Is Rewarder The Heir Of Google Answers?

There have been a range of “answer engines” or “help engines” (Q&A sites) that have come and gone over the years. Some of them might be considered “social search.”

Yahoo Answers, Ask.com (more recently focused on Q&A), Answers.com, Askville (Amazon), ChaCha, Keen, JustAnswer/Pearl are among those that remain and still exist. Verticals with Q&A angles are also seeing success because of their more focused content.

Pearl, mentioned above, is a paid service that is reportedly doing very well focused on professional advice. But most of the other Q&A sites are struggling.�Quora is a case-in-point, trying to broaden its appeal as it searches for a business model. The just-launched Jelly is also struggling for visibility but has considerable “runway.”

Google’s relatively new video advice site Helpouts is a useful and well-designed service but one doesn’t get the sense that many people know about it or that Google is actively promoting it.

Many sites in this Q&A/answer engine category have folded or been shuttered, including Google Answers, Facebook Questions, Hunch, Mosio, Mahalo Answers, Ether and Aardvark (acquired by Google) and others. For those who don’t remember it, Google Answers was a paid service that closed down in the face of a growing array of free alternatives. Yet some of those free alternatives are basically page view generators for display advertising.

Yahoo Answers, for example, was a once-decent product that fell into what might be called “disrepair.” The quality of the information there is uneven at best, as illustrated by this inspired comedic bit from the Tonight Show.

A relatively new site called Rewarder (since 2012), which just announced a partnership with eBay today, is the heir apparent to Google Answers and seems to have found a successful formula to win vs. the free sites. The service offers an expert network of more than 750,000 enthusiasts and “prosumers” who answer questions in a wide range of categories and on a diverse set of topics. It’s actually like the marriage of Aardvark and Google Answers.

With Rewarder each person offers a “reward” (usually $10 or less) for answers to questions submitted by the community. The back end figures out who should see the questions based on user profiles and histories. Users can post for free but they must pay to see the answers. The site takes a percentage of the fee and gives the rest to the community member with the “winning” answer as chosen by the person who asked the question.

The model doesn’t suffer from the challenges of building traffic to generate page views because it’s transactional and not advertising based. And the paid nature of the service frees it from the quasi-spam and lower quality content that plagues sites such as Yahoo Answers and Answers.com.

There’s clearly a role and demand for direct human answers and advice that straight ahead search results can’t fulfill. It’s interesting, however, that years after the closure of Google Answers (because people wouldn’t pay) a site like Rewarder has resuscitated its model and appears to have found a way to make it work while addressing many of the content failings of the free sites.

Many Web-Only Retailers Fail to Offer Optimized Mobile Experiences [Study]

The Search Agency today released a new mobile scorecard report, which looked at the Top 100 Web-only retail sites to see how well they fared against key elements in a mobile user's experience. What it found was that overall, sites did not stack up against the study's criteria; the average score amongst 100 web-only retailers was only about 2.8 out of 5.

"Businesses that fail to offer optimized mobile experiences may suffer losses, as 57 percent of smartphone users report they would not recommend a website with a poorly designed mobile site," The Search Agency said in its report.

"This is especially important for web-only retailers, those businesses that sell products primarily online and do not have brick and mortar businesses with physical locations. Businesses that rely exclusively on web purchases might logically have sites that are more highly optimized for mobile devices than brick and mortar or multichannel retailers."

Here's a snapshot of the Top 25 Web-only retailers and their scoring positions, according to The Search Agency's research:

The winner was ecommerce site Nasty Gal, a women's clothing retailer, with a score of about 4.7. "This site used responsive web design and featured most of the major criteria, showcasing a search box, shopping cart, and sign-in above the fold. An app store prompt is featured prominently at the top and the bottom of the site displays a number of social media buttons," The Search Agency reported.

And, according to the report, the vertical with the most mobile friendly sites was jewelry. "All the sites in this category either used responsive web design or a dedicated mobile site, and all of the sites loaded in under five seconds. They also consistently displayed the key features that are most important for Web-only retailers," stated the report.

For this report, The Search Agency weighted home pages of Web-only retailers against factors in its scorecard, such as:

Load timeSite formatSearch boxShopping cartSign inSocial mediaApp

Few of the sites examined used responsive design, said The Search Agency, which followed the trend found in previous mobile scorecard reports. "Most major companies continued to opt for dedicated mobile sites or desktop sites over responsive web design when deciding how to render their sites for mobile devices."

The Search Agency said this could be due to convenience:

"While responsive web design is the ideal way to future-proof a site to appear on all device types, implementing [responsive web design] on an existing site can be costly and labor-intensive, often requiring an entire site redesign or migration. Dedicated mobile sites can be created more easily without having to change the desktop site. Alternatively, allowing the desktop version of a site to render on mobile requires no extra labor but is also the least mobile-optimized choice for a site."

In light of this findings of this study, The Search Agency shared tips for Web-only retailers to create a better mobile experience for their users:

Make the content fit the screen: Consider using responsive web design to ensure the content fits all screens, no matter what the device. Here's a paper from The Search Agency on that topic.Provide visual cues for ease of navigation: Make sure important information is placed above the fold, and the shopping cart is easily accessible.Make sure your site is fast: Check out these tools and tips from Google on how to examine the speed of your site.

More details are provided in the report, which can be found here.

Car Makers Drove 14.4 Million Clicks From Google Ads In 2 Months (And That Doesn’t Include Mobile)

A whopping 177 automotive manufacture sites drove�14.4 million paid search clicks from Google ads on desktops and tablets this January and February.

Of those 177 advertisers, the top 20 advertisers (roughly 11 percent) accounted for 81 percent of the paid search clicks in the two month period, according to new data from search marketing intelligence firm Adgooroo.

Looking at desktop/tablet impression share, Toyota led the pack with its two sites: Toyota.com and Buytoyota.com. Ford.com, Chevrolet.com and Honda.com round out the share of voice leaders.

Another 23 sites battled it out for a decent share of visibility, while the remaining 149 advertisers accounted for roughly the same impression share as Chevrolet.com alone.

A look at the highly fragmented share of impressions in the automotive sector, AdWords Desktop/Tablet.

Adgooroo looked at a mobile performance as well and found a similar fragmentation among advertisers. Chevrolet.com and Toyota.com hold the top spots in mobile as well, but Dodge.com and NissanUSA.com each hold a larger share of voice on mobile than they do on desktop/tablet.

Adgooroo looked at a subset of keywords in their mobile analysis, so they did not provide click or impression data for comparison to desktop/tablet.

I asked Adgooroo about historical trends for the automotive sector on paid search. A representative provided the following desktop/tablet spend data on U.S. AdWords in the Automotive Manufacturer category:

2010 $115 million2011 $165 million2012 $195 million2013 $178 million

Wondering why that steady growth trend appears to have slowed last year? Adgooroo suspects it’s on account of mobile, stating,

Although spend dropped between 2012 and 2013, we believe that dip is attributable to a shift in spend from Desktop/Tablet to Mobile Search. We do not have Mobile Search spend for 2013 because we debuted our mobile search product in 2014. However, our data shows that Mobile Search spend in January and February this year was at least $1.3 million and probably higher. Averaging the total for January and February ($1.3 million) over a full year, for instance, would add approximately $7.8 million to the Desktop/Tablet total, without even considering seasonality.

Is Rewarder The Heir Of Google Answers?

There have been a range of “answer engines” or “help engines” (Q&A sites) that have come and gone over the years. Some of them might be considered “social search.”

Yahoo Answers, Ask.com (more recently focused on Q&A), Answers.com, Askville (Amazon), ChaCha, Keen, JustAnswer/Pearl are among those that remain and still exist. Verticals with Q&A angles are also seeing success because of their more focused content.

Pearl, mentioned above, is a paid service that is reportedly doing very well focused on professional advice. But most of the other Q&A sites are struggling.�Quora is a case-in-point, trying to broaden its appeal as it searches for a business model. The just-launched Jelly is also struggling for visibility but has considerable “runway.”

Google’s relatively new video advice site Helpouts is a useful and well-designed service but one doesn’t get the sense that many people know about it or that Google is actively promoting it.

Many sites in this Q&A/answer engine category have folded or been shuttered, including Google Answers, Facebook Questions, Hunch, Mosio, Mahalo Answers, Ether and Aardvark (acquired by Google) and others. For those who don’t remember it, Google Answers was a paid service that closed down in the face of a growing array of free alternatives. Yet some of those free alternatives are basically page view generators for display advertising.

Yahoo Answers, for example, was a once-decent product that fell into what might be called “disrepair.” The quality of the information there is uneven at best, as illustrated by this inspired comedic bit from the Tonight Show.

A relatively new site called Rewarder (since 2012), which just announced a partnership with eBay today, is the heir apparent to Google Answers and seems to have found a successful formula to win vs. the free sites. The service offers an expert network of more than 750,000 enthusiasts and “prosumers” who answer questions in a wide range of categories and on a diverse set of topics. It’s actually like the marriage of Aardvark and Google Answers.

With Rewarder each person offers a “reward” (usually $10 or less) for answers to questions submitted by the community. The back end figures out who should see the questions based on user profiles and histories. Users can post for free but they must pay to see the answers. The site takes a percentage of the fee and gives the rest to the community member with the “winning” answer as chosen by the person who asked the question.

