Monday, October 31, 2011

YouTube’s Push for Quality TV

YouTube’s Push for Quality TV

Following rumors for the better part of the year, YouTube has finally made the official announcement regarding a set of forthcoming channels aimed at creating a higher quality YouTube with channels that could rival those of cable television.

Google says more talented creators and original entertainment are joining YouTube’s existing channel lineup, and that this will include channels created by “well-known personalities and content producers from the TV, film, music, news, and sports fields, as well as some of the most innovative up-and-coming media companies in the world and some of YouTube’s own existing partners.”

“These channels will have something for everyone, whether you’re a mom, a comedy fan, a sports nut, a music lover or a pop-culture maven,” says Robert Kyncl, Global Head of Content Partnerships.

“Our goal with this channels expansion, along with the grants and educational programs we’ve launched in the past year, is to bring an even broader range of entertainment to YouTube, giving you more reasons to keep coming back again and again,” he adds. “And for advertisers, these channels will represent a new way to engage and reach their global consumers.”

You may recall that Google was said to be trying to acquire Hulu, though Hulu took itself off the market.

This announcement comes on the heels a big Google TV update announcement, further emphasizing Google’s push into the living room. Of course YouTube is far bigger than Google TV and probably bigger than it ever will be, and there are a lot more avenues into the living room that YouTube has access to, not that you have to be in the living room to enjoy quality content.

It’s going to be interesting to see just how good these channels are, and if they can gain the kind of viewing that well-known TV networks get.

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Microsoft & Alibaba Seeking Partners for Yahoo Bid

Microsoft & Alibaba Seeking Partners for Yahoo Bid

A bidding war for a potential buy of Yahoo is in the preliminary stages. While Microsoft, Alibaba, and several purchasing groups ready their figures and hunt for partners, Yahoo's Jerry Yang assures us that a buyout is only option being examined.

Yahoo Opens the Floor to Bids

We previously reported the potential Yahoo sale, which targeted anyone who might be interested. At that time, Microsoft and Alibaba seemed to be amongst the potential bidders. Now the list has expanded and solidified.In addition to Microsoft, Providence Equity Partners and Hellman & Friedman ("buyout shops") seem to be interested, according to a Reuters report.

Meanwhile, in the face of potential bidding crossfire, Microsoft and Alibaba are both seeking support from other investors to strengthen their bids. According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is looking to partner with the Silver Lake Partners investment group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, while Alibaba is searching for private equity groups.

According to early information, Microsoft's bid is likely to reach approximately $18 per share. Other figures for the potential purchase price have yet to be announced.

Incentives to Sell and Buy

The buyout of Yahoo isn't exactly "imminent." It's a potential route that the company is looking at. According to Yahoo co-founder and current director Jerry Yang, who was a interviewed at AsianD, "The intent is to look at all the options."

Other options include selling select portions of the company, refocusing current properties, and finding new ways to take advantage of Yahoo's 700 million monthly visitors. Despite the difficulties the company faces, Yang insists that Yahoo is a "premier digital media company." He also notes that, as a sale isn't certain, the company has started its search for a new CEO.

Regarding Microsoft's interest, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touched on company interactions with Yahoo during his interview at Web 2.0. He stated that "there are a lot of great things at Yahoo," and that "we know they're going through their issues." In the end, he indicated he "was proud to call them a partner." When asked about buying Yahoo today, Ballmer never answered the question directly, but indicated he held a strong and stable position on the subject.

Microsoft's motives are certainly there: the company would get a better presence and more branding opportunity with a Yahoo buyout (now, they take only a small cut of the search revenue). Yahoo also holds several powerful properties that could be integrated into Microsoft equivalents; Yahoo Mail remains popular, Yahoo Answers is a strong social platform, and the core site offerings (entertainment, news, and finance, among other elements) remain popular. Additionally, Yahoo's hold in Japan could help Microsoft work into the Asian market.

Meanwhile, Alibaba a diverse internet company based in China would be buying its own freedom by investing in Yahoo. Alibaba has previously attempted to buy out that stake, and buying Yahoo outright would certainly be an alternative path to doing so. Alibaba could also use Yahoo's U.S. presence as a way to cross the Ocean while tapping into Yahoo's engineering talent to expand their own technologies.

