• Social Increasingly Driving Web Site Traffic -- But So Is Quality
    About a year ago, the content mill Demand Media was conducting its IPO. Many critics of its approach to generating content -- which was based on gaming Google's search algorithm to gain top spots in search results pages to drive clicks to its often less-than-authoritative content -- were demanding that the search engines change their ranking criteria. Google complied, and Demand Media and its brethren experienced noticeable drops in search ranking, and in traffic.
  • Does Personalized Search Equal Better Results?
    A recent survey conducted by market research technology firm Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) concluded that a majority of search engine users disapprove of personalizing search results based on previous search activity and/or share activity among social connections. In that survey, the question was posed to respondents, "Do you like the idea of personalizing search results based on past searches and info from your social networking sites?" 15.5% of respondents said yes, they like the idea of personalized search results. The other 84.5% though, said they do not like personalized results or that they have some privacy concerns about them.
  • Marketing Physics 101
    Physics has never been my strong suit, but I think I have a good basic grasp of the concepts of velocity and direction. In my experience, the two concepts have special significance in the world of direct marketing. All too often I see marketers that are too focused on one or the other. These imbalances lead to the following scenarios:
  • Seven Lessons From Billy Beane For Search Marketers
    In the immortal words of Whitesnake, here I go again. It's time for another column distilling search marketing lessons from unlikely sources. Last week it was Israel, today it's Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland As and subject of the best-selling book and Oscar-nominated flick "Moneyball."
  • Integrated Marketing Is Made Of People
    There has been much discussion about the fragmented and chaotic ad technology landscape. User interaction with multiple channels is converging rapidly, and technology providers are quickly trying to bridge the gap. A potential customer is more likely than ever to interact with multiple channels before purchasing your product. While technology certainly plays a role in navigating these uncharted waters, marketing organizations also need to look inward to discover what else is holding them back.
  • The Cautionary Tale Of The Komen Foundation
    What a week for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, which raises money for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Not only did its strategists make a hugely unpopular decision to defund its long-time partner and grantee, Planned Parenthood, which provides breast cancer screenings for largely low-income women on Komen's behalf, they appear to have been caught completely flat-footed in PR maelstrom that followed. Now, they've apologized, reversed their decision and are doing the mea culpa circuit. But the damage has been done on so many levels, not the least of which is the organization's hard-won SEO …
  • The Fallacy Of Google's Protected Query Data Announcement
    It's been nearly four months since Google first announced it was making search "more secure" by encrypting the search queries of users logged in to Google Accounts. At that time, many of us (me included) were outraged. It was difficult to look beyond the immediate announcement to understand the larger chess match at hand. We were losing raw keyword query data, and that data is essential to SEO. And bear in mind, this wasn't the typical user resistance that has become common anytime Facebook makes some aesthetic change; this was the result of Google making it more difficult for SEOs …
  • The Facebook Personality Test
    I've always believed that you could learn everything you needed to know about a person by asking them who their favorite Beatle was. But for the test to work, you actually have to know the Beatles on a fairly intimate level, and their status as a cultural baseline is regrettably eroding. Now, you could use a more standard but much less interesting approach; say a Myers-Briggs personality sorter, or the "colors" test. But a recent paper by Ashwini Nadkarni and Stefan Hofman (both from Boston University) in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences offered a more timely way to …
  • Five Lessons From Israel For Search Marketers
    When I'm in a pinch for Search Insider topics, I draw from personal experience -- i.e., what's on my mind the day my column's due. I'm especially fond of analogies (best served with a healthy dose of puns) that relate my life and times to my chosen profession. Typically, my muse is a company -- Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Groupon, etc. Sometimes, it's a person -- for example, Steve Jobs. However, today it's a country. Sitting on a long flight back to my sweet home Chicago, I'm reflecting on my time in Israel last week and seeing what nuggets might be …
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