The model doesn’t suffer from the challenges of building traffic to generate page views because it’s transactional and not advertising based. And the paid nature of the service frees it from the quasi-spam and lower quality content that plagues sites such as Yahoo Answers and Answers.com.

There’s clearly a role and demand for direct human answers and advice that straight ahead search results can’t fulfill. It’s interesting, however, that years after the closure of Google Answers (because people wouldn’t pay) a site like Rewarder has resuscitated its model and appears to have found a way to make it work while addressing many of the content failings of the free sites.

Google Now Allows You To Rearrange The Google Navigation Bar

Google announced last night that you can now, or in the upcoming weeks as Google rolls it out, customize and rearrange the order of the products and apps within the Google navigation bar as you like.

Meaning, if you want to move up the Google Maps icon and move down the Google Sites icon in that navigation bar, you can by dragging and dropping the icons where you want them.

Here is an animated GIF of it in action:

If you do not see this yet, do not worry, Google says they are “rolling this out over the next couple weeks, so please hold tight if you aren’t seeing it yet.”

Many Web-Only Retailers Fail to Offer Optimized Mobile Experiences [Study]

The Search Agency today released a new mobile scorecard report, which looked at the Top 100 Web-only retail sites to see how well they fared against key elements in a mobile user's experience. What it found was that overall, sites did not stack up against the study's criteria; the average score amongst 100 web-only retailers was only about 2.8 out of 5.

"Businesses that fail to offer optimized mobile experiences may suffer losses, as 57 percent of smartphone users report they would not recommend a website with a poorly designed mobile site," The Search Agency said in its report.

"This is especially important for web-only retailers, those businesses that sell products primarily online and do not have brick and mortar businesses with physical locations. Businesses that rely exclusively on web purchases might logically have sites that are more highly optimized for mobile devices than brick and mortar or multichannel retailers."

Here's a snapshot of the Top 25 Web-only retailers and their scoring positions, according to The Search Agency's research:

The winner was ecommerce site Nasty Gal, a women's clothing retailer, with a score of about 4.7. "This site used responsive web design and featured most of the major criteria, showcasing a search box, shopping cart, and sign-in above the fold. An app store prompt is featured prominently at the top and the bottom of the site displays a number of social media buttons," The Search Agency reported.

And, according to the report, the vertical with the most mobile friendly sites was jewelry. "All the sites in this category either used responsive web design or a dedicated mobile site, and all of the sites loaded in under five seconds. They also consistently displayed the key features that are most important for Web-only retailers," stated the report.

For this report, The Search Agency weighted home pages of Web-only retailers against factors in its scorecard, such as:

Load timeSite formatSearch boxShopping cartSign inSocial mediaApp

Few of the sites examined used responsive design, said The Search Agency, which followed the trend found in previous mobile scorecard reports. "Most major companies continued to opt for dedicated mobile sites or desktop sites over responsive web design when deciding how to render their sites for mobile devices."

The Search Agency said this could be due to convenience:

"While responsive web design is the ideal way to future-proof a site to appear on all device types, implementing [responsive web design] on an existing site can be costly and labor-intensive, often requiring an entire site redesign or migration. Dedicated mobile sites can be created more easily without having to change the desktop site. Alternatively, allowing the desktop version of a site to render on mobile requires no extra labor but is also the least mobile-optimized choice for a site."

In light of this findings of this study, The Search Agency shared tips for Web-only retailers to create a better mobile experience for their users:

Make the content fit the screen: Consider using responsive web design to ensure the content fits all screens, no matter what the device. Here's a paper from The Search Agency on that topic.Provide visual cues for ease of navigation: Make sure important information is placed above the fold, and the shopping cart is easily accessible.Make sure your site is fast: Check out these tools and tips from Google on how to examine the speed of your site.

More details are provided in the report, which can be found here.

How A Single Guest Post May Have Gotten An Entire Site Penalized By Google

Google made it clear earlier this year that those doing guest posts “for SEO purposes” might be subject to penalties. But the latest chapter in its war on guest posts feels a bit crazy: an entire site put into Google’s penalty box because of a single guest post that Google didn’t like.

Your Entire Site Has Been Penalized By Google

The situation involves DocSheldon.com, run by Doc Sheldon, a long-time SEO. Sheldon recently discovered that he’d been issued a penalty against his entire site, as he shared in an open letter to Google:

As you can see from the penalty report above, Google decided there were “unnatural links” from his site and applied a manual action that meant his entire site “may not perform as well in Google results.”

But Google Won’t Explain Exactly Why

So what were those links? As we wrote earlier this week, here’s another case of Google failing to keep its promise to provide more examples relating to penalties. Google doesn’t appear to have shown what any of these unnatural links are, in order to give Sheldon a clue about what the exact problem was that hurt his entire site.

Hence Sheldon’s open letter, which he tweeted at the head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts (and which also got lots of discussion at Inbound.org). That got Cutts to reply with some specifics:

@DocSheldon what “Best Practices For Hispanic Social Networking” has to do with an SEO copywriting blog? Manual webspam notice was on point.

� Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 24, 2014

Cutts seemed to be referring to this page on Sheldon’s site, a guest post that was written in March 2013.

Condemned For A Single Link?

The post (which doesn’t appear to have changed since it first went up) contains two links at the end, within the author’s bio, one of them leading to his LinkedIn page:

The other link, as the arrow points to above, talks about where people can find a reliable source of “Hispanic data” which leads to a page�that’s more a lead-generation pitch about big data as it applies to the Hispanic market rather than providing any direct, further information.

The SEO savvy person hypersensitive to any possible freak-out Google might have, will look at those words “Hispanic data” in the anchor text and get that Google might consider them too “keyword rich” and thus potentially suspicious. Such is the life of the SEO, condemned never to view the web as “normals” might, because as SEOs, they’re pretty aware that Google will hold them to a much higher standard than normals, if it ever takes a closer look at something.

So back to the tweet from Cutts. Apparently, he fired up some tool at Google to take a close look at Sheldon’s site, found this page relating to the penalty and felt that a guest post on Hispanic social networking wasn’t appropriate for a blog about SEO copywriting, as Sheldon’s site proclaims itself about in its tag line.

Convicted After-The-Fact

Therefore, this guest post is presumably something Google decided was done only for SEO purposes, rather than to educate Sheldon’s readers and thus was subject to Google’s new guidelines about guest posts that it established nine months AFTER this guest post went up.

Aside from the obvious disturbing action of Google in making up new rules and then imposing after-the-fact penalties, Sheldon’s site isn’t just about SEO copywriting. Let’s look at that tagline ourselves:

The site also covers “content strategy,” and arguably, best practices about Hispanic social networking can fall into that.

Google’s Going To Decide What Sites Are Off-Topic About?

More broadly, while it’s easy to dismiss all this as some type of SEO squawking, it should be pretty disturbing to any publisher that Google might fairly broadly decide just how narrow your site has to be, in order to escape a penalty, if you have guest authors it deems writing off-topic.

Nor is Sheldon’s site some hotbed of guest posts. When I was asked about this case during my Reddit AMA yesterday, I did some digging and found one other guest post. The link in that guest post also had some issues that threw up red flags. But two guest posts out of a site that contains nearly 300 pages seems excessive to condemn the entire site.

Indeed, as our�10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google, From Rap Genius To The BBC�post from earlier this year explains, the BBC, Mozilla and Sprint all had penalties issued against them involving a single page of content on their sites. But unlike Sheldon, only those pages were penalized, not the entire site.

Yes, We Need Search Police — But Also Fair Search Police

I’d say this is jump-the-shark time when it comes to Google penalties except that Google jumped-the-shark with penalties ages ago. Yes, it has sometimes good reasons to police spam. Yes, going after guest blog networks that may exist with a primary reason to generate links for people rather than content may also make sense.

That’s what happened to MyBlogGuest, a penalty that continues to be a hotly debated in some SEO circles. I’ll just say that when Google said in January that it was going after guest blogging for SEO purposes (which means guest blogging for links), having a top-level pitch that using the network as a way to earn links was pretty dumb:

It’s like seeing the bull running at you and just standing there declaring that it shouldn’t. From what I gather, MyBlogGuest required publishers using guest posts to also provide direct links, not allowing nofollow to be used, with from what I also gather was an attitude that Google shouldn’t be able to tell anyone how they should regulate links.

I get that. I really do. Go read our�What Is The Nofollow Tag; When & How To Use It�article, and you can see my personal frustration with Google’s never-ending new rules about what are “good” links versus what are “bad” links. I’d also strongly encourage anyone — including those at Google — to go back and read these:

Links: The Broken �Ballot Box� Used By Google & BingWhen Everyone Gets The Vote: Social Shares As The New Link Building

But links aren’t going away as a signal, as Google reaffirmed earlier this month. That also means Google’s likely to continue with the sometimes crazy rules it wants to apply to linking.

Some Suggestions

As a suggestion to all parties, I’d say:

Google: Enough with the penalties and get into a model where if you don’t like a link, you don’t count it rather than issuing penaltiesSEOs & Publishers: Forget how you can build links, which is just too dangerous now. Think how you can build audience — and if links come as part of that, it’s side-benefit

As for Sheldon, the good news is that he tells me his penalty has now been removed, five days after it was imposed. That is good news. At most, it should have only applied to a single page.

