case studiesInfographics and other data visualizationsTips, How To�s and best practicesCreate short lists of tips according to keyword themesCompile large collections of resources according to topical themeAggregate the best comments from other blogs or your own blogRun surveys, polls & contests that result in content

3. Where to Publish Curated Content:

Company BlogeBooksEmail NewsletterSocial Media ChannelsContributed Articles or Blog Posts to Industry SitesNiche Microsite Dedicated to a Specific News Category

These are just a few suggestions and the best ideas for content creation and curation will come from a specific analysis of your own customer groups and industry. The key is to do the homework of understanding what motivates your community and to assemble a compelling mix of curated, repurposed and original content to inspire them to engage and buy. Be thoughtful about the usefulness of the content you assemble, create and promote. Empathize with your customers� interests and goals so you can properly optimize content for both search engines and social media sharing.

Still not convinced? Check out what Brian Solis, David Meerman Scott, Ann Handley, Joe Pulizzi, Rebecca Lieb and Paul Gillin have to say about content curation.

Excerpt from Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing, published with permission from Wiley.�

How are you adding content curation to the content marketing mix?


How To Solve The Alan Turing Google Logo Puzzle

Alan Turing’s 100th birthday is today and to honor his life, Google has one of the geekiest and mathematical logos, aka Doodles, I’ve ever seen.

The logo is a representation of the look and functionality of the Turing machine, a machine that was the stepping stone for modern computing. This Doodle asks you to solve the puzzle by completing the Google logo in a pattern of 0s and 1s.

Martin from TagSEO has an outstanding video taking you through the six steps to solve the equation. Here it is:

Turing worked for Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) responsible for German naval cryptanalysis and breaking German codes to help beat them in the war. In 1952, at the age of 39 he was criminally prosecuted in the UK for homosexual acts, which was illegal in United Kingdom at that time. In 1954, just two weeks prior to his 42nd birthday, he died from cyanide poisoning. They said it was a suicide, maybe due to the hormone treatments or depression over the persecution.

Google in November 2010 backed a bid with $100,000 to help purchase some of his papers, so they can be returned to Bletchley Park. Google called Turing “a hero” that was a “pioneer” in the work of algorithms and the development of computer science.

Give the Turing logo a spin at Google’s home page on June 23rd.

Other Google Logos:Google�s Latest Interactive Logo: The Moog SynthesizerGoogle�s Happy Mother�s Day Logo (2012 Edition)Google�s King Tut Howard Carter Birthday LogoThe Keith Haring Google LogoGoogle Zipper Logo Celebrates Birthday Of Inventor Gideon SundbackGoogle Grew Their Own Earth Day LogoEadweard J. Muybridge 182nd Birthday Google LogoGoogle Logo For Mies van der Rohe 126th Birthday

7 Tips on How to be Found in a Post-Search World

Increasingly, people are finding things, getting directions, and connecting with the wisdom of the Internet via Siri and other apps on their smartphones. This begs the question: what’s the future of SEO when people are connecting to information via intelligent agents and apps as opposed to search engines?

How can we as marketers and SEOs adapt to this change in user behavior to make sure our products, brands, and information is discoverable via non-search (i.e., not involving a visit to interaction?

Well, here are seven tips to guide you through the app-and-mobile storm on the horizon to the sunny shores of post-search nirvana.

1. API as Much as Possible IMG

Get your marketing content wired. It’s all about making connections so your content gets into as many environments as possible.

Intelligent agents and other apps, mobile or otherwise, need access to data. Put your data out there via an open data set or API.

Work with vendors who put themselves between APIs and App developers to smooth the interactions and help keep API updates from breaking apps.

APIs can be hard to make, maintain, and keep updated and you may need help doing this. Here are some companies to consider so you don’t overload your in-house devs: – helps you plan and develop your API and handle outrach to App – aggregates social and other API-sourced data by location and resells it to brands and app developers – make sure they have access to your location-relevant data (sales, events, etc) so they can then provide it folks who turn it into – runs an "API Marketplace" – if you create an API, consider putting it up here so devs can find it. Here’s a list of their APIs.

This is a fast-moving area – any comments, reviews, or corrections to the above section would be welcome in the comments section!

