Tagged: search

90% of Consumers to Shop Online Over Holidays

Posted on October 29, 2014 by - Uncategorized

The number is bigger than it has ever been before—90 percent of consumers will conduct holiday shopping online, a PunchTab survey reported.

“PunchTab, the engagement and insights platform, released its insight report on the 2014 holiday season. The survey looks at how Gen X, Baby Boomers, Millennials differ this holiday season and how top retailers are preparing for the wave,” reported Adotas.com.

What businesses need to be concerned about is how they are going to make sure the consumers are buying online from them and not the competition. Here’s a quick check list to make sure you have a full digital presence:

1. Can consumers actually find you? There are billions of websites out there, and when consumers search, 75 percent of them never go past the first page of the results. Your website needs search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure you rank high for the web crawlers. To get the best SEO for you brand, click here.

2. Is your website mobile-friendly? Consumers will shop online primarily with their mobile device. You need a website that is Responsive and has the ability to attract younger users with mobile apps. To get a mobile-friendly website, click here.

3. Is your content king? Without engaging and meaningful content, both the user and the search engine won’t be interested in what you are trying to showcase. Every word counts. To get the amazing SEO-friendly copy written for you, click here.

Search with Emoji—The End is Near

Posted on October 28, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Every now and again you’ll hear the phrase, “A sign of the apocalypse.” Well, here it is again.

The search engine Bing recently announced that emoji characters can now be used in place of and along with words/letters in organic search. (Thousands of 12-year-old girls posted an excited face next to an exclamation point shortly after the news was released.)

[Appear high on Bing search by clicking here.]

Let’s back up a bit: emoji (the singular and plural are the same) are “ideograms or smileys used in Japanese electronic messages and webpages, the use of which is spreading outside Japan,” as described by Wikipedia, the perfect source for this medium.

Here are some visual examples:

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So now, instead of going through the arduous process of typing out “pizza,” you can just put the pizza emoji in the search bar and you’re good to go. For the advanced, you can pun it up by adding “crap” after pizza or use the symbols of a bride and a shower to search for bridal shower information.

[What keywords are used to find your website? Click here to find out.]

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But the other side of that phrase is that 1,001 words will always be worth more than any image. No emoji will ever be worth the word, emotion or description it represents. And when we start aligning our search practices with the preferred methods of tweens, we move towards even lazier language use.

Regardless, the “search with emoji” feature could be the next big trend and push for organic search and SEO efforts.

Does your company have a firm grasp on the digital trends happening in the U.S. and around the globe? Let Thoughtwire Media ensure you are up to date and ahead of the digital curve. Get your digital presence checked right now by calling Thoughtwire at 800-367-2570.

Bing Joining the Spam Fight

Posted on September 11, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Better late than never. Well, I guess that’s not entirely fair—Bing has been fighting spam for awhile, but perhaps in not the most effective manner. Now, a new change has already affected three percent of search queries.

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The new Bing anti-spam plan is designed to go over users that stuff keywords into titles, URLs and domains in order to boost rankings and appear higher on search.

“They [Bing] released a spam filter a ‘few months’ ago that impacted about 3% of all search queries. The spam filter was aimed at URL keyword stuffing,” reported Barry Schwartz.

Last year Google changed their algorithm to Hummingbird to put an emphasis on content and to directly attack spammy and keyword-stuffed sites. Keyword stuffing is a very outdated practice, and to be so bold as to do it on the blatant area of the site name or URL is beyond confusing, but thousands do it and Bing is saying no more.

“As we alluded to in last week’s Index Quality blog, today’s update will focus on one specific spam filtering mechanism we rolled out a few months ago that targets a common spam technique known as URL keyword stuffing (KWS.),” wrote Igor Rondel of Bing Index Quality.

“Spanglish” Now OK on Search

Posted on August 22, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Have you ever tried to communicate with another person whose first language isn’t English? (This isn’t an immigration blog and we’re not going down that path.) Whether you are trying to complete a business deal, increase your friendship or have just been caught in the middle of a foreign thread, it can become very hard to communicate if not everyone is on the same vocabulary plane.

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Search engines have been aware of language barriers for a decade. They constantly deal with these types of questions: what happens when you search a song or a movie title in another language? In what language should the results be shown? What if the name is Italian, for example, but the web content is in English?

Strides have been made in an attempt to solve the translation problems. The web crawler may ask, “This page is in German, would you like it translated?” Or you can copy and paste with Google Translate and other similar programs.

Now, Google is giving even more language options.

“But in what I imagine is something of a speech recognition breakthrough, Google’s search app can now understand commands and queries in multiple languages simultaneously,” reported Greg Sterling.