Perhaps the entire debacle will cause Google to better deliver on its promise of more actionable reports, as well as take to heart that the entire penalty attitude needs some reform.

Related ArticlesMatt Cutts: �Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done�MyBlogGuest.com Confirms It�s Been Hit By Google PenaltyGoogle�s Matt Cutts Implies MyBlogGuest Publishers Will Receive PenaltiesNearly A Year Later, Google�s Penalty Notices Remain Confusing

Task Analysis: The Key UX Design Step Everyone Skips

After 25 years of user experience (UX) consulting, I can easily state that pretty much everyone skips the critical step that guarantees success: task analysis. Some folks claim to do it, but what they do is not task analysis.

First, a definition: Task analysis is a step-by-step analysis of the users' task, from their perspective.

Many folks mistake use cases for task analysis. Use cases are system-centric, describing how the actors interact with the system, not how the user performs their tasks.

Another common mistake is to perform time and motion studies of the current design. The objective of a task analysis is to capture and understand the user's perspective of their tasks, not of the existing technology.

It's vital to remain solution agnostic and avoid documenting the process of using the current technology. Otherwise you'll end up merely automating current frustrations.

For instance, when we conducted the user research for an online florist, we didn't watch users buy flowers online. We visited brick-and-mortar flower shops to watch how buyers selected flowers. What we uncovered radically changed our design approach and made Proflowers a market dominating success.

The goal is to understand the individual steps in the task process that flow from trigger to outcome. You also need to identify the decision points in the task flow, as these are the critical points requiring specific knowledge by the user.

You'll find that users often lack the specific knowledge necessary to accurately make the right decision. Your design should avoid relying on some knowledge users will not likely have and instead find ways to either impart the knowledge they need or optimize the task based on the knowledge you know the users will have.

Define the Problem, First

The reason task analysis is so critical to the success of a product is that it accurately defines the users' problems. You can't accurately solve a problem until you just as accurately define it.

The typical mistake most product teams make is to ardently believe that they already know the users' problems. In my 25 years of experience on over 250 projects, not one single product has been focused on solving the right problem. All of those folks who thought they knew their users' problem were dead wrong.

Remember, if you don't know the problem, the best you can hope for is to solve the wrong problem, very well. An objective task analysis will help you realize just how far off your design really is.

The Ubiquitous Shopping Cart

Pretty much every ecommerce site includes a shopping cart, but few do it right.

Breaking down the task, users find something they like while shopping and then engage in one of several potential task sequences:

They are looking for only one item, find it, and want to purchase it. If the user is looking for one thing, they may likely want to skip the shopping cart and go straight to the checkout sequence – express checkout.They are looking for only one item, but realize they need other things that go with that item and need to purchase the two items. (Suggestive selling – nothing goes better with your flower purchase than a box of chocolates.) Proflowers has done very well without a shopping cart and has a very successful suggestive up-selling conversion rate.They are looking for several items. They find something they want, flag it, and continue looking for other things. Once they find all their intended items, they purchase them. This is the only task that a typical shopping cart serves well. However, this is one of the least common tasks.They are just browsing. When they find something interesting, they need some way to flag that item or put it in a wish list. When they do decide to buy something, they may have several things in the wish list that they would like to keep in the wish list. The problem with using the shopping cart for a wish list is that the users have to remove some items in order to purchase the ones in the cart that they need right now, thus losing all the other wish list items. This increases shopper anxiety since it creates fear of losing their other saved items. This is one of the most common shopping tasks. You can easily see how a typical shopping cart fails at this task.They are just comparison shopping and need a way to keep track of various options and switch between them to determine which is the better option. Again, this is a common task and the shopping cart is ill equipped to support this, well.

The typical shopping cart is often used for many things other than just holding your intended purchases. The typical shopping cart is used more like a temporary storage device or shopper wish list than the "shopping cart" it was intended to be.

Your objective should be first to determine which scenario represents the most common usage pattern of your users and then to optimize your design for that pattern. You may not even need a shopping cart, at all.

For instance, Proflowers is one of the most successful ecommerce sites on the Internet and it doesn't have a shopping cart. Shoppers tend to buy one bouquet at a time and we incorporated suggestive up-selling as part of the checkout sequence.

Other online florist sites copy the general Proflowers design approach, but include a shopping cart. These sites aren't nearly as successful as Proflowers. You do the math.

Start With User Research

First and foremost, begin by conducting some observational user research, You can't effectively conduct a task analysis without actually watching the users.

If you just gather a team in a room and start analyzing the users tasks based on your knowledge, you will fail. You know too much about your product and are already biased by its approach. You will merely end up mimicking your current approach.

You only need to observe a few users to get an idea of their perspective. Avoid analysis paralysis and don't go into too much detail.

Which users to observe is always the question and most companies that do user research tend to research their existing customers. The problem is, those users have already drank your Kool-Aid and are biased by your existing design.

The best insights come from people who don't use your site. For that matter, you may want to observe users not using any site to solve their problem.

For Proflowers, we watched men buy flowers in flower shops, not online. Try to avoid biasing your research by watching users using existing technology.

When your task domain is unavoidably cluttered with existing technology solutions, making it difficult to observe the tasks independent of any technology, you might have to resort to conducting your observations within an analogous task scenario.

For instance, when designing a medical charting device for in-patient medical procedures performed by nurses, the nurse environment was polluted by various electronic devices and made it nearly impossible to capture their true needs. However, we were able to observe similar charting responsibilities performed by in-patient physical therapists. Though the medical procedures were different, the charting tasks were close enough to accurately portray the true needs of the nurses.

The five key things to look for in a user observation are:

Trigger: What gets users to start their task.Desired Outcome: How they will know when the task is complete.Base Knowledge: What will the users be expected to know when starting the task.Required Knowledge: What they actually need to know to complete the task.Artifacts: What tools or information do they use in the course of the task.

One of the keys to a great design is being able to embed knowledge into the product instead of relying on the users to have that knowledge. Determining the knowledge you can expect users to have and the knowledge required in order to succeed identifies the knowledge gap that your design must bridge.

Diagram the Task Flow

Once you've completed some observations, use sticky notes to create a flow diagram of the observed tasks.

Start with a high-level overall task flow, then create more details task flows for each of the separate tasks. I use different colored sticky notes to represent different aspects of the user's task.

Green represents the actions that users need to do.Yellow represents a step the system can do.Purple represents objects, tools, or information that the users need.Orange represents questions or issues about the task.

Basic task analysis only describes how users currently solve their problem, now, not how they could solve it. The real genius of the task analysis process is in optimizing the task. The real goal of task analysis is finding ways to remove or automate specific task steps, thereby helping the user achieve their desired outcome with fewer steps or less dependence on user knowledge.

Optimize the Task

Optimizing is the key to differentiating your site from the rest of the herd. The optimization process identifies the real opportunities and unmet needs in a task domain.

For instance, while everyone else is relying on a shopping cart to address the other tasks in a typical shopping domain, you may find that your shoppers need a wish list with comparison tools. Once you solve for that need, shoppers will be more likely to use your site, instead of the competitors.

The trick to optimizing the users' task is to start the process with the desired outcome and work backwards up the task flow. The goal is to find ways to eliminate user steps, or as we like to call it, turning the greens to yellows, getting the system to do more of the work for the user.

Knowledge Design

A key approach to automating some of the task involves applying your user personas to determine where the task requires information or knowledge that the users are not likely to have, but need. This is an opportunity to embed your company's knowledge of the task to aid the user.

Common methods to designing knowledge into your site are to include templates, intelligent defaults, or suggestions, or to optimize the flow along a "best practices" approach.

You know more than your users about what your site can do to help them. Optimize the site to guide them down a single best-practice approach.

A common mistake most sites make is to add more functionality or choices. In reality, users perform much better if they have fewer choices about product or functionality.

To paraphrase Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, your design is done not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove. This is the objective of task optimization, to reduce user steps and decisions.

For instance, with the Proflowers site, most of the users were men buying flowers for women. Let's be honest, men know next to nothing about building bouquets, so asking them to build a bouquet (the de facto standard approach, back then) failed miserably.

The task analysis identified that men needed to pick a bouquet, but knew nothing about which bouquet was the right one for their occasion. By organizing the bouquets by occasion, rather than by flower type, we eliminated the need for the men to know which bouquet was right for their occasion. They merely needed to select their occasion, then choose from any of the bouquets grouped in that occasion page.

Summary

Although you may think you know your users and their tasks, just give this user research and task analysis approach a try and see if you don't notice any glaring differences between what users need and what your design provides. It takes a little practice, but not a lot of time.

Once you've completed some of the task analysis, walk through the task flow with your persona and current design to see where your design doesn't fit the user or the task. Don't be surprised if you find new, unmet opportunities that will leapfrog your competition and dominate your market.

If your new design looks just like everyone else's, you've done something wrong. Done right, this analysis always uncovers novel design approaches. I've used this process to create many market-dominating designs over the years, and none of them looked like the competitor designs.

Bing Product Ads Now Open to All U.S. Advertisers

After a closed beta for months, Bing has announced the release of Product Ads to all U.S. advertisers.

The ads include custom images from an advertiser’s own product catalog, promotional text, pricing, and company name. The ad costs are the same as other text ads on a pay-per-click basis with bidding done on product targets.

