Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Retail Store to Revolutionize Online Advertising?

An Orlando based SEM/SEO firm is first to market with a retail initiative that will help drive awareness and education of Online Advertising to Local Business Owners and Marketing Managers. The smoke and mirrors days of SEM seem to be over with this launch......

read more | digg story

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Search Enigne Watch LIVE Columbus- What I learned from the Big Dogs

I attended the Search Engine Watch LIVE conference in Columbus yesterday, and was shocked at the amount of fairly simple web marketing tactics that I had not thought about. Fairly simple ideas such imagining a search engine has a human brain, finding niche keywords that will get conversions instead of the keywords you think the masses are searching, and having extremely clear expectations of what a success really is before ever looking at analytics. These suggestions are not brain surgery, but rather ideas that always need to be kept in mind when carrying out a web marketing campaign.

The most memorable thing that I took away from the conference was not the technical processes behind getting high Google page rank, local directory space and PPC conversions. It was that although these processes are not exactly easy they are not the most difficult part of making a companies web marketing strategy work. The most difficult part of a campaign in my opinion is knowing a company well enough to combine the methods into the exact mix that will get the conversions for that company. Finding this mix can take extensive trial and error. Try doing this for hundreds of small local companies, with little budget and few clear campaign expectations and you have yourself a chore (welcome to our lives).

If you are interested in some of the strategies and learning more about what was discussed at the conference check out the speakers on the Search Engine Watch agenda. All of the speakers were excellent and very insightful, but a few stood out. I really enjoyed Sage Lewis' discussion on social media and blogging, (very nice guy) and Jeffrey K. Rohrs, who's SixDegreesofBacon Blog will have you rolling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Forums are back!....and making big bucks.

You may think chatrooms and forums are a thing of the past but think again. With the big boom in social networking in the past year and web 2.0 in the near future, forums may make a comeback. A blog post I recently read gave four reasons why forums may be the way to go to create a website that pays. The post first pointed out that forums work best for hobby related websites, where visitors already share a since of camaraderie. In addition to creating value and relevant content that keeps visitors coming back forums have the following advantages...

  • Allows interaction of visitors between each other

  • Increases retention of traffic therefore relying less on search engines

  • Increase new traffic from search engines from long tail search key terms

  • Allows better feedback from your visitors & interaction to get suggestions to improve or offer new services to safeguard its long term future.

So if you have a website based around people who love to congregate, such as pet products, sports, or even a restaurant, creating a forum may be the way to increase traffic.

For more information on how to draw traffic to your website get ahold of me at

Friday, April 13, 2007

Some May Say the Internet is The Devil, One Church Calls it a Miracle.

I was always taught in college that advertising dollars should not all be spent on one advertising medium. "It is about finding the right combination of mediums,"my professors would preach, but the more I learn about the internet the more I am doubting my professors understanding of today's advertising world.

This article spoke about a church that increased it's congregation by 277% in just 18 months with just $11,500. They used a combination of billboards, direct mail and internet. But the article also stated that their website traffic increased 73% in the first month, making the site the deciding conversion factor in the mix. Sure most of this spike in traffic was due to the people seeing the outdoor and direct mail advertising, but it was ultimately their visit to the website that got them to attend.

So in some sense my professors were right, you can never really go wrong by using multiple mediums, but the internet is the best medium, in my opinion, for conversion into sales. If the internet can convert passersby on the highway into one huge congregation, what can combining the internet with portable mediums do? Very soon our cell phones will be a huge advertising medium. Once this happens advertising will be extremely personal and internet advertising will be in people's faces 24/7. Will you really still need other advertising mediums?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why The Future Is Now.....And We Should All Be Skurred

I have been reading a lot lately about new technologies and I am finding more and more that my mom was right "anything is possible." "You're going to see a lot of interesting stuff happen in 2007," says Mobot vice president Kevin Wells. He's partnering with wireless carriers on movie promotions that let you snap a pic of a movie poster and instantly get show times and trailers for that flick, right on your phone.