2. Get Semantic

Using semantic markup like the protocol helps third parties interpret and use your public HTML. This increases your chances of non-search apps using your data (and thus increasing its value).

Now Google allows you to add schematic markup using Google webmaster tools – it’s just for “events” at the moment, but it offers a lot of potential for SEO professionals to take action without needing help from developers.

SEO professionals have been recommending this for years, but outside of the hotels/reviews, events and recipes verticals, amazingly little has been done. Just adding NAP (name, address phone number) semantic markup to your local store pages that exactly matches the data provided to the Google+ Local page can make a big difference in the local results.

3. Know Your Apps and App Developers

Make friends (even more so) with your developers and get their input on how to open up your data and web services. Make it somebody’s job (yours maybe?) to seek out and engage with app developers who may benefit from your data or web services.

Participate in hackathons or hold your own. Reach out to apps that might be a good integration partner for your content or business and hammer out a deal. The upside could be as little an attribution or citation from the app or as high as more traffic, sales, or exposure for your content.

4. Think Beyond Search/SEO and Digital

Don’t focus just on SEO. Think in terms of the keywords, content, and context you want to optimize for.

A compelling real-life art installation, event, sale, or live performance will do more for your inbound links, traffic, and conversions than many a traditional SEO effort. And it will get you into discovery apps that are always on the lookout for interesting, local, and timely things (Think the Field Trip app from Google).

Content marketing isn’t just for search or digital. EConsultancy has a great article about how Red Bull used content marketing that merged digital and real-life with their famous Stratus Jump.

5. Socialize Your Content and Your People

With new social search and social authority metrics arising everyday, you need to make sure both your brand and your content creators have large, engaged, and active social presences. The connections between your social profiles and your web or non-web content need to be clear and machine-discoverable (see: rel=author tag and

Soon enough intelligent agents will know who’s the authority – be it a brand or a person – on Thai cuisine in your area and will give a set of recommendations. While Google+ may suck as a social network, it could become indispensible as a social avatar/digital identity reference point to identify authoritative real people and brands.

You (the brand) need to be both a subject expert and you need to have brand experts (actual people) on staff creating content in areas where you do business.

6. Find Ways to Get Local

Mobile apps are really blowing the SEO world apart. They are driving increasing amounts of (often untrackable) visits. Siri practically assumes you’re looking for local things.

Find some way to make your content locally relevant.

For example, a software vendor with a single office can create a list of resellers or service partners and create local pages that are optimized for search, API’d, and have Google+ Local pages. This gets your brand into local results even if your reseller network doesn’t have its act together enough to do it on their own. A vintner (someone who makes or sells wines) could do the same with the stores that carry its vintages and brands.

7. Consider Whether You Even Need an App

Honestly, your client might not need mobile apps at all. They may be better off making their data available and working with other app developers where there is a good fit. Again, getting your information into other apps usually involves getting some sort of credit or a citation, and may involve them paying you for it.

If you decide to go with creating your own app, consider cross-platform vendors like Appcelerator to reduce versioning and increase speed-to-platform (i.e., Android and Apple). There are pluses and minuses to this approach, but it’s worth looking at.

Incidentally, all these tips will help your search engine rankings as well. Search is an app too, remember?


We have already arrived at a post-search era when users and visits are coming from an ever-greater variety of places, using discovery-type apps and sites like Foursquare and Yelp as opposed to traditional search engines.

Make it your job as a post-search guy to not only rock the traditional side of SEO but to also get your business found in the new world of social, mobile, and everything in-between.

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Google’s Matt Cutts Talks Infographics, Differentiation & More SEO Topics

Google web spam czar Matt Cutts recently spoke with Eric Enge on duplicate content, the problem with infographics, competing against big brands, and more. Here are a few highlights from their interview.

Avoiding Duplicating Content Isn’t Enough; Google Looks for Differentiation

Remember article spinners? I really hope you’re not still using them.

Spinners are like an automatic thesaurus, changing out certain words just enough to make the article different enough that you hope Google won't catch on.

Another tactic used real people, often underpaid outsourced workers from developing countries, to change the structure of an article and trade out a percentage of words so you could call an article “unique.” Of course, article spinning typically generates garbled, unintelligible garbage. It did work for a while a few years ago, to fool the search engines into thinking a site had more unique content than it actually had. No longer.