Product Ads can also show simultaneously with advertisers’ text ads for the same merchant, giving advertisers even more SERP real estate. Up to six product ads may show in the results at one time and will run on both Yahoo and Bing.

Individual ad creation isn't necessary because Product Ads pull information directly from the advertisers product feed. Campaigns can also be imported from Google AdWords Product Listing Ads for added convenience.

The features and functionality between Bing Product Ads and Google Product Listing Ads are similar, which should offer consistency for Advertiser.

The Yahoo Bing Network delivers significant traffic from online shopping which could be a great benefit for retail advertisers to expand scope of their PPC program.

According to comScore data, the Yahoo Bing Network gives advertisers access to 510 million total retail searches per month, 22 percent of all retail clicks, and 31 million retailer searchers that you can't reach on Google.

Additional information and resources on these new ads can be found here.

Hot Gold Companies To Own In Right Now

Hot Gold Companies To Own In Right Now: Goldcorp Incorporated(GG)

Goldcorp Inc. engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and operation of precious metal properties in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. It produces and sells gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc. The company was founded in 1954 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Daniel Gibbs]

    Senior gold miners
    Another way to profit from rising gold prices is to invest in the producers. One advantage that investing in mining companies can have over the purchase of physical gold is the ability to derive cash flow from your investment. The only way to profit off of an investment in physical gold is to sell it for a higher price than what you bought it for. Mining companies, however, do generate cash, and in many cases the mining company returns some of this cash to investors in the form of a dividend. For example, Goldcorp (NYSE: GG  ) , one of the largest gold miners in the world, pays a trailing dividend of $0.60 per share. This is a 2.10% yield at the current stock price.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Gold and gold miners are generally thought to do best when the market is worried about inflation. Yet the recent rally in gold miners like Goldcorp (GG), Eldorado Gold (EGO) and Randgold Resources (GOLD) has come despite an increase in worries about deflation.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:http://www.topstocksblog.com/hot-gold-companies-to-own-in-right-now.html

Not Ranking in Google: Is a Manual Penalty, Algorithmic Change, or Content to Blame?

Between major algorithms like Panda and Penguin, and just plain old everyday Google algorithmic changes, it can sometimes be hard for to figure out why your site isn't ranking in Google as highly as you would like.

So how can you know why exactly your site isn't a ranking well in Google? Is it Panda? Penguin? A regular search algo issue? Or does a competiting site simply have better content than you? This is the topic of the latest Google webmaster help video featuring Matt Cutts.

First, Cutts brings up the issue of a manual penalty and suggests users first check their Google Webmaster Tools account. Here they can see whether the problem has been detailed within the account and what the solution is.

"... It could very well be the case that, 'hey we thought there was some keyword stuffing or cloaking or whatever going on,' and that's a clear-cut case, you'll get a notification, you'll get a message, and then you can start to figure out and investigate, 'OK, where can I start to improve things or what can I change to make things better.'"

Google Webmaster Tools will also alert the webmaster to any issues such as crawl errors that may be impacting the crawlability of a site.

"We have seen sites that will launch a new development website that was previously noindexed, and forget to take off the noindex tag," Cutts said. "Or there's 404s or we can reach your site, or that sort of thing."

But what about other algorithmic issues? First, he explains is a lot more difficult to determine algorithmic "penalty" because Google doesn't really view it as being a penalty.

"Really, the web spam team writes all sorts of code but that goes into the holistic ranking we do, and so if you're affected by one algorithm do you call it penalty, and if you're affected by another algorithm do not call it a penalty, is a pretty tough call to make," Cutts explained. "Especially when the web spam team is working on more and more general quality changes, not necessarily things specifically related to web spam, and sometimes general quality people work on things related to web spam, so deciding which one to call which is kind of hard to do. So we typically just think about it as the holistic ranking."

Also coming into play is the vast number of changes and tweaks that Google makes to its search algorithms at any time. If every change was considered a penalty, it would quickly become a convoluted mess for webmasters trying to sort out each individual change made.

Some changes are more obvious than others, but some are such subtle tweaks that it can be really hard to notice the difference or to determine what exactly was impacted, especially if multiple changes are rolled out at once.

"We rolled out something like 665 different changes to how we rank search results in 2012, so any given day, the odds that we're rolling out some algorithmic change are pretty good. In fact we might rolling out a couple, if you just look the raw number of changes that we're doing," Cutts said.

Cutts said Google likes to give heads up when they are releasing some change to the algorithm that they think will have a pretty significant impact on a larger group of websites.

"For example the Penguin algorithm, which is targeted towards web spam, or the Panda algorithm, which is targeted towards quality content on the web. Whenever we have large-scale changes that will affect things, then we tend to do an announcement, that 'oh yeah this changed,' or 'you should look at this particular date,' and that can be a good indicator to know whether you're affected by one of those more jolting algorithms that has a big impact," Cutts said.

Why doesn't Google make a point of announcing more of these changes? Cutts said that sometimes the changes are subtle enough or only tweaked slightly that there is not really any point in announcing the changes, however they do when there is significant change.

"What you've seen is, for example, Panda has become more and more integrated into indexing and it has less of a jolting impact, and in fact we've gotten it so that it changes the index on a pretty regular basis, and it's built into the index rather than rolling out on a certain day, so it's less useful to announce or talk about Panda launches at this point," Cutts said. "Whereas Penguin is still a switch that flips, or it's something that starts rolling out a discrete time, and so we're a bit more willing to talk about those and let people know and have a heads up, 'hey you might be affected by the Penguin algorithm.'"

So what does this really mean for those still trying to figure out what kind of penalty or algorithm is impacting their site's rankings negatively?

"In general, if your site is not ranking where you want it to rank, the bad news is that it's a little hard and difficult to say whether you call the penalty or not, is just a part of ranking," Cutts said. "The good news is, it is algorithmic, so if you modify your site, if you change your site, if you apply your best guess about what the other site is doing that you should be doing or that it is doing well, then it's always possible for the algorithm to rescore your site or for us to recrawl and reindex the site and for it to start ranking highly again.

"So it's kind of tricky because we have a large amount of algorithms that all interact and whether you call something a penalty or ranking change, or any of those things can be really hard to draw a fine distinction between those different points," Cutts said. "But the nice thing is, as you change your site, you can always see that these algorithms can sort of rerun and reprocess the site, and then the site can regain in rankings many of the times."

Bottom line, it comes down the best practices. We can see what your competitors are doing better than you that are also outranking you in Google, and see if you can make some changes to improve the quality of your site and make it better in the eyes of Google.

There are very few sites that are totally perfect in every way, and there's almost always something that can be improved upon in order to increase or maintain rankings in the Google search index.

40% of Marketers Want to Reinvent Themselves: Data & Change at Adobe Summit 2014

Forty percent of marketers say they want to reinvent themselves, but only 14 percent actually know how, according to Adobe research debuted today at the Adobe Summit.

Search, social, content, and digital marketers probably agree it's an exciting time in marketing; but it can also be a confusing time; countless options to track data and our customers often leave brands overwhelmed and scratching their heads on how to make sense of it all.

Allow me to show you the bigger picture – a picture that we are part of regardless of our role in search, social, digital, and content – as we are all marketers.

The fact is, reinvention is at our fingertips, but sometimes seems slightly out of reach. While some may not know what solutions to explore, others may not know solutions are even out there.

I tend to choose my words carefully when people ask me about the future of marketing (the discipline) and the future of the marketer (the professional). Top of the list is 'integration'. The word and the concept are nothing new, but understanding how integration is actually manifesting into tangible ways of marketing is new to many.

Today, the reinvention of marketing and the marketer requires:

The ability to pull together data from multiple sources in one place, process it in a standardized manner, and package it in a way a marketer can understand.The power to collaborate with other business units across a company and its teams when working on campaigns, so efforts are streamlined.The capacity to deliver a personalized experience to the customer based on a brand's understanding of who that customer is, what device they are on, and where they are interacting with the brand.

Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. This has become somewhat of a mantra for the marketing community ever since Google's ZMOT ("zero moment of truth") campaign launched. Since then, the means necessary to actually be able to do that has developed dramatically.

A key theme here at Adobe Summit this week is "marketing reinvention." Let's have a look at some of the ways marketers can reinvent themselves through the concept of integration.

The Reinvention of the Marketer: The Right Data

It may not be obvious, but marketers have the ability to transform their profession and skill set with the right data.

But they need to think big. Data that lives in disconnected silos has little value to the marketer, since today's marketing campaign is multi-channel, multi-device, and multi-language.

But before marketers can begin to explore their options for data processing, they have to want it. According to Adobe's research, 76 percent of marketers agreed they needed to be more data focused, yet 49 percent said they trusted their "gut" to guide decisions on marketing budgets. Now there's a serious disconnect.

If you're considering "reinvention," map out your customer's journey and start planning for how data from those touch points can integrate, such as:

What devices your customers use at what stage.Where your customers are based geographically.What channels your customers are engaging in with your brand.The history of the customer's engagement with your brand.The Reinvention of Marketing: Personalized Experiences

A personalized experience for your customer is the next stage of marketing reinvention. But just as data from multiple disconnected silos does little for the marketer, integrated data does nothing without action.