What? I have used my phone to get movie times before but it was never as simple as taking a picture. Texting is great and all but I must admit it is getting old. I have to agree that taking pictures is much more fun that typing and the idea of using picture recognition technology in everyday is pretty cool. Just as my parents generation are buying their first digital camera, my generation is running around taking pictures of posters with our phones and having it tell us how many steps until were at the theatre entrance. This is kind of disturbing to me. If I'm the old lady walking around still taking pictures on a 1.6oz camera phone of the sky to find out when my husbands drivable plane will land so we can head back to our smart home, what will my grandkids be doing? SCARY!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Coolest Thing Since Legos and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I read this article yesterday in Business 2.0 and was amazed at the way our world can become so much simpler. I have always thought putting money in a parking meter, finding music online and using a homepage to search the Internet were fairly simple tasks, but they are about to be even easier.

The one disruptive technology that I immediately decided to check out was I haven't stopped playing since (I mean finding new things online is my job right?) But seriously this site is completely customizable and I haven't found something that is impossible yet. This start page is also at the forefront for displaying and participating in user generated content. "Krim also is taking full advantage of the move to user-generated content, and devoted Netvibers are at the heart of the site's growth and development"

One downfall at least for my industry is that there are no typical web ads. "Prizing customer loyalty as a means to growth, Netvibes is instead working with partners that offer sponsored services. A mobile-phone company, for example, can offer free SMS in order to get a branding buzz." Could this be big trouble for the small online advertising firm? Or will Web 2.0 open more doors?

Cell Phones As Shopping Carts?...Where will the kids ride?

I am very intrigued by the new Datamatrix barcodes beginning to be used in China. The new barcodes placed on billboards and other types of print ads, allow people to take a picture of the code with their cell phone and then be directed to more information about the product. This can range from being taken to the stores website to viewing an entire movie trailer. The idea behind the barcode is to allow the ad viewer to appreciate the ad without a bunch of words and then create a call to action by directing them to a website From the studies done so far, there seems to be little valid interest in the technology due to the infiltration of bothersome mobile marketing and social norms. You will never see me standing in the middle of the road taking pictures of billboards. But with the new technologies emerging, such as digital window shopping at Ralph Lauren NYC I do see other, more acceptable uses for this technology...

One marketing ploy that I definitely would enjoy is the option of mobile shopping in a store. I often find myself wandering around a store thinking about buying all of things that I cant afford until payday. If I was able to go shopping with my cell phone in hand and take pictures of the things I wanted, have them stored on my phone until payday, and then reminded on payday with an option to have the product on my doorstep in three days, I would most likely make a purchase every payday. You may say there would be no need to go back to the store if you had everything available on your phone, but window shopping is not fun for all. I personally hate shopping when I know I cannot buy anything due to lack of funds. It is the worst kind of torture. So being able to shop when I have time and not feel guilty about maxing out credit cards would be incredible. Friday would never come fast enough. Of course there are obstacles such as payment security, privacy issues and distribution execution but imagine the benefits.

What woman would see that big red purse she had been eyeballing for an hour last Tuesday, pop up on her phone Friday at five o'clock with a special loyal customer price tag, and not purchase it? Am I crazy or could this actually work?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Local Search Language: The Diversity of Search Behavior

The sheer number of local search sites operating today is astounding. Why are there so many? The answer lies within consumer search behavior trends and search engines' ability to translate so many different ways of asking for the same things. Every consumer has their own search language and trying to get a local listing ranked for all of these, or even a few different semantics is very tough. Think of it as one person typing in English (the consumer) for a Spanish speaking person (the web crawler) to read, comprehend and rank accordingly. So while one web crawler might read your English keyword and translate it perfectly to be ranked highly in the SERP( define), another web crawler may not even comprehend or rank the keyword.

It is the search marketers job to expand the number of keywords and track the behavior of the listing to figure out what search engines are ranking the listing and which ones are not. The abundance of search engines, each with its own language makes the search marketers ability to get the ad listed in good rank in every search engine near impossible. It would be the same as having to learn Spanish, German, Swahili, French, and Chinese all at once and then having them change next month.

Does anyone know of an easy way to track where your local listing might be in several different search engines? Rather than just endless searching.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Companies allow negative criticism? Why would they do that?