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cell phones Aren’t Giving You Brain Tumors

Cell phones Aren’t Giving You Brain Tumors

The possibility that cell phones cause brain cancer is one of those things that feels like it’s been hanging over our heads, as a society, for many years. If you ask a random person if they believe that their cell phone is giving them a brain tumor, a common response would be, “I don’t know, probably.” And they’ll keep talking on their device.

It seems like we’ve just accepted it as a possibility. A report comes out saying there’s a probable link between the two. And that same report gets repeated and passed off as “another report” a year down the road.

But it’s not like the possibility of brain tumors caused by cell phone radiation has prevented the use of cell phones. Even people who think that their device might be giving them cancer are most of the time unable to put down the device. We need them too much. It’s just how today’s society runs. So here’s some good news: According to an incredibly large Danish study, your cell phones is not giving you brain tumors.

A study published in the British Medical Journal sought to “investigate the risk of tumors in the central nervous system” among Danish mobile subscribers. Their sample size was 358,403 over the course of 18 years – totaling over 3.8 million total hours. Here’s some of the science results –

The risk of such tumours was close to unity for both men and women. When restricted to individuals with the longest mobile phone use that is, ≥13 years of subscription the incidence rate ratio was 1.03 (95% confidence interval 0.83 to 1.27) in men and 0.91 (0.41 to 2.04) in women. Among those with subscriptions of ≥10 years, ratios were 1.04 (0.85 to 1.26) in men and 1.04 (0.56 to 1.95) in women for glioma and 0.90 (0.57 to 1.42) in men and 0.93 (0.46 to 1.87) in women for meningioma.

Conclusion: In this update of a large nationwide cohort study of mobile phone use, there were no increased risks of tumors of the central nervous system, providing little evidence for a causal association.

Hazel Nunn, head of evidence and health information at Cancer Research UK, told the BBC, “These results are the strongest evidence yet that using a mobile phone does not seem to increase the risk of cancers of the brain or central nervous system in adults.”

Of course, I’m no scientist. And one study cannot entirely put an issue to bed. But this is a giant sample size monitored over the course of nearly two decades. Whatever you think, this is some pretty strong evidence that your cell phone is not killing you – at least not with a tumor anyways.

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Should I Change My URLs for SEO?

Should I Change My URLs for SEO?

Every SEO eventually gets fixated on a tactic. Maybe you read 100 blog posts about how to build the “perfectly” optimized URL, and you keep tweaking and tweaking until you get it just right. Fast-forward 2 months – you’re sitting on 17 layers of 301-redirects, you haven’t done any link-building, you haven’t written any content, you’re eating taco shells with mayonnaise for lunch, and your cat is dead.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme. I do see a lot of questions about the "ideal" URL structure in Q&A, though. Most of them boil down to going from pretty good URLs to slightly more pretty good URLs.

All Change Is Risky

I know it’s not what the motivational speakers want you to hear, but in the real world, change carries risk. Even a perfectly executed site-wide URL change – with pristine 301-redirects – is going to take time for Google to process. During that time, your rankings may bounce. You may get some errors. If your new URL scheme isn’t universally better than the old one, some pages may permanently lose ranking. There’s no good way to A/B test a site-wide SEO change.

More often, it’s just a case of diminishing returns. Going from pretty good to pretty gooder probably isn’t worth the time and effort, let alone the risk. So, when should you change your URLs? I’m going to dive into 5 specific scenarios to help you answer that question…

(1) Dynamic URLs

A dynamic URL creates content from code and data and carries parameters, like this:

It’s a common SEO misconception that Google can’t read these URLs or gets cut off after 2 or 3 parameters. In 2011, that’s just not true – although there are reasonable limits on URL length. The real problems with dynamic URLs are usually more complex:

  • They don’t contain relevant keywords.

  • They’re more prone to creating duplicate content.

  • They tend to be less user-friendly (lower click-through).

  • They tend to be longer.

So, when are your URLs too dynamic? The example above definitely needs help. It’s long, it has no relevant keywords, the color and size parameters are likely creating tons of near-duplicates, and the session ID is creating virtually unlimited true duplicates. If you don’t want to be mauled by Panda, it’s time for a change.

In other cases, though, it’s not so simple. What if you have a blog post URL like this?