It seems as though marketers agree. According to Adobe research, 63 percent of high-performing companies say they're "completely focused" or "very focused" on personalizing experiences for customers; even the majority (53 percent) of "low-performing" companies said the same.

While the technology and the ambition are there, the adoption is slow going. While 69 percent of marketers agreed the need for "hyper-personalization" in marketing is key, only 39 percent used data and behavior patterns to shape marketing strategy in the past year or so.

But there have been wins for companies that dared to take on the challenge. A 2014 Forrester report highlighted how some companies were tackling data and personalization head on:

A business-to-business (B2B) company we spoke to has a diverse customer base that includes buyers from many different verticals, different departments, and various organization sizes. Each of these users necessitated a different web experience. The company's first step included implementing and integrating marketing automation, analytics, third-party data sources (e.g., using the IP address to determine a user's vertical), and testing tools. The firm heavily relied on AD&D pros to integrate the solutions, particularly on the data front (e.g., merging customer resource management [CRM] data with marketing automation solutions). The new, more contextual web experience now presents a more contextual experience across the website with content such as industry-specific case studies and webinars in addition to promotions targeted to the type of user.

At Adobe Summit, new features announced by Adobe take personalization to a new level. The "Master Marketing Profile" is an industry first, and offers a single view of the customer.

From this profile, marketers have the ability to deliver customized results to a brand's consumer, and consumers gain a relevant and personalized experience, no matter what channel or device they're coming from.

Included in this ability to hyper-personalize a brand's experience is a new release of Adobe Target. Adobe Target Premium builds on its foundation of being able to deliver, test and change content quickly through a "self-learning algorithmic approach."

The Reinvention of Marketing Management: Data in the Cloud

Large and small businesses alike often have different team members working on interconnected campaigns at the same time. And while it may feel as though progress is being made on multiple fronts, the results can be disjointed if teams aren't communicating or collaborating.

Integration, then, becomes the future of marketing management. And many brands are taking advantage of this through cloud-based tools – like the tools available through Adobe. The amount of data processed 'speaks volumes';

460 billion dynamic campaign assets delivered annually.18 trillion transaction annually; 2 trillion mobile analytics transactions annually.27 petabytes of data managed annually.

In fact, data coming from Adobe Summit shows 64 percent of the Fortune 50 use the Adobe Marketing Cloud including:

Seventeen of top 20 internet retailers.Five of the top five global auto manufacturers.Five of the top five media companies.Nine of the top 10 commercial banks.Five of the top five North American airlines.

Marketing management through the cloud is attractive to many because:

Users of all technology levels and specializations can collaborate in one easy-to-use interface.Multiple teams and/or business units can gain visibility into what one another is doing.Are You Ready for Change?

Change sometimes means a willingness to take risks. Adobe research showed 50 percent of marketers knew they should take more risks, and 45 percent hoped to take more risks. When it came to the technology that could help them in their profession, 65 percent said they're more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream.

"Marketers today want to reinvent themselves and the way they approach their work, but the majority need help to thrive in a digital world," said Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of digital marketing business at Adobe.

This week, at least, Adobe Summit is helping marketers discover new ways to reinvent themselves as professionals through the way they approach marketing. Throughout the week I will be meeting with key industry leaders and brands across all digital, search and social marketing disciplines to take a deeper dive into just what integration and reinvention means to them.

Regardless of your marketing discipline – digital, search, content or social – the same message rings true: "Reinvent what you do, how you do it and how you measure your success"

Google’s Matt Cutts: Determining If Your Site Ranking Is Result Of A Penalty Is “Tricky”

Today’s video from Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts tackles the question, “How can you tell if your site is suffering from an algorithmic penalty, or you are simply being outgunned by better content?”

According to Cutts:

It’s kind of tricky because we have a large amount of algorithms that all interact, and whether you call something a penalty, or ranking change…any of those things can be really hard to draw a fine distinction between those different points.

If you’re wondering why your site’s ranking has dropped, Cutts suggests first going to� Webmaster Tools to see if you have a penalty notification, or if there are any crawl errors listed.

Cutts goes on to say his team doesn’t really think in terms of algorithmic penalties, working “more and more” on code that applies to general quality changes.

“We typically just think about it as the holistic ranking,” says Cutts, claiming Google rolled out somewhere around 665 algorithm changes affecting search results in 2012.

While Cutts claims it’s difficult to determine if a ranking is the result of a penalty or simply poor content, he says the good news is that rankings are algorithmic, making it possible for a site owner to change and modify their site so that it can be re-scored by Google, and re-indexed for a better ranking.

Google Misattributing Content From Major News Publishers

A reader has sent us examples of Google misattributing content from dozens of large online news publications, with hundreds thousands of examples of Google indexing URLs and pages, but that content being pulled from a different source.

For example, if you search for [hometownlocator site:post-gazette.com], the first result is local.post-gazette.com/boardman+florist.9.125954212p.home.html:

If you look at the cached result, it brings up a page from hometownlocator.com instead of from site:post-gazette.com. Here is the cached result:

But when you click through it takes you to the post-gazette.com page.

The issue can be with Google or with the publisher. I’ve seen examples of this issue being on both Google’s end and on the publisher’s end.

We’ve emailed Google for a statement on what is going on here but have not heard back after about 12 hours. We will update this post as soon as we hear back.

Postscript: The first example we provided seems to have been an issue on the webmaster end, so we removed it to focus on the issue that seems to be related to Google.

Five Days Later, It Looks Like Google Has Penalized Web Design Library For Selling Links

We all saw this one coming: Web Design Library, the website that was using Twitter to renew paid links last week, appears to have earned a Google penalty.

While I was researching last week’s article, I saw the site ranking at No. 8 for the term web design. Today, I’m seeing it at No. 48 for that same query.

But the more obvious indicator of a penalty is that the site no longer ranks for its own name, Web Design Library.

If you missed the original story, someone using the name “Vince” and tweeting from the @vitaliykoloswdl account was reaching out via Twitter to renew paid link agreements with a number of companies. One of the biggest was T-Mobile, as shown in this conversation that began in February:

But if you look through that account’s tweets, it appears that “Vince” isn’t just reaching out to renew some two-year-old paid links, he’s also tweeting at dozens of companies asking to contact their “link building guy” or “marketing guy” — often mentioning “link building” and “cooperation” between his site and theirs. (Whatever he’s doing, and no matter where you stand on the ethics of buying/selling links, Twitter isn’t the place for it.)

What About T-Mobile & Others?

At the moment, I’m not seeing that T-Mobile has been penalized. It still shows up in Google’s search results for its own name, as well as for prime queries like “cell phones” and “samsung galaxy s4.” And SearchMetrics’ SEO Visibility tool isn’t showing any significant drop in T-Mobile’s visibility.

Why not? It could be that Google hasn’t penalized T-Mobile (and the other link buyers) yet, it could be that there’s not enough evidence that the link actually was bought, or it could be something entirely different. We don’t know. It’s worth mentioning again that, when Google webspam chief Matt Cutts saw the Twitter exchange last week, he directed an “I’m watching you” tweet at “Vince” and not at T-Mobile or any of the other accounts that “Vince” was tweeting at.

@VitaliyKolosWDL ?_?

� Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 20, 2014

 

We’ve reached out to Google for comment, but they don’t typically make comments or answer questions about specific cases. If we learn more, we’ll update this article.

Google Slaps Greek Sites With Penalties

It appears that Google has taken action on spammers, potentially link spammers, in Greece recently.

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, responded on Twitter to a webmaster noticing that many websites in Greece received penalties. Matt responded saying “ah, you noticed the action in Greece?”

Here is Matt’s tweet:

@realpoisom ah, you noticed the action in Greece?

� Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 24, 2014

 

It is unclear if this was a specific action around links or other search spam but based on the pattern we have seen from Google recently, in all likelihood, it is related to a popular link network in Greece. Which one is currently unknown.

Matt Cutts tweeted it this morning at around 3am EST.

Google’s Matt Cutts: Determining If Your Site Ranking Is Result Of A Penalty Is “Tricky”

Today’s video from Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts tackles the question, “How can you tell if your site is suffering from an algorithmic penalty, or you are simply being outgunned by better content?”

According to Cutts:

It’s kind of tricky because we have a large amount of algorithms that all interact, and whether you call something a penalty, or ranking change…any of those things can be really hard to draw a fine distinction between those different points.

If you’re wondering why your site’s ranking has dropped, Cutts suggests first going to� Webmaster Tools to see if you have a penalty notification, or if there are any crawl errors listed.

Cutts goes on to say his team doesn’t really think in terms of algorithmic penalties, working “more and more” on code that applies to general quality changes.

“We typically just think about it as the holistic ranking,” says Cutts, claiming Google rolled out somewhere around 665 algorithm changes affecting search results in 2012.

While Cutts claims it’s difficult to determine if a ranking is the result of a penalty or simply poor content, he says the good news is that rankings are algorithmic, making it possible for a site owner to change and modify their site so that it can be re-scored by Google, and re-indexed for a better ranking.

SEO for Startups & New Businesses: An 11 Step Plan

You're starting a new business. You have a great idea or product, some money to invest, eager customers, and great workers.

With the business model and process elements covered, now is the time plan out how to succeed in search and discovery digital contexts.