Being in a customer service position myself I find the previous post to be absolutely true. Your company will not exist without satisfied customers who tell others about your company. Having open forums for customers to express their feelings (good or bad) is crucial. You may ask "Why would I let someone voice negative feedback about my company? First, there is probably a reason the customer is upset and though you can't make everyone happy all of the time, you can certainly try. Second, putting these opinions out there lets potential customers know you are a genuine company with enough self awareness to admit some weaknesses but are working to correct those weaknesses. It's like a celebrity who goes through a hard time and is bashed everywhere, if they take the criticism with maturity and make it constructive, they come out of it with even more fans.

Provide customers with a way to communicate and use that communication as free press. Use these discussions as free search marketing. Feel free to give me your thoughts...they could become my own free marketing tactic. :)

Servicing Search: A Better Ad Model?

If you search a typical wireless provider on Google, you'll receive 40 million or more search results. If you filter the query and add the word "service," you'll get roughly half as many results. In addition you'll find 25 to 40 percent of all the indexed content is in the first person, which means it's a form of CGM (define).

The customer service topic drives a disproportionate amount of CGM content creation. This service-centered commentary reroutes itself to curious, unsuspecting consumers via search.In some cases, it may bring consumers closer to the brand; in other cases it pushes them away.

Viewed in this light, it becomes obvious that customer service is about far more than just satisfying consumers. It's equally about priming, positioning, and ultimately painting the brand's public billboard.

In this era of word-of-mouth and search, the stakes for getting the customer service equation right are enormously high. Consumers love to talk about service, and they leave a digital trail in the process. As we ponder media's future and optimizing marketing spending, it may well prove a far more efficient, high-return investment than pouring more money into paid media.

Although there are many levers or activities a brand can pursue to have a material effect on service perception, you should first home in on what I call the I's of customer service: the invitation, the interface, and the interaction.

  • The Invitation
    The invitation is about the right first impression. Does the brand care enough to hear my voice? Does it really want my feedback? Is my voice valued?
  • The Interface
    The interface gets to the heart of usability, simplicity, and a sense of genuine empowerment. Is it easy to provide feedback? Can I get through the process without a hitch?
  • The Interaction
    The actual interaction hits deeper consumer-brand connection drivers. Did the service interface or representative actually address the issue? In what way?

Each of these key dimensions of the service experience affects consumer attitudes and feeling toward the brand. Those feelings, in turn, drive varying levels of advocacy and CGM creation, which in turn finds new audience via search. Remember, you are what they search.

~Servicing Search: A Better Ad Model? By Pete Blackshaw March 20, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How Will Non-Social Companies Become Social Online?

This year will likely see an increase in the number of brands using social marketing to reach consumers. In 2007, as many as 48 percent of brand marketers will deploy marketing on social networking channels. Last year, about 38 percent were messaging on the channel.

Adoption of social marketing tactics stems from the discovery "30 percent of frequent social networkers trust their peers' opinions when making a major purchase decision, but only 10 percent trust an advertisement," said Emily Riley, JupiterResearch analyst and lead author of the report.

To demonstrate the power of such sites, Rinaldo cites a recent post by Hillary Clinton to Yahoo Answers. The presidential hopeful posted a question about the healthcare system, and received over 37,000 responses. "Monitoring social networking sites and other Web 2.0 venues is seen as important, but having a presence on these sites is possibly more important. "I think that many advertisers, even those with fear, understand that if they're not there it's worse than getting negative feedback," said Riley. "It's more important to be there with some risk than not be there at all. Your competitor will surely be there."

I know certain types of companies get good responses from creating their own profile pages on sites such as Myspace, but the niche businesses that actually succeed in drawing an audience already have a social audience. Bars, tattoo shops, and chic restaurants are some of the only Myspace business sites I have visited. The reason these businesses have such large Myspace networks is because the establishments themselves are places where people go and create a social network. The customers then go home and look to keep their relationship with the business and it's other customers by joining the online network. How will companies that don't have a lifestyle or social element tied to their brand, such as tech and service companies, make these networks work for them?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Perfect Online Ad, How They Figure It Out