It’s technically a “dynamic” URL, so should you change it to something like:

I doubt you’d see much SEO benefit, or that the rewards would outweigh the risks. In a perfect world, the second URL is better, and if I was starting a blog from scratch I’d choose that one, no question. On an established site with 1000s of pages, though, I’d probably sit tight.

(2) Unstructured URLs

Another common worry people have is that their URLs don’t match their site structure. For example, they have a URL like this one:

...and they think they should add folders to represent their site architecture, like:

There’s a false belief in play here – people often think that URL structure signals site structure. Just because your URL is 3 levels deep doesn’t mean the crawlers will treat the page as being 3 levels deep. If the first URL is 6 steps from the home-page and the second URL is 1 step away, the second URL is going to get a lot more internal link-juice (all else being equal).

You could argue that the second URL carries more meaning for visitors, but, unfortunately, it’s also longer, and the most unique keywords are pushed to the end. In most cases, I’d lean toward the first version.

Of course, the reverse also applies. Just because a URL structure is “flat” and every page is one level deep, that doesn’t mean that you’ve created a flat site architecture. Google still has to crawl your pages through the paths you’ve built. The flatter URL may have some minor advantages, but it’s not going to change the way that link-juice flows through your site.

Structural URLs can also create duplicate content problems. Let’s say that you allow visitors to reach the same page via 3 different paths:

Now, you’ve created 2 pieces of duplicate content – Google is going to see 3 pages that look exactly the same. This is more of a crawl issue than a URL issue, and there are ways to control how these URLs get indexed, but an overly structured URL can exacerbate these problems.

(3) Long URLs

How long of a URL is too long? Technically, a URL should be able to be as long as it needs to be. Some browsers and servers may have limits, but those limits are well beyond anything we’d consider sane by SEO or usability standards. For example, IE8 can support a URL of up to 2,083 characters.

Practically speaking, though, long URLs can run into trouble. Very long URLs:

  • Dilute the ranking power of any given URL keyword

  • May hurt usability and click-through rates

  • May get cut off when people copy-and-paste

  • May get cut off by social media applications

  • Are a lot harder to remember

How long is too long is a bit more art than science. One of the key issues, in my mind, is redundancy. Good URLs are like good copy – if there’s something that adds no meaning, you should probably lose it. For example, here’s a URL with a lot of redundancy:

If you have a “/store” subfolder, do you also need a “/products” layer? If we know you’re in the store/products layer, does your category have to be tagged as “featured-products” (why not just “featured”)? Is the “featured” layer necessary at all? Does each product have to also be tagged with “product-“? Are the waffles so tasty you need to say it twice?

In reality, I’ve seen much longer and even more redundant URLs, but that example represents some of the most common problems. Again, you have to consider the trade-offs. Fixing a URL like that one will probably have SEO benefits. Stripping “/blog” out of all your blog post URLs might be a nice-to-have, but it isn’t going to make much practical difference.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Does SEO Help Or Hurt User Experience

Does SEO Help Or Hurt User Experience

Jeremy Schoemaker, who runs the popular Shoemoney blog, wrote a post about a year and a half ago called “Where My Hatred of SEO Comes From“. It’s basically about site owners who put more effort into pleasing the search algorithms than pleasing users. Given the impact Google’s Panda update has had on a lot of sites, the topic of discussion seems as relevant as ever.

Would you make a change to your site if you knew it would help you in search, but your users would hate? Let us know in the comments. And if you find this topic interesting, why not share it on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this article belong to those who expressed them, and do not necessarily reflect those of WPN.

On the one hand, the update is aimed at getting sites that do provide a quality experience ranked better, but on the other hand, it’s sent sites into a frenzy trying to appease Google’s algorithms.

We had a conversation with Schoemaker about search quality and site quality, as well as one with Atlas Web Service owner and President Michael Gray, whom Schoemaker referenced in his original article as having turned off the comments on his blog, as being an example of worrying more about search than users.

“I think its a big mistake to completely turn off blog comments,” Schoemaker tells WebProNews. “I recently switched over to Facebook comments.  In doing so I lost a TON of user generated content.  Over 140,000 comments  in all and now they are down probably 80-90%.  The ones that are now are 100% real people and since their name is attached there are real conversations and discussions taking place.”