So if you have a friend in, let’s say, Mexico, and you find them speaking “Spanglish” a lot, no problem, Google can understand the message and convey it in a more succinct manner.

Search Alliance

Posted on August 18, 2014 by - Uncategorized

In the 1980s, when you wanted to make a photocopy of something, it was very common for someone to say, “Xerox it.” It was the same if you need to blow your nose. People would say, “Please pass me a Kleenex.” In 2014, that same concept of using a brand name in place of the noun or action/verb still exists. For example, when people want to find out something from the Internet, the phrase is, “Google it.”

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The other big search engines now wish that people start reverting back to the predominant lexicon that existed before Google, such as saying “search it” and things like that. But much like rooting for the local sports team, people get and stay loyal to the web browser they use.

Yahoo and Bing would like you to re-examine your allegiances, and to not just use Google because you have in the past or because it is simple. Easier said than done.

Last month, Yahoo had 3 percent more searches than the previous month. But that is still only a 10 percent market share. comScore reported that there were 18 billion searches in July and that Google accounted for 12.1 billion of them.

So why do you use the browser that you do? Do you have a Google phone and want everything to be succinct? Has your browser always worked for you, so why change? Do you just use whatever default browser is on whatever machine you are using? We’d love to hear what really powers your browser.

New comScore Stats Show State of Search

Posted on July 23, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Every month around this time, digital marketers and search engine optimization (SEO) gurus huddle around computers and mobile devices eagerly awaiting the release of the new comScore digital statistics.

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Let’s back up…comScore self defines itself as, “A leading Internet technology company that measures what people do as they navigate the digital world—and turns that information into insights and actions for our clients to maximize the value of their digital investments.” Basically, because of their history, accuracy and legitimacy, comScore is the authority on search rankings and associated stats.

The new June 2014 report has been released, and let’s look at some numbers starting with U.S. Search Engine Rankings. To begin with, it’s no surprise that Google sites are still #1, taking a 67.6 percent share. Second on the list is Microsoft sites, with an 18.8 percent shares, followed by Yahoo with 10 percent, Ask Network with 2.3 percent and AOL with 1.3 percent.

Those numbers illustrate what we already know—Google dominates when it comes to search. You’ll hear people say, “Google it” or “Search it,” but hardly ever hear users suggest that you, “Yahoo it” or “Microsoft it.”

comScore also released the top 50 desktop web properties. The ones at the top don’t come as much of a surprise, but some of the websites in the middle may be completely new to you. Here’s the list:

comScore Top 50 Properties (Desktop Only)
June 2014
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Source: comScore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors(000)   Rank Property Unique Visitors(000)
Total Internet : Total Audience  227,858    
1 Google Sites 189,712 26 Adobe Sites 32,848
2 Yahoo Sites 171,246 27 Wal-Mart 32,433
3 Microsoft Sites 164,194 28 Viacom Digital 32,144
4 Facebook 141,377 29 WebMD Health 31,103
5 AOL, Inc. 107,165 30 Dropbox Sites 30,607
6 Amazon Sites 92,506 31 YP Sites 30,301
7 MODE Media (formerly Glam Media) 71,170 32 Time Inc. Network (partial) 29,088
8 Turner Digital 68,190 33 Netflix.com 28,647
9 Apple Inc. 60,474 34 New York Times Digital 27,415
10 CBS Interactive 58,682 35 Fox News Digital Network 26,488
11 eBay 58,472 36 Defy Media 26,258
12 Weather Company, The 57,499 37 Conde Nast Digital 26,246
13 Wikimedia Foundation Sites 54,152 38 Pinterest.com 24,902
14 Gannett Sites 48,966 39 BuzzFeed.com 23,612
15 About 48,438 40 T365 – Tribune 23,600
16 Ask Network 46,256 41 Meredith Digital 23,307
17 Comcast NBCUniversal 46,212 42 Tumblr.com* 23,139
18 Linkedin 43,793 43 Gawker Media 22,855
19 craigslist, inc. 38,838 44 Ziff Davis Tech 21,973
20 Twitter.com 38,761 45 AT&T, Inc. 21,911
21 Yelp 36,148 46 JPMorgan Chase Property 21,871
22 Demand Media 35,841 47 Purch 21,630
23 Hearst Corporation 33,902 48 WorldNow Sites 21,430
24 Answers.com Sites 33,707 49 IDG Network 21,145
25 ESPN 32,945 50 Verizon Communications Corporation 20,831

 

Online Reviews Matter More Than Ever

Posted on July 21, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Word of mouth is alive and well—it’s just in the form of digital reviews these days. And those reviews have a huge impact on the traffic and conversions you receive through your online interactions.