The things online ad companies are able to track is somewhat creepy. Lately online search has taken on a whole new realm of stalker behavior to track our every move and know what we are going to do before we even know. But no matter how scary this may be it is necessary in the online advertising world....and it works.
There was a recent study that proved that "Internet users spend a mere 5 percent of their time actually searching. The rest of the time, they're trolling the vast expanse of Internet space"
What you do when you aren't searching - the other 95 percent of the time you spend online - is gold to advertisers. Yahoo often sells ad space based not on a site's content but on a consumer's online behavior, a growing practice known as behavioral targeting. They know what we are going to do, before we do and they bombard us with tempting ads.
The new age of banner ads is super smart. "Marketers now all have to understand the power of algorithms," she says. Today everything about a fully realized Web campaign - how the creative messages look, what color the ads are, what sites they're placed on and where on each site, what time of day they run and how frequently - is determined at least in part by software applications known as "creative optimizers." (try determining all of this without the software)
There is now instantaneous feedback on display ads and certain programs can change the ad instantly if it proving to be ineffective. One man, Fayyad, leads the pack when it comes to predicting Internet users behavior. Fayyad can probably predict your next move. In fact, he says he can tell with 75 percent certainty which of the 300,000 monthly visitors to Yahoo Autos will actually purchase a car within the next three months. Read more about this guy..

...Is this unreal to anyone else?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Local Social Search Explosion

Sites like believe they have the answer or, rather, that their users have the answer. Not only are the businesses local, so too is the content. With a passionate community of reviewers, local businesses can leverage the power of true advocates in the community. Local searchers can find not just reviews with which they can identify, but also reviewers with similar tastes they can trust.

Sites like Yelp can fulfill several useful roles for small businesses. They're a great way to promote a business before it launches. One San Francisco restaurant had a house full of Yelpers on opening day. Yelp also provides a good CRM (define) feedback loop for businesses to address areas that may not work well for customers.Yelp is also highly selective about the advertisements it will accept -- only businesses with a minimum of a 3-star user review rating are allowed. Though the privately held company has yet to turn a profit, 60 percent of yelpers are between the ages of 26-35, a highly desired demographic for advertisers. This site gives tremendous opportunity to business owners to not just advertise, but get to know their customers and have a truly insider perspective of what they are doing right or wrong.

Another social site Sproose references itself as an interactive search engine, providing peer-moderated, ranking, prioritizing and community networking for consumer use. Search and Vote, basically. Read more on Sproose..

These websites are on the rise and the more sophisticated internet users become the more they will be using these social sites over simple map and listing sites.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Future of Social Search

Search has officially gone social. It has been known for months that the growing trend in organic search is the social element. From customer reviews to joining mailing lists, organic search has been moving in a direction of growing social networks and better communications with potential customers. Now you can even have your own live personal serach assistant with the introduction of ChaCha.
Here's how it works: Each searcher is assigned a guide to communicate with through an online chat program. The guide asks questions about the query's nature, searches numerous engines at record speed, and returns results as she finds them. Sometimes, she'll request more information to further customize her search. When the user is satisfied with the results, ChaCha encourages him to rate the guide so it can gauge its staff's quality and the user's experience.
ChaCha has taken the social element of search to the extreme and even made it completely personal. Other search engines are sure to follow suit.

What are your thoughts on the future of social search?

Monday, February 12, 2007

What is linkbaiting? And How Gain Relevance on Google.

Google revolutionized the search engine industry by counting links to web sites as “votes” for that site. The more backlinks a website can generate from other websites with relevant content, the better their ranking on Google for relevant keywords. Google and the other search engines want to see natural links to sites to show them (and those who use them) content that is truly relevant to the searched-for keywords. The simple way to do this is by having relevant content – more specifically, you should have content on your site to which people WANT to link. This kind of relevant, interesting, useful, and noteworthy content even has a name: “linkbait.”

Top 3 Helpful Hints to Create Linkbait

  • Create Lists- Whether they be introductory lists, top 10 lists or interesting fact lists, people love to read lists and learn something others might not know. (I took this advice)
  • Notify Others- Submit your article to a syndication site such as EzineArticles or GoArticles. Also notify industry news sites and journalists that write about similar topics.
  • Network, Network, Network!- Trade content and link to peers sites in your industry. Contact people with similar interests and ask them for their feedback and to write a few words about your post.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

New Search Marketing Ad Software

Fast Search & Transfer unveiled on Monday a platform that will allow media companies, online classifieds and others to serve private-label, contextually relevant ads on their Web sites without having to turn to Google. The product, named AdMomentum, is sold as a software license and allows online advertisers to be able to build search-driven monetization solutions themselves. is one of the first customers to purchase the software and will be working to gain as much traffic as possible to pay off the licensing fees, instead of using a revenue sharing strategy. We will see in the future if this product is able to keep speed with the updates that Google and Yahoo continue to release.