Many elements are required to do well nowadays need to be built-in to your site and off-site properties, so here is an outline on how to build a new business that will do SEO right.

Step 1: Know Your Concepts and Keywords

Start by determining what customer behaviors you want to be a part of and what concepts you want to be associated with.

This is bigger than just keywords and keyword research. People, content, functionality, open data, and a bunch of other things will get you business into the conversations you care about.

For the sake of clarity, let's say you're starting a new business based on selling new and used cars and operating car dealerships. Here's what a concept map might look like:

Take the concepts and behaviors you want to be associated with and build a list of strategic keywords. You will use these keywords for a lot of different purposes later.

Step 2: Plan Your Content Investments and Practice Content Marketing

Now that you have a handle on your key concepts and have built a strategic keyword list, you're ready to create a high-level plan for content creation. I say high-level because this will help inform your website user experience, the type of people you hire, and the kind of narrative, social, video, or other type of digital content you invest in.

Here's an example of a high-level editorial plan for a new and used car dealership business:

Note how core concepts inform multiple aspects of content and UX creation.

Step 3: Ensure Your Site is Technically Flawless

This is the world of technical SEO. It has two main components:

Making sure you don't screw up your indexing by creating content that can't be seen or is duplicative.Making sure you create search-engine friendly code.

Modern content management systems do a pretty good job in this area, and if you are using WordPress you are really lucky as there are some great SEO plugins that make tuning the technical side of things easy.

Most content management systems can also create sitemaps – be sure to activate them, submit them to Google, and validate them using Google Webmaster Tools.

One emerging element of technical SEO is the creation of open data sets or APIs. If your business will thrive by getting your inventory or content into as many places as possible, consider creating data feeds or APIs for third-party developers to use.

Step 4: Get Your On-Page and Metadata Act in Order

Discrete content elements – web pages, images, PDFs, videos, social profiles and brand pages, local listings, and off-site (reviews) pages all require on-page optimization. This means knowing the target keyphrase for the content and getting it into the right places – the title, description, copy, etc.

This is too much ground to cover in detail in this one guide, but here are a few helpful optimization resources:

Metadata & You: Best Practices, Benefits & Implementation Made EasyImage Optimization: How to Rank on Image Search5 YouTube Video Optimization TipsSEO for Google+ Profiles, Pages, Local, Communities & Updates5 Social Media Profile Optimization Tips for Brands

You need to make sure every piece of content is optimized before it goes out the door and is published, and that it has both social signal (tweets, Google +1's,) and inbound link support.

There are also a ton of emerging metadata schemas out there – Open Graph, Twitter Card, Google-specific (Authorship, etc.), Schema.org, and others. Best practice is to build this front-end metadata into your templates where appropriate and have them pull the right attributes from the database or have your writers enter the values into the CMS at the point of content creation.

Step 5: Develop Your Social Authority Plan

Social authority, in most cases measured by a given persons G+ profile, has the potential to become a major ranking factor in the emerging world of app-based or semantic knowledge engines.

This means you need to determine who in your company (maybe everybody?) will become active on Google+ and other key social graph and authority platforms like LinkedIn to champion your brand, create content, and get connected to other authoritative people. Google+ posts pass Page Rank, and Google+ profiles may show author attribution on results pages, so it's an especially important platform for SEO.

Some brands don't want every employee to represent their brand in social contexts, some are OK with that. For example, if you work for The Economist, don't expect to see you name appear on any of your articles. If you work at The New York Times, you may even get your Twitter handle in your byline.

Many companies net out in the middle – high profile executives and writers or product people are authorized, encourages, and reviewed and compensated based on their social authority and the metrics of the content they create and promote on 'earned' platforms.

Step 6: Mobilize, Localize, and Socialize Your Content and People

Search engines are geo-locating results more and more – not just the local results block but the core web results as well. This means you need to make your content as locally relevant as possible and to make it work great on mobile devices (where a ton of local searching is done).

Create geo-targeted evergreen pages, create geo-optimized profiles, location pages, support or reseller pages, whatever. No matter how abstract your business is you can find some way to make it locally relevant.

Here's an example of geo-located core web results:

I often tell clients that local is the "back door" into competitive search results pages. Making your site responsive or at least mobile-friendly for the major screen sizes will often help here.

If you have location or sell through the channel, get your locations or agents up on mobile geo-optimized landing pages and put inbound links from all the major social profile pages pointing to their profile page.

Step 7: Practice Distributed, Search-Informed Communications, and PR

Launching a new business is news-worthy, so make the most of the bursty nature of the event to get inbound links to deep pages using good anchor text.

It's not just press releases. It's interviews, it's getting your employees to link to deep pages from their Google+ profiles, and it's drawing attention to the deep functionality of the site so that bloggers and other folks will link to them and discuss them.

As noted above, empower some or all of your employees and make them a PR/social media army to drive social signals and inbound links around you launch.

Step 8: Train Editors, Publishers, and Writers on SEO and Linking

Be sure to put your writers and editors through SEO and social media bootcamp before you go live. Get them to understand content metrics and target keywords.

Make sure they push their content on Google+, LinkedIn, wherever it's relevant. The idea is to do content marketing, not content creation. If a particular writer gets a lot of inbound links or tweets, let them know rewards will follow.

Step 9: Put the Key Metrics, Reporting Tools, and Reporting Cadence in Place

Having a content metrics and inbound marketing reporting plan in place before you launch is a great way to ensure these elements don't get de-scoped or forgotten.

There are a ton of tools out there to help you evaluate content both from a social sharing as well as an SEO perspective. Add in traditional web analytics and you have a good idea of how well acquisition content is doing.

Look at things like organic landing pages, time on page, and pages viewed per session for a given entry page. Add in social metrics and you are good to go.

Look at this report at least once a week once you launch. You can also pay offshore resources peanuts to manually compile this data.

Linkdex has a great Content 360 report that aggregates SEO and social sharing metrics into one URL-level report. Nice!

Step 10: Allocate Dollars for Content Promotion and Syndication

At this point, you pretty much have a plan in place. Now you need to understand how you're going to promote, syndicate, and generally give you content a push out the door.

Taking a step back, you're enterprise content plan for the example used above might look something like this. At each stage, there are paid, social graph, or syndication options that go beyond traditional SEO and can work synergistically.

At the end of this process you have created an acquisition-focused enterprise content framework. Now ask yourself how paid media can support each element.

Staple your enterprise content plan right in front of you – that way you can see it all the time.

Step 11: Make it Somebody's Job

I've saved the best for last, because if nothing else I want you to remember this. Put SEO and content metrics on somebody's performance plan and make sure you have the resources in place to get the work done.

Writers aren't SEO people, neither are analytics people nor developers. You need an earned media person who will drive this project forward continually.

Hire them. Call them whatever your want – Content Champion, Inbound Marketing Strategist, Earned Media Manager – whatever – but put them in place and hold them accountable.

If you're the CEO, it's not really your job to do this. If you're a director of online marketing, it's likely you don't have the time to do this. You need somebody who will work cross-group and who can focus on this.

Conclusion

Whether it's for a startup or a new business, these 11 steps will help your SEO efforts be more successful. Of course, once you launch a business the keywords and content your care about may change, but the game remains the same.

Work at a startup or new business? Ask questions or share your own experiences in the comments!

Shuttle Image Credit: Alexander Stirn/Flickr

Top Gold Companies For 2014

Top Gold Companies For 2014: First Majestic Silver Corp.(AG)

First Majestic Silver Corp. engages in the production, development, exploration, and acquisition of mineral properties with a focus on silver in Mexico. The company owns interests in La Encantada Silver Mine comprising 4,076 hectares of mining rights and 1,343 hectares of surface land located in Coahuila; La Parrilla Silver Mine consisting of mining concessions covering an area of 69,867 hectares; and San Martin Silver Mine comprising approximately 7,841 hectares of mineral rights and approximately 1,300 hectares of surface land rights located in Jalisco. It also holds interests in Del Toro Silver Mine consisting of 393 contiguous hectares of mining claims and an additional 129 hectares of surface rights located in Zacatecas; Real de Catorce Silver Project comprising 22 mining concessions covering 6,327 hectares located in San Luis Potosi state; and Jalisco Group of Properties consisting of mining claims totalling 5,240 hectares located in Jalisco. The company was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Doug Ehrman]

    While many precious-metals companies have been in a slump of late, there is one that belongs perpetually in your portfolio: Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW  ) . The company is not like other miners -- including Pan American Silver (NASDAQ: PAAS  ) and First Majestic (NYSE: AG  ) -- in that it has a unique business plan that insulates it against many of the vagaries of the mining business. Moreover, because silver will always have a significant industrial demand component, even with the heightened volatility you see in the silver market, maintaining exposure to silver is appropriate.