Of course, there are other, less insidious, ways of changing up content just enough to make it appear unique, without adding anything of additional value to the reader. Some may not even be aware of what it is they’re doing; it can be difficult to add your own unique spin when you’re talking about a topic that seems to have been done to death.

Take accounting principles, for example. You’re an accountant and you want to rank for accounting topics, but what can you really add as a unique perspective when accounting principles are standard, static, and have been covered on nearly every accounting site out there? This is the challenge.

Cutts highlights the importance of truly unique content by reminding marketers and publishers that Google is looking for added value. He told Enge, of sites with content that mirrors that of other sites, “While they’re not duplicates they bring nothing new to the table. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with what these people have done, but they should not expect this type of content to rank. Google would seek to detect that there is no real differentiation between these results and show only one of them so we could offer users different types of sites in the other search results.”

It is more important than ever to write from your own experience, on topics on which you have first-hand knowledge, in order to create something not only original in sentence structure or word choice, but in essence.

Specific to e-commerce and aggregator sites, Cutts said, “They need to ask themselves what really is their value add? That does not mean they cannot create something that works, but they need to figure out what it’s that makes them special.”

You Don’t Have to Be a Big Brand to Rank

When Enge asked Cutts to clarify Google’s position on the subject of big brands and whether Google rewards their advertisers with better rankings, the answer was an emphatic “No.”

“A brand could be potentially useful, but it’s certainly not the only lens to interpret the world. There are lots of signals we use to try to find the results that bring the most value to users. And whether or not someone is an advertiser does not matter at all,” said Cutts.

The challenge for smaller companies and publishers, however, is that brands have an inherent advantage with “lots of signals.” They have the manpower and budget to create greater amounts of fresh, unique content. They probably have more reach in social media. They may be able to leverage relationships with major distributors, manufacturers, and others.

Still, said Cutts, smaller publishers can succeed. “One of the great things about the web is that it still offers up-and-coming businesses opportunities to build their own reputation online. This can enable them to succeed even though other companies may have large advertising budgets,” he said.

It’s not easy, and you’re going to have to compete with every other competitor trying to achieve the same outcome. This is where establishing authorship, creating value-added content, and building your reputation through social activity, reviews, and link building are key.

Infographics: Proceed With Caution

“In principle, there’s nothing wrong with the concept of an infographic.” Cutts told Enge. “What concerns me is the types of things that people are doing with them. They get far off topic, or the fact checking is really poor. The infographic may be neat, but if the information it’s based on is simply wrong, then it’s misleading people.”

Indeed, infographics are all the rage. However, they are just another type of content that must offer something of unique value, as with written content.

We recently received an infographic submission at Search Engine Watch that demonstrates the problem with the infographic trend. It showcased a series of images representative of search queries, with sets of two pitted against one another and one named the winner in query volume. What was missing? The information that would have made it an interesting “info”graphic.

There was no actual data on search volume. There was no indication of geography, a timeline, trends over seasons, or historical performance. It was simply a graphic tied to a recent event that offered nothing a marketer (the target audience) could take away and actually use.

If you expect people to link back to your site because you published an infographic, you need to make sure it’s relevant to your readers and theirs. “Any infographics you create will do better if they’re closely related to your business, and it needs to be fully disclosed what you are doing,” Cutts advised.

Content for Multiple Location Sites within the Same Company Must Be Unique

Using the example of a pizza chain with 60 locations, Enge asked Cutts how a business owner should deal with populating all of these sites with unique content. Where people run into trouble, said Cutts, is in using the same description of the product or service across all of the different location sites.

“That information would be great on a top-level page somewhere on the site, but repeating it on all those pages does not look good. If users see this on multiple pages on the site they aren’t likely to like it either,” he said.

Enge raised an excellent point: searchers who land on the site for the Chicago location have almost no chance of also landing on the Phoenix site, for example, and reading the duplicate content. How is a business owner to describe each of their physical locations in a different way when they essentially offer the same thing?

“In addition to address and contact information, 2 or 3 sentences about what is unique to that location and they should be fine,” said Cutts. He said Google would not see this as thin content.

What do you think of Cutts’ recommendations? Do you take exception or particularly agree from experience with any of the advice he put forward? Let us know in the comments!

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!