Friday, February 2, 2007

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The Future of Search 2007

With the onset of a new year and internet search at an all time high, everyone is eager to get in their predictions of what the industry will hold in 2007. The Director of Northern European Sales for Yahoo Search Marketing, Richard Firminger, has some interesting predictions from an insiders view.

Here are a few of them:

  • The search engines themselves will evolve. From a single search we will soon be able to receive answers incorporating text (sponsored and algorithmic), video, images and even human knowledge – the latter coming from social search products like Yahoo! Answers, which was launched this year.
  • The growth of social search. 2006 saw a cautious approach by the industry to advertising on social media, with the fear of incurring a negative audience response to intrusive or irrelevant advertising, top of mind.However, with some success already advertisers and media owners alike will be looking to further monetise these highly-qualified and engaged audiences throughout 2007.
    Read more....
  • Evolving campaign management applications. In early 2007, Yahoo! will do this with its new search advertising platform. Future-proofed to evolve with new and existing trends in online advertising, the new platform will provide advertisers with enhanced capabilities and tools such as Geo-targeting and advanced analytics.
  • Introduction of mobile marketing. The sheer number of mobile devices – an estimated 2 billion compared to 900 million PCs – means the next big area of internet growth will be among users who have never connected to the Internet via a computer and maybe never will.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Microsoft Research Beneficial to Search Engine Marketing

Microsoft last week invited its top advertisers to Redmond to dazzle them with the latest and greatest bits of its adCenter advertising platform. The research done to create the platform may prove to be very beneficial for those in the SEM business. The project has focused a lot on keyword optimization and soon web applications will be deveoloped to help better analyze keywords.

Keyword optimization efforts are built upon the Keyword Service Platform (KSP), a set of services that third-party developers can use through APIs to build Web applications to analyze keywords. Microsoft released the APIs to developers last week, and Colborn said partners are currently working on various applications to more effectively suggest, categorize, monetize and forecast traffic and extract keyword terms.
"We're making it an open network by publishing and sharing the algorithm," said James Colborn, product manager for adCenter Labs. "We're excited to see how our partners will build on the KSP."

Microsoft has developed its own set of tools in adLabs based on the KSP, including a keyword forecasting tool, a search funnel analysis tool, and a search result clustering tool. A vertical competitive analysis feature allows advertises to dig deeper into the "long tail" keyword suggestions, and more accurately test budget predictions. Marketers will also be able to extract trends in search campaigns to create modeling and forecasting tools to apply to their broader business, since the search queries will capture user intent around the marketer's products and services, he said.

One of the more developed keyword optimization projects underway in adLabs include tools to improve the detection of commercial intent. This tool returns a probability score reflecting the likelihood that a word or phrase is part of a search with commercial intent. The tool can also help marketers target ads to users that can help move them to the next stage of the purchase funnel, or target them with information or services appropriate to their non-commercial query. Learn more...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Citysearch Expansion and What It Means

With the recent news of Citysearch's huge sales force expansion, customer service in the online advertising venue will become even more important. As giants like Citysearch open new sales locations and plan to double their revenues in local search, smaller search marketing companies will need to work harder to compete. As search engine usuage continues to grow, and small business owners are beginning to put money online, online marketing companies will need to be able to face the challenges that come with the complicated industry. Customer education and consistant campaign feedback might prove to be the deciding factor in keeping advertisiers, can large companies handle the task?...

When it comes to search, he expects Citysearch salespeople to better serve smaller businesses that don't react well to Internet ad jargon like SEM and SEO. Taking a cue from, where both Fore and fellow sales exec Neil Salvage hail from, Citysearch places much emphasis on training sales staff to understand the needs of the business owners they deal with. "It goes back to training our reps to understand that business much more than understanding online advertising," said Fore.