  • [By Doug Ehrman]

    Despite the weakness seen in precious metals a few weeks ago, silver has been relatively stable ever since mid-April,! with the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT: SLV  ) trading in a dollar-wide range ever since. With the presidents of the Chicago and Philadelphia Federal Reserve banksĂ‚ releasing conflicting statements, turmoil may be just around the corner. Miners like Pan American (NASDAQ: PAAS  ) and First Majestic (NYSE: AG  ) are still facing operating challenges, while silver streaming darling Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW  ) struggles as well.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:http://www.topstocksblog.com/top-gold-companies-for-2014.html

5 Best Value Stocks To Own Right Now

5 Best Value Stocks To Own Right Now: Dollar Tree Inc.(DLTR)

Dollar Tree, Inc. operates discount variety stores in the United States and Canada. Its stores offer merchandise primarily at the fixed price of $1.00. The company operates its stores under the names of Dollar Tree, Deal$, Dollar Tree Deal$, Dollar Giant, and Dollar Bills. Its stores offer consumable merchandise, including candy and food, and health and beauty care, as well as household consumables, such as paper, plastics, household chemicals, in select stores, and frozen and refrigerated food; variety merchandise, which includes toys, durable housewares, gifts, party goods, greeting cards, softlines, and other items; and seasonal goods, such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas merchandise. As of April 30, 2011, it operated 4,089 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 88 stores in Canada. The company was founded in 1986 and is based in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    This isn't some growing new industry set to take the world further into the 21st century. It's an old concept that hasn't innovated, won't innovate, and will slowly but surely die out over this century. When I walk into a Walgreens, I see a miniature Target (TGT), a more expensive Dollar Tree (DLTR), and a provider of prescriptions in a world where everything is becoming mail order.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    The other stock the firm likes is Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR). The company's shares have lost about 4.6% since reporting an earnings per share (EPS) miss for the third quarter and the Sterne Agee analysts see the lower price as a "great entry point" for buying the stock. Dollar Tree raised fiscal year 2013 EPS guidance from a range of $2.66 to $2.77 to a new range of $2.72 to $2.78, effectively raising the mid-point by $0.04. Sterne Agee reiterated its Buy rati! ng on the stock with a price target of $63. Dollar Tree's shares are trading down nearly 0.4% at $55.99 in a 52-week range of $37.47 to $60.19.

  • [By Ben Eisen]

    Perpetually struggling department store J.C. Penney Co. (JCP)  said it expects a sales boost this holiday season as it returns to a promotional strategy. But for the most part, retailers including Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR)  , GameStop Corp. (GME)   and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF)   gave dour outlooks in their earnings reports.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Big Earnings Movers: Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is down 3.5% at $64.19. Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) is down 2.9% at $59.93 on a wider loss and tepid outlook. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) is up 14.1% at $70.57 indicating that investors liked the results posted after markets closed on Wednesday. Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) is down 4.5% at $56.28. Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. (NYSE: ANF) is down 0.1% at $34.97.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:http://www.topstocksblog.com/5-best-value-stocks-to-own-right-now.html

Hot Insurance Stocks To Own For 2014

Hot Insurance Stocks To Own For 2014: Assurant Inc (AIZ)

Assurant, Inc. (Assurant) is a provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets. The Company operates in four segments: Assurant Solutions, Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health, and Assurant Employee Benefits. The products offered by the segments include warranties and service contracts, pre-funded funeral insurance, lender-placed homeowners insurance, manufactured housing homeowners insurance, individual health and small employer group health insurance, group dental, disability, and life insurance and employee-funded voluntary benefits. On June 21, 2011, the Company acquired the SureDeposit business, the provider of security deposit alternatives to the multifamily housing industry. In October 2013, FirstService Corporation completed the sale of its Field Asset Services business to Assurant, Inc. In October 2013, Assurant Inc acquired Lifestyle Services Group Ltd.

Assurant Solutions

Assurant Solutions targets three product areas: domestic and international extended service contracts (ESC) and warranties, preneed life insurance, and international credit insurance. Through partnerships with retailers and original equipment manufacturers, the Company underwrites and provides administrative services for ESC and warranties. These contracts provide consumers with coverage on cellular phones, personal computers, consumer electronics, appliances, automobiles and recreational vehicles, protecting them from certain covered losses. It pays the cost of repairing or replacing customers' property in the event of mechanical breakdown, accidental damage, and casualty losses such as theft, fire, and water damage. The Company provides administration, claims handling and customer service. Preneed life insurance allows individuals to prepay for a funeral in a single payment o! r in multiple payments over a fixed number of years. The insurance policy proceeds are used t o address funeral costs at death. These products are only so! ld in the United States and Canada and are generally structured as whole life insurance policies in the United States and annuity products in Canada.

The Company's credit insurance products offer protection from life events and uncertainties that arise in purchasing and borrowing transactions. Credit insurance programs offer consumers the option to protect a credit card balance or installment loan in the event of death, involuntary unemployment or disability, and are generally available to all consumers without the underwriting restrictions that apply to term life insurance. In addition to the domestic market, the Company operates in Canada, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Chile, Germany, Spain, Italy, Mexico and China. In these markets, it primarily sells ESC and credit insurance products through agreements with financial institutions, retailers and wireless service providers.

Assurant Specialty Property

The produ ct line within Assurant Specialty Property is homeowners insurance, consisting principally of fire and dwelling hazard insurance offered through its lender-placed programs. The lender-placed program provides collateral protection to lenders, mortgage servicers and investors in mortgaged properties in the event that a homeowner does not maintain insurance on a mortgaged dwelling. Lender-placed insurance coverage is not limited to the outstanding loan balance; it provides structural coverage, similar to that of a standard homeowners policy. The policy is based on the replacement cost of the property and ensures that a home can be repaired or rebuilt completely in the event of damage. The Company also provides insurance to some of its clients on properties that have been foreclosed and are being managed by its clients. This type of insurance is called Real Estate Owned (REO) insu! rance. Le! nder-placed and voluntary manufactured housing insurance: Manufactured housing insurance is offered on a lender-placed and voluntary basis. Lender-plac! ed insura! nce is issued after an insurance tracking process similar to that described above. The tracking is performed by Assurant Specialty Property using an insurance tracking administration system, or by the lenders themselves.

The Company has developed products in adjacent and emerging markets, such as the lender-placed flood and mandatory insurance rental markets. It also acts as an administrator for the United States Government under the voluntary National Flood Insurance Program, for which it earns a fee for collecting premiums and processing claims. This business is 100% reinsured to the Federal Government. The Company offers its manufactured housing insurance programs primarily through manufactured housing lenders and retailers, along with independent specialty agents. The independent specialty agents distribute flood products and miscellaneous specialty property products. Multi-family housing products are distributed primarily through property management compan ies and affinity marketing partners. Its lender-placed homeowners insurance program and certain of its manufactured home products are not underwritten on an individual policy basis.

Assurant Health

Assurant Health offers medical insurance and short-term medical insurance to individuals and families in the medical insurance market. Its products are offered with different plan options. Assurant Health also offers medical insurance to small employer groups. The Company's medical insurance products are sold to individuals, primarily between the ages of 18 and 64, and their families, who do not have employer-sponsored coverage. It offers a variety of benefit plans at different price points. The Company's group medical insurance is primarily sold to small companies with 2 to 50 employees, although larger employer coverage is available. The Co! mpany's! health insurance products are principally marketed through a network of independent agents. It also markets through a variety of national account relationships ! and direc! t distribution channels. In addition, the Company markets its products through North Star Marketing, a wholly owned affiliate.

Assurant Employee Benefits

The Company offers group disability, dental, vision, life and supplemental worksite products, as well as individual dental products. The group products are offered with funding options ranging from fully employer-paid to fully employee-paid (voluntary). In addition, it reinsures disability and life products through its wholly owned subsidiary, Disability Reinsurance Management Services, Inc. (DRMS). Group disability insurance provides partial replacement of lost earnings for insured employees who become disabled, as defined by their plan provisions. The Company's products include both short- and long-term disability coverage options. It also reinsures disability policies written by other carriers through its DRMS subsidiary.

Dental benefit plans provide funding for necessary or elec tive dental care. Customers may select a traditional indemnity arrangement, a preferred provider organization (PPO) arrangement, or a prepaid or managed care arrangement. Coverage is subject to deductibles, coinsurance and annual or lifetime maximums. In a prepaid plan, members must use participating dentists in order to receive benefits. Assurant Employee Benefits owns and operates Dental Health Alliance, L.L.C., a dental PPO network. The Company also has an agreement with Aetna that allows it to use Aetna's Dental Access network. Fully insured vision coverage is offered through its agreement with Vision Service Plan, Inc., a supplier of vision insurance. The Company's plans cover eye exams, glasses and contact lenses, and are sold in combination with one or more of its other products.