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How To Clean Up Your Act on Twitter

In this day and age, it’s probably fair to say that we’re all aware of the value of Twitter  both on an interpersonal level and in a business context – so I’ll spare you the “why everyone should be on Twitter” blurb. Those ‘in the know’ will know that following the right people is important in terms of reaching out to an appropriate audience – those it will benefit you to interact with and who will share your tweets with their followers. As you build up your Twitter followers, you’ve probably done a fair bit of work to follow people who appear to share your interests. But in the process, you’ve probably ended up following a load of Twitter users who add little or no value to your Twitter experience, and I’ve discovered a great tool to help you weed them out.

Twit Cleaner assesses the list of people you follow and categories the ones who aren’t adding much value according to a range of different annoying behavior, including posting nothing but links, posting the same tweet several times, never interacting with anyone else and only tweeting about themselves.

Running the report on my ‘Following’ list on my personal Twitter account, was quite an eye-opener. For any Twitter user, there are two main benefits to this exercise.

Most obviously, you streamline your timeline to ensure that you’re only receiving interesting tweets from people you wish to engage with.You learn from other people’s mistakes by becoming more aware of the kind of Twitter behaviors that other people find annoying.As you can see in the screenshot, you can even unfollow the offending users directly from the report  convenience itself.

Key points to take away from a report like this in terms of how to run your own or business Twitter account in an appealing way and how to avoid appearing on an Unfollow list yourself are as follows:

Post a range of content -Not just links to other posts. If you only link to your own stuff it makes you look self-promotional, and if you only link to other people’s stuff it makes you look as though you can’t come up with anything original yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to rule out links altogether –obviously not but make sure you throw in a reasonable number of ‘proper’ updates for your followers to engage with on Twitter itself, without being taken away from your actual tweets.

Don’t send out the same tweet twice – and if you’re accounting for audiences in different time zones, reword the tweet so that it’s unique. E.g. “in case you missed it earlier.

Tweet regularly-don’t set up a Twitter account, get really into it for a week or two and then forget about it. I’ve seen plenty of surprisingly big businesses who’ve done this and it looks unprofessional and a bit lazy, quite frankly.

Interact- don’t just post your own stuff:reply to and re tweet other people’s tweets. If you want to be a success on Twitter, you have to treat other people the way you’d like to be treated  or, as I would now like to paraphrase this old adage, “tweet other people the way you would like to be tweeted”!. If someone replies to one of your tweets, acknowledge them! There’s nothing worse than businesses who don’t respond to customers or people who can’t be bothered to take the time to reply to someone who’s taken the trouble to message them.

Avoid automated content- Twitter users want to engage with humans, whether you’re a business or not. With the amount of spam and general background noise on the internet these days, a real human voice stands out.

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Struggling to make the Sales with an eCommerce website

Struggling to make the Sales with an eCommerce website

During a recent copywriting consulting call with a new client, we discussed her primary concern: having good traffic, but no sales. I’ve seen this a thousand times before. Usually, what I find is a site filled with content that is chock-full of keyphrases and sounds stupidly repetitive. The solution is easy: Write natural-sounding, persuasive SEO copy that entices customers to buy. But this client’s site didn’t fit the stereotype.

The home-page copy needed some work, but it wasn’t awful. The category and sub-category pages had no copy at all that needed to be fixed. The product descriptions were canned (straight from the manufacturer). While that’s definitely not the best way to go for several reasons, it’s not a death sentence. But still, for a site – even a brand-new one – to have several hundred unique visitors a week and not one sale was frustrating.

We looked at some stats. Low bounce rate, high number of pages viewed per visit, acceptable length of time spent on the site. The rankings left something to be desired, but they’d come along soon enough with a few tweaks and some linking.

As we clicked our way through the site’s pages, it became clear. This site suffered from a common curse among e-commerce resellers: lack of differentiation.

Why Should I Buy From You?

Generally speaking, most grocery stores carry nearly the same things. So how did you decide to shop at the one you frequent most? Chances are it was because of the store’s location. Online, we don’t have that advantage.

When e-commerce resellers carry the same exact items as hundreds or thousands of other sites, comparison shoppers have a difficult time deciding whom to buy from. Most often, it falls to price. Since my client wasn’t branding her site to be the cheapest, she had lost the location and the price advantage.