Sites like Citysearch also have a ways to go to catch up with search and IYP traffic. Search engine usage rose from 55 percent in 2005 to 59 percent in 2006, IYP dropped from 27 percent in '05 to 25 percent in '06, and city guide Web sites remained static at 18 percent between 2005 and 2006, falling from 21 percent in '03."It's such a competitive marketplace," Fore said. But he's banking on what he calls Citysearch's "sweet spot" between IYP and search. He points to the firm's variety of ad offerings as an advantage over more typical long-term IYP contracts, including pay-per-click, pay-per-call, flat fee-based pricing and long- or short-term contracts for sponsored listings.

Read more about Citysearch's announcement

Friday, January 19, 2007

How to Get the Most From Your Search Marketing Budget

It may be tempting to put 99% of the search budget into Google, especially with such a proven, simple and automatic system… and with Google Analytics integration, search to click to conversion measurement is easier than ever. But instead of going down the easy road, sometimes the road less traveled can result in more targeted traffic, enhanced ROI, and introduce you to new online marketing methods which you may not have thought of before. Who cares if Google is the most popular search engine? That may be irrelevant depending upon your target market.

Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN (Live Search) in some cases attract a much different demographic than Google. If you’re targeting women, married women, middle & heartland America, and Walmart customers; Yahoo and MSN may surprise you.Why? The popularity of their registered members network, games, clubs, forums, communities and messaging programs can attract a very loyal and network-centric user group.

In addition, Yahoo’s new Search Marketing system is quite innovative compared to what they used to offer, so if it didn’t work for you before, try testing it again.

Here are some recommendations to try..

* Due to differences in title and copy allowance, presentation of ads, and the demographics you’ll be targeting; try different copy or enhancing what’s already working for you on Google.
* Try geotargeting or demographic targeting as both companies are working on enhancing these forms of campaigns.
* Import your keywords from your Google campaign into these tests, and ask representatives from Yahoo or Live (or use their keyword suggestion tools) to find new terms or matching schemes which may work for you.
* Don’t forget misspellings and the names of competitors - especially on the local level - as these targeted placements can bring in new customers.

Read more on how to enhance your internet marketing budget

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

LinkedIn- Social Networking for Business

As we all battle to find ways to optimize local search results, there is finally some help in the accessability of others with stake in the same mission.
LinkedIn is a three-year-old service that takes your personal business network online. LinkedIn is all about business: recruiting, sales, investment. It's not exactly a marketplace or a job site but rather a community of more than 8 million people who rely on one another to get things done.
After a slow start, the service has nearly doubled its membership during the past year. Seeded with Hoffman's own high-powered network, a magnet for tech's movers and shakers, LinkedIn has capitalized on the Web 2.0 boom to attract more dealmaking members and race past its rivals. "If every professional had a profile on LinkedIn, you could find jobs, references, experts, old classmates, whatever you needed to do your work. Think about how rational that is."
The mechanism at LinkedIn that overcame that obstacle is very simple: Anyone can join, but to make someone else a part of your network, you have to invite them and they have to accept. And whom would you rather invite to your network, someone who ranks below you in the work world or above? "You are more likely to invite up than down for your own network," says Guericke, LinkedIn's marketing VP. "That's only natural, but what that does is keep the quality high on LinkedIn.
Unlike other networking sites' advertising-driven model that puts them on the treadmill of attracting ever more users, LinkedIn also makes money from services. People - mainly the site's 60,000 recruiters - pay an average of $3,600 a year for premium features such as sending messages to LinkedIn members outside their own networks.

The new free services include LinkedIn Answers, in which you can post a question for other experts in your area to reply. My extremely local search savvy boss and mentor took full adavantage of this service and you can read his local search inquiry and answers

Monday, January 15, 2007

What is an RSS feed?

RSS is a way for web site owners to let you know what new content they have available within their web sites.

Say you publish a new web page about a particular topic. You want others interested in that topic to know about it. By listing the page as an "item" in your RSS file, you can have the page appear in front of those who read information using RSS readers or "news aggregators"RSS also allows people to easily add links to your content within their own web pages. Bloggers are a huge core audience that especially does this.