Group term life insurance provided through the workpl! ace provi! des benefits in the event of death. The Company also provides accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insuran ce. Insurance consists primarily of renewable term life insu! rance wit! h the amount of coverage provided being either a flat amount, a multiple of the employee's earnings, or a combination of the two. It also reinsures life policies written by other carriers through DRMS. In addition, the Company provides group critical illness, cancer, accident, and gap insurance. These products are paid for by the employee through payroll deduction, and the employee is enrolled in the coverage(s) at the worksite. Its products and services are distributed through a group sales force located in 34 offices near metropolitan areas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Whitney Kisling]

    Assurant (AIZ), the insurer of foreclosed homes, has climbed 72 percent in 2013, extending the rally since the bull market started to 245 percent. Per-share profit the last two quarters exceeded analyst projections. Earnings growth at the New York-based company will slow to 1 percent next year and 5 percent in 2015, when sales contract, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Specialized insurance products provider Assurant (NYSE: AIZ  ) announced yesterday its third-quarter dividend of $0.25 per share, the same rate it paid last quarter after raising the payout 19%, from $0.21 per share.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:http://www.topstocksblog.com/hot-insurance-stocks-to-own-for-2014.html

Top 10 Undervalued Stocks To Own Right Now

Top 10 Undervalued Stocks To Own Right Now: Caterpillar Inc.(CAT)

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It operates through three lines of businesses: Machinery, Engines, and Financial Products. The Machinery business offers construction, mining, and forestry machinery, including track and wheel tractors, track and wheel loaders, pipelayers, motor graders, wheel tractor-scrapers, track and wheel excavators, backhoe loaders, log skidders, log loaders, off-highway trucks, articulated trucks, paving products, skid steer loaders, underground mining equipment, tunnel boring equipment, and related parts. It also manufactures diesel-electric locomotives; and manufactures and services rail-related products and logistics services for other companies. The Engines business provides diesel, heavy fuel, and natural gas reciprocating engines for Caterpillar machinery, electric power generation systems, marine, petrol eum, construction, industrial, agricultural, and other applications. It offers industrial turbines and turbine-related services for oil and gas, and power generation applications. This business also remanufactures Caterpillar engines, machines, and engine components; and offers remanufacturing services for other companies. The Financial Products business provides retail and wholesale financing alternatives for Caterpillar machinery and engines, solar gas turbines, and other equipment and marine vessels, as well as offers loans and various forms of insurance to customers and dealers. It also offers financing for vehicles, power generation facilities, and marine vessels. The company markets its products directly, as well as through its distribution centers, dealers, and distributors. It was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar In! c. in 1986. Caterpillar Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Victor Reklaitis]

    Boeing (BA)  drew 12.2% of its 2013 revenue from the world's No. 2 economy, while for Nike (NKE) , it was 9.7%, according to FactSet data. China and Hong Kong delivered 18.8% of Intel's (INTC)   revenue last year, and Caterpillar (CAT)  got 22.4% of its annual revenue from its Asia-Pacific segment, which includes China.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    With little in the way of local news to move the market today, US stocks are taking their cues from overseas — and they don’t like what they see, leaving Boeing (BA), Nike (NKE), Caterpillar (CAT), United States Steel (X) and Peabody Energy (BTU) in the red.

  • [By Patricio Kehoe]

    The concept of diversity, when talking about a company's activities, is a sword with two edges. When performance hits the fan, diversity can turn into an advantage as only one segment can be affected. However, diversification can curtail winnings during a moment of bonanza. In other words, a company with five segments will see a relative smaller impact in overall performance than a company with activities in a single segment, when that segment experiences an abnormal growth. Hence, with a recovering construction market in the US and declining prices for mined commodities, a comparison between Caterpillar (CAT) and Terex (TER) is all the more relevant.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Today's big gainer among the Dow stocks was Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT). Competitor Joy Global Inc. (NYSE: JOY) reported rotten results this morning, largely due to anemic sales to coal miners. Caterpillar doesn't do a lot of busin! ess with ! coal companies, so that's a plus the firm. Cat's shares traded up 1.4% at $97.71 in a 52-week range of $84.79 to $98.24 just ahead of the closing bell. Volume is on track to be about 25% below the daily average of around 6 million shares traded.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:http://www.topstocksblog.com/top-10-undervalued-stocks-to-own-right-now.html

A Content Marketing Manifesto: 10 Principles to Drive Creative Content

No two content marketers are like. For example, Dan Zarella of Hubspot likes to focus on the data-driven reasons for why marketers do what they do. On the flip side, Leo Widrich of Buffer focuses on the psychological reasons for what concepts define our thought processes. Jay Baer believes in youtility, Lee Odden wants to optimize, Seth Godin uses pithy pitches, and Chris Brogan's forte is to build trust.

Every marketer has unique and distinct ideas on how to approach content marketing. And no doubt each person brings their own personality and moral values into the business of marketing.

The following is the content marketing manifesto I like to adhere to. It is a declaration of the policies and aims that I work with and those that define the context under which I make all marketing decisions.

Here are its basic tenets:

1. Love What You Create

Image Credit: Yu-Cheng Hsiao/Flickr

If you don't start with what appeals to you personally, and what you would love to read and re-read (or watch or listen to), how could you possibly convince someone else to give your creation a shot?

2. Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Image Credit: Mary Anne Enriquez/Flickr

A lot has been done by smart people the world over. Use what they've done and build upon it.

Existing content within your own company can be re-used, it can be upcycled, it can be integrated, and it can be weaved into different formats. Milk your existing content for all it's worth because you've put great effort into it and it would be a shame for more people not to see it.

Also, curate other peoples' content but add value to it by offering up an additional opinion or an insight or perspective. Doing so will keep the pressure off you from joining the content creation rat race. And you'll have more time to focus on creating stuff that you love.

3. Make Incremental Changes

Image Credit: Maciej Lewandowski/Flickr

Sailors do this all time. When a ship starts to veer off course, they never make one drastic course-correct. Doing so could tip the ship over.

Airline pilots do this too. When the plane starts to swerve, they make small adjustments to get it back on track.

The brilliance of this is that it allows the vessel to stabilize and it allows the captain to gauge the effect of those changes in time to react to them.

You are the captain of your content ship. Believe that small changes in the right direction can have a much bigger impact than a few huge overhauls.

4. Always Apply the 80/20 Rule

Image Credit: greyweed/Flickr

There's no reason to scramble for everything shiny. Not every social network is going to help your business or your customers.

Not every new tool is going to increase your productivity. Try new things and give them a reasonable time frame of success. Doing so will help you find what works (the 20 percent) and use it consistently to maximize returns (the 80 percent).

5. Celebrate the Wins, Don't Rue the Losses.

Image Credit: Paul Oka/Flickr

It's important to recognize how far your work has come without losing sight of where you want it to go. Live in the moment but always be looking ahead.

Since content marketing is a long-term game, it's easy to sometimes lose focus, get disheartened and give up when instant results don't roll in. But if your strategy is solid, you'll be able to stay the course and gain momentum with the small wins. Someone wise said, "It's always the little things."

6. Your Strategy Will Save You

Image Credit: photosteve101/Flickr

Spend inordinate amounts of time creating, recreating, and refining your content strategy. Drill down and define your goals and the customers you love to work with.

Find out what makes them so lovable. Doing so will help you identify other people with the same traits. When you're out of ideas, feeling demotivated or when things aren't turning out the way you wanted, your strategy will guide and reinvigorate you.

7. Transparency Wins Every Time

Image Credit: Alan/Flickr

No matter the situation you encounter, whether it's a harsh comment on a blog or a crisis over on social media, strive to be honest, explain the facts, define your position and take responsibility.

When you put yourself out there openly, the right people will be likely to reward you with their respect and trust. Learn to ignore the trolls and develop a thick skin.

8. Strive to Test, Experiment, and Test Again

Image Credit: Proggie/Flickr

Because you won't magically know what works and what doesn't for your business model. Sometimes testing might mean taking one step forward and two steps back. So be it.

9. Have Fun, Dammit!

Image Credit: Jennie Ivins/Flickr

Don't create boring content. The world does not need another "why my product is so great" blog.

What the world needs is something made with love and conviction. What the world needs is somebody who comes alive while creating stories.

Create; and have fun creating. Because you having fun will translate into a better product than you not having fun creating it.

10. Don't Obsess Over Your Niche

Image Credit: Dustin Diaz/Flickr

Yes it's good to be focused and attract a niche following. Yes SEO is great and being relevant is obviously important. All of that matters. But it is secondary.

The primary focus is to be interesting. People need to actually want to read your content.

Your words need to show your personality. Your stories need to be informative, helpful, funny, etc. or stand out in other meaningful ways. Without that primary interest, there's no long-term sustainability.

Conclusion

This content marketing manifesto is born of my beliefs, my straight-shooter nature, and my experience with what moves the needle.

I would love to hear in the comments below what you wouldn't compromise on and what primarily drives you as you create content for your business or your clients.

Agnes Martin Google Logo Celebrates Abstract Painter’s 102nd Birthday

Today’s Google logo marks what would have been the 102nd birthday of abstract painter Agnes Martin, adding another female to the list of women Google has honored on its homepage this year.

Born in Canada, Martin spent much of her career first in New York City, and then New Mexico. She is best known for her canvas portraits of lines and grids painted in subtle, muted colors as represented by the illustration used in place of today’s Google logo.

At the age of 46, Martin was awarded her first solo-exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City. Her work as been the subject of more than 85 shows around the world at numerous renown art galleries including, The Pace Gallery in New York, London’s Hayward Gallery and a major retrospective organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

During a 1997 interview, Agnes shared her insight on work and happiness:

There are so many people who don’t know what they want. And I think, in this world, that’s the only thing you have to know – exactly what you want…doing what you were born to do, that’s the way to be happy.

In 1989, Martin was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and, in 1998, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a National Medal of Arts. Martin died at the age of 92 while living in a retirement community in Taos, New Mexico.

For anyone who is keeping count, this is Google’s fifth female-inspired logo on its US homepage since the first of this year, following Zora Neale Hurston, Dian Fossey, Harriet Tubman and its March 7 logo recognizing “Women’s Day.”

Today’s Agnes Martin Google Logo:

(Image credit: Agnes Martin Foundation)