Ever catch one of those "butterfly effect" moments well before the seemingly insignificant event triggers a Web of interconnected, unpredictable results? The Ask Jeeves agreement with BitTorrent could be one of those moments, signifying a change where "education" and "transparency" evolve from buzzwords to differentiators.
We search marketers use the word optimize a lot. We use it to talk about increasing our positions in the organic listings, or maximizing our bidding strategies, or fine-tuning our landing pages. Rarely, though, do we use it to talk about boosting a site's overall user experience. And by turning a blind eye to the site side experience, we could be denying our clients a strategy that could provide the biggest lift of all.
What has more of an impact on how consumers perceive your company's brand and reputation - public relations or search engine marketing? The answer is "yes." Before you start rallying for a more grammatically correct perspective, I'll make it up to you with an exclusive preview of a panel coming up at MediaPost's OMMA West Conference and Expo in San Francisco on June 6.
If Google's arrival was marked by its acceptance as a verb, then Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, cannot be far behind. I can recall three occasions in recent weeks where someone asked, "Did you Wikipedia that?"
The search space is getting a new look. Search engines have typically been very left-brain - analytical, ranked sequentially, powered by algorithms, and heavy on text with little imagery. Granted, that never stopped the phone book from gaining readership, nor has it affected sales of bestsellers such as, oh, the Bible. Popular sites such as Monster and Craigslist can also get away with this approach. If it's useful, text trumps glitz every time.
Television is toying around with a new pricing model. From now on, you'll only be charged for the television ads that prompt you to actually take action. If you choose not to visit a place of business or eventually buy something, the advertiser won't be charged for that ad. If successful in television, the same pricing model will likely be used in all forms of advertising, including newspaper ads, magazine, and radio.
Year after year, travel is the e-commerce category killer, and it keeps getting easier for consumers to research and buy travel online. Businesses in the travel space in turn have embraced the consumer democracy of search, and such companies continue to be among the most sophisticated search engine marketers, both with natural and paid listings.
Thousands of users visit your Web site daily and leave millions of impressions. However, despite the volume of online traffic, few companies truly know anything about these visitors. To get the most out of your online investment and capitalize on the efforts of your search engine marketing dollars, it is important to answer the following questions regarding your visitors:
"We're not just a search engine," she said. I almost wept. It's like hearing a friend who's been an acclaimed pediatrician say he's switching careers to become a stockbroker.
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