Bloggers using popular blogging tools such as Radio UserLand, Moveable Type or Blogger Pro have these feeds automatically created for their web sites. That's why RSS search engines are almost like blogging search engines.Almost, but not quite. Any web site can distribute its content via RSS, so RSS search engines are more than just blog search engines. In addition, not all blog distribute their posts via RSS, so an RSS search engine may miss part of the blogosphere or universe of weblogs that exists.

Read more about RSS

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Growth of Social Features in Local Marketing

People have always used word of mouth or "social networks" to find the hot spots in dining, entertainment, and retail. The internet can make finding those social networks and opinions as easy as doing a local search. YahooLocal has taken a proactive approach and added numerous features to expand the social impacts of advertising.

"As it has done in other areas of its network, Yahoo has recently been putting more of an emphasis on social media and user-generated content in its local search product.
"We're spending a lot of time thinking about social media at Yahoo. We want to add value to users and merchants by having user contributions," Frazier Miller, director of product management at Yahoo Local, told Search Engine Watch.
Yahoo began pushing user-generated content in its local search in 2005, when it expanded its city and neighborhood pages and expanded its ratings and reviews. Social features came to the fore again in September 2006, when it added "collections" of user-generated lists, such as "The Bay Area for Kids," a collection Miller created while researching outings with his family. "Like it or not, UGC is here to stay, and it will soon become a standard feature of local search, online shopping and even IYPs," Mike Boland, senior analyst at the Kelsey Group, recently wrote in his blog. "One argument in favor of local UGC forums is that they not only represent a relatively inexpensive (when compared with professional reviews) sources of content, but also possess a certain appeal in the inherent trust perceived among users of peer-written reviews and community interaction."

Read more about the continuing push for more features.....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Social Networks and Blogging Grow in Real Estate

...Call it AGM: Agent Generated Media. A crop of sites have come on board to allow real estate agents to discuss local regions, form professional communities, post insights and help sell properties. While traditional real estate ad venues like newspaper classifieds continue to lose market share in the face of free listings sites such as Craigslist and Google Base, these social networking tools and communities, as well as a newly-launched free listings syndication system, could serve to shake up real estate advertising even more.
Until now, real estate portals have featured home listings and little else. Local real estate resource and marketing platform Localism aims to change that. The beta site geographically categorizes data posted by the 13,000 members of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, a seven-month-old, free online community for real estate professionals. Another beta real estate portal, RealTown will let agents create free blogs, and will publish opinions and information originally posted to listservs by "agents in the trenches," according to Frances Flynn Thorsen, marketing director of Realty World Broker Network and editor for the site. Better known sites are also incorporating social networking features. Yahoo Real Estate has incorporated Yahoo Answers, letting users post questions or read responses to inquiries related to a search location, such as, "Where can I find a cheap quality house around Orlando, Fl?"...

Learn about other new tools...

Monday, January 8, 2007

What is Vertical Search?

Vertical search is a solution for the frustated niche searcher who is trying to use Google or Yahoo to find specialized information. Through more highly refined databases and indexing done on a more specific topic, internet searchers are better able to narrow their search results to very relevant sites. In business marketing a list of keywords with very specific meanings in one industry will give very irrelevant results in the major search engines. But in vertical search engines such as the user will find fewer and much more relevant results. The buyer in vertical search engines is most often the marketer who is looking to gain the attention of the searcher who is ready to buy. Vertical search users have been found to be much closer to making a purchase decision than the average search user, allowing marketers great opportunity to be noticed.

Vertical Strategies in Local Search

....Increased verticalization has in fact gained steam over the past year with the introduction and development of many successful vertical destinations such as Zillow and Trulia in Real estate and Oodle and LiveDeal in classifieds. This “verticalization” of Local Search was a pervasive theme at the Kelsey Group’s ILM:06 show last month.

Some of the advantages of a vertical search strategy include a refined corpus of data which increases the likelihood of relevant results within a category that a user is presumably interested in (going by their presence on the site in the first place). This increased relevance can lead to higher click through rates and higher intent to buy.

So vertical search can be valuable, but it also doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. Use cases are different across vertical categories so different rules and interfaces should be applied for optimal experiences. This challenge is particularly relevant to the local products of search giants mentioned above. These local search offerings are all grounded in a map interface, however a map isn’t as relevant in some categories as others......

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