After searching through dozens of websites offering the same products, the surfer had no way to answer their most burning question: Why should I buy from you?

Identifying Differentiation Points

As our tour continued, I asked questions – lots of questions – in an effort to help my client find ways she was different and/or better than her competition.

> > Do you offer free shipping or reduced shipping

She did, but that wasn’t stated visibly on her site. There’s one differentiating item. Online shoppers love free shipping.

> > Do you hold any promotions

She did, but that also wasn’t clearly stated. She made a note to draw attention to her promotion on the home page.

> > Do you offer quantity discounts

She did, but the link to the copy that explained the discounts was rather hidden. We discussed adding a few words of copy right by the price to let visitors know discounts were available.

When our hour was up, we had identified several actionable steps for her to work on to differentiate her site from her competitors. Of course, they’ll all need to be tested to see which works best to achieve her goals. But for now she’s busy tweaking and tracking instead of scratching her head.

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Launch Set in China

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Launch Set in China

As promised, Samsung and Google have rescheduled their Galaxy Nexus launch event. It will now take place Oct. 19 in Hong Kong at 10:00 a.m. HKT. If you recall, the partners in Android were slated to launch the smart phone during their Samsung Mobile Unpacked event at CTIA Oct. 11.

However, the companies canceled the event, claiming they wished to show respect for the passing of Apple Founder Steve Jobs Oct. 5.

That's the kind way to spin it. The other way to spin would be to acknowledge that the Samsung smart phone, which will certainly be the first to host the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" build, would get lost in the mourning over Jobs. And rightfully so.

Google and Samsung realized this. Given the importance of the launch Nexus branded phones are Google's coming out parties for new Android builds who can blame them? You might ask how I know it will be an Ice Cream Sandwich unveiling. Samsung, which teased the Galaxy Nexus in this video, gave it away in its media event for the event in China.

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Title Optimization: Tips of All Time

Title Optimization: Tips of All Time

"Titles change the destiny of your posts” ~Darren Rowse. Headlines matter for a variety of reasons, most importantly of which is more traffic, more reads, and probably more links. Headlines are what entice a user to click through and read more.

But writing headlines for web content can be a bit tricky. Let’s see, you’ve got character limits to think about, SEO keywords, and then the actual creative copy to entice clicks. And oh ya – about 8 out of 10 of those savvy online users, on average, will only read headline copy and 2 out of 10 will actually read the rest!

Quite a few components to keep in mind, but I’m here to share with you 30 different headline tips. Have a tip you’d like me to add to the list? Feel free to add to the comments below.

Stand Alone

The headline you craft, in the end, must stand alone and for that matter – stand out! Ask yourself, does my headline allude to what’s contained in my post? If it stood alone, without a byline, could the reader immediately understand what they’d be reading upon clicking?

Size Matters

The length of your headline is crucial. Think about how someone might share your post – on Twitter? Well don’t make it too long that it’s untweetable or unretweetable; remember the 140 character limit.  A title with eight words performed the best, according to Outbrain, so try to stick with eight as a max and you should be fine. Unless of course your headline has the longest word in the English language in it.

Creativity is Winning

Using punctuation and interesting characters that draw the eye may prove to increase click through rates and interest in your post. Some are using special characters in meta titles, so why not headlines? Try these on for size.

  • Media Type – [PHOTO], [VIDEO], [INFOGRAPHIC] – when of course the post contains those items

  • Exclamation Points – !!

  • Question Marks – ? ?

  • Hashtags – #

  • Quotes – ‘ ‘

  • Special Characters ?

Make Promises & Deliver

Deliver what is promised in your title. If you say there are 10 tips, make sure there are 10 tips. If you say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, make sure it’s there! The last thing you want to do is start a blog commenting riot by not delivering what your headline says you will.

Become a Reference or Resource

Ever try to Google something and find parts of the answer you were looking for but never the one true post that would answer all your questions on the topic? Use those unfortunate circumstances to your advantage – write a post, with an accompanying awesome headline, that answers the questions you couldn’t find on that topic.  Those posts, you’ll find, are the ones that are resourced, linked to, and shared years down the road.

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. Through Internet Marketing he places his name on great search engine like-GOOGLE who is also called as Innovator, Investor, Internet Marketing Guru and Entrepreneur. For more updates don’t go away, please stay with us.