Google has acquired "certain assets and technology" of a small mobile content distribution and social networking firm called Zingku. This is the second mobile social network the search giant has acquired since snapping up dodgeball in 2005. Registration for the Zingku service has been shut down until the company migrates its tech over to Google's servers.
This post by competitive Webmaster and search expert John Andrews poses the question of whether potential clients should take a niche search marketing firm that snags the top "search marketing" listing for themselves at face value. Andrews uses the health vertical as an example, arguing that a firm that takes the top organic spot for "healthcare search marketing" is not guaranteed to be as good at optimizing for the client as they are for themselves. A better indication of their abilities would be if said firm could tout that they'd worked to get a client the top spot …
A recent study by Opus Research found that 59% of small business owners do NO online marketing. Clearly video and rich media may be out of their budget range - but not even a lousy PPC campaign or blog? What about search engine optimization? According to this piece by David Utter, many small and medium businesses don't feel like they have the resources or tools to support an online advertising campaign -- or even just a Web site. And that's the awful conundrum, because if they don't spend a bit to promote their site, then naturally, they can't …
Elisabeth Osmeloski's piece hammers home the fundamental organic search mantra, "content is key," by using the travel vertical to highlight some of the challenges site owners face when trying to fill their pages with high quality content. Competing with larger businesses in the same space that have years worth of searchable articles, press releases and blogs may seem like an insurmountable task, but Osmeloski discusses three paths site owners can take to bulk up -- including paying for syndicated content, getting writers to do it for free, and hiring a writer (or paying someone in-house) to create it.
Independent search pros often have to tackle paid and organic search, site analytics and conversion management for multiple clients -- and after a while, some choose to go the in-house route. But in-house search managers at Fortune 500 companies often face the added task of navigating through corporate politics and stagnation from policies that run contrary to the fast-moving world of search. Stephan Spencer's post is the summary of a podcast interview he conducted with former IBM search specialist Mike Moran. They discuss the obstacles that corporate search managers sometimes face -- and strategies to surmount those challenges.
So Microsoft has finally launched Live Search 2.0, its long awaited search engine algorithm and user interface upgrade. The last time the software giant revamped search was three years ago, a move that actually resulted in users being unable to access the engine or get meaningful results for the first few days. The company has clearly learned from its mistakes, as Live Search 2.0 is fully functional and packed with improvements like better results for generic terms like "the" in search queries, video thumbnails, and improved relevance overall. But will the changes help stop the slow erosion of Microsoft's share …
Google announced that it would be ending its "European Best Practice Funding" program, a system in which the search giant kicked back between 3% and 8% of an agency's total spend to reward them for investing in search and new products like Google's Gadget Ads. Though the program will be in place until the end of 2008, the move has ruffled a number of ad exec feathers -- with author Tom Crandall concluding that it's one more sign of Google's intent to edge agencies out of the game.
It's not too early to begin implementing a holiday-based search strategy. After all, many sites are eager to harness the natural uptick in search traffic caused by the increased shopping and product research activity the winter holidays bring. Yahoo's Search Marketing blog lists five tips to think about before crafting a seasonal search strategy -- including targeting bargain hunters, and making sure the site ranks well for holiday-related keywords.
This piece by Kevin Gold is equal parts commentary and instruction on how the task of improving conversion rates varies by a company's size. Smaller companies tend to have fewer resources to devote to lead-tracking and traffic analysis -- but that doesn't mean that a big company can just throw money at the problem and succeed. Beyond determining what actions are deemed "successful conversions," a Webmaster's strategy needs to affect the overall quality of traffic coming to a site -- from revamping the PPC campaigns to culling insight from both on- and offline analytics.
Using keywords in tags and copy throughout a site to improve organic search rankings is good; keyword stuffing is not. But how is a Webmaster to determine the optimal amount of keyword density? Each engine has a different "magic number," but their format for determining keyword density is the same: measuring the ratio of keywords (or key phrases) to the total number of searchable words on each page. This piece offers seven tips for improving keyword density the right way, including adding a keyword-rich footer to the bottom of each page in the site.