Just think about how most Americans find out information—they do a search. That search leads to results. But the results don’t stand alone. They come accompanied by stars, likes, reviews, etc. Even quotes and testimonials. And what a complete stranger says about an establishment matters—mostly because you are listening.

“82% of consumers surveyed considered user generated reviews ‘extremely valuable’ or ‘valuable,’ reported the Digital Marketing Depot.

Why are online reviews so impactful? One, the consumer doesn’t have time to ask a bunch of friends or co-workers about the place. Two, for the most part, people aren’t just lying for no reason when they leave reviews. Generally, they are simply writing about an experience so you can use that information to form your own opinion.

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What does this mean if you are a business owner? The obvious answer is, generate more positive feedback about your operation online. But that can be confusing and convoluted. Instead, go after one area, complete your goal and then move on. You don’t have to be dominant on all the platforms. Go after some 5-star ratings, then move to managing comments and responding, then focus on likes, then boost more with on-page ads, etc. Whatever your plan of action is, just make sure consumers can read positive information about you online, or they will be going with the competitor.

Search and School Rankings Come Together

Posted on July 18, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Couple of rants about education before we get started: there’s no point in being nationalistic, patriotic or fly an American flag if you’re not concerned about how the future generations are being educated.

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Without grown up humans living within a border, you don’t have a country. And without our youth being taught the value system along with advanced concepts, there will be no America, as it stands now anyway. (And if you have a problem with how schools are being funded, with property taxes for example, then the issue is with funding, not with accepting the fact that we simply have to provide America’s youth with the absolute best educational opportunities.) And now search wants to make sure you are sending your children in the right direction.

The search engine Bing, controlled by Microsoft, just announced they will be adding education rankings to results.

“They’ve added school ratings, rankings and academic indicators directly in Bing Snapshot. Microsoft says this works for searching for schools from elementary to high school to higher education. Bing displays how they rank nationally, within the state and their STEM rating. They also show nearby schools in the area and how they rank compared,” reported Barry Schwartz.

The upgrade to the web crawler will be able to assist local residents as well as those that are thinking about moving their families to the area. It also works for higher education. So now, with a simple search, parents can get a better understanding of the facility and how the students do on test scores.

The rankings, however, offer no solution as to how to improve the schools with bad results and scores.

You Have No Internet Privacy

Posted on July 8, 2014 by - Uncategorized

This is simply a public service announcement: everything you send, share, post, like, email and/put on the Internet may be recorded and used at a later date. Oh, everyone understands and knows that, right? Do you do online banking? Have you ever sent a message you only wanted one person to read? Ever sent questionable content? Ever looked at it? Ever sent a picture? Made a phone call with a mobile device?

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For starters, understand that just because you are not a spy or terrorists doesn’t mean your digital information isn’t being stored. “Conversations intercepted by the National Security Agency are far more likely to have taken place between ordinary Internet users than legally targeted terror suspects,” reported FoxNews.com.

Another thing to consider is how data gets lumped together. When Target was hacked right before Christmas last year, all of the cards and personal information became compromised, even though law enforcement speculated that the perpetrators were only after a select few accounts.

Lastly, it’s good to understand that data doesn’t just expire online. Facebook even keeps and copies the messages you’re about to post but delete beforehand. All of your online actions, monitored and housed by government agencies and trillion dollar search engine companies.

“Once you put something on the Internet, it is there forever,” said two-time Superbowl winner Jerod Cherry.

How many people in their young 20s are expecting to run for office in their late 40s? They say your character is judged when no one is watching; perhaps that should be an online policy as well.

Google Gets Local with “My Business”

Posted on June 19, 2014 by - Uncategorized

The bottom line is that the search giant Google wants more businesses online. In order to push, promote and achieve that goal, Google has attempted to merge both local business information and search results with a more social platform like Google+. It is called Google My Business.

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Here’s the sales pitch from Google: “Get your business on Google for free.”

A lot of small businesses want an online presence, but they are sometimes reluctant to launch a digital campaign because they either aren’t educated enough themselves, not sure of what companies or resources to pull on for help and/or haven’t allotted room in their budget for digital marketing.

Google My Business wants to solve all of those problems with a series of simple clicks. For starters, wherever people are using Google products on whatever device, they can find your business. That means crosslinking—when users are on a tablet, smartphone or personal computer, and whether they are conducting a search, on Maps or Google+, your company’s information can appear.

Another selling point is it makes it easier for customers and owners to directly communicate with one another. From Google.com: “Give customers the right info at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, hours of operations in Search or a phone number they can click to call you on mobile phones.”

Lastly, Google My Business allows owners to explain and defend themselves. If there is a negative review, the platform creates a forum to directly engage with consumers.

The future of local listings will once again be tested.