Month: December 2012

A Video | Did You Know?

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Tis’ the Season… to get Scroogled or Binged?!

Online shopping is becoming more prevalent than ever before.  According to Google, 80% of holiday shoppers will research online prior to making a purchase this season.  Research will begin with leading search engines and according to comScore’s November Explicit Core Search Report – approximately 69.4 percent of organic search results are from Google.  Coming in second, was Microsoft’s Bing with 25.4 percent of searches powered by Bing.  The rest of the search engines are rather insignificant.  So, while Google and Bing aren’t neck and neck, they seem to be the consumer’s search engines of choice and in turn will be most used to aid in holiday shopping.

Which brings me to Scroogled.  Yes, that’s right:

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A campaign recently launched by Bing to educate the average consumer about what Google has done with their shopping site.  To get a general idea – check out: T’was the story of Scroogled and Are you getting Scroogled?

Here Bing is essentially attacking Google over its shift to a pay-to-play shopping search model.  With a start of October 17th merchants had no other choice but to pay in order to “play” or appear in the search engine within the US (said to go international to select countries in February 2013).  Payment is decided upon the number of clicks and the amount the merchant is willing to pay for a click.  So, if a merchant is bidding a higher amount, the ad (yes ad) is more likely to appear first on the SERP (assuming that the keywords are relevant to the search query).  But what if the merchant is not bidding at all?

Which is exactly what Scroogled is all about and what the concerns were back in May 2012 when Google announced it’s paid inclusion shopping model.

Questions arose such as:  If all merchants weren’t bidding then weren’t shopping results going to be skewed?  Is there suddenly a bias to Google search engine results pages?  Would merchants have to increase the product price to make up for the new pay-to-play model?  And what about previous comments made by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page?

“In general, it could be argued from the consumer point of view that the better the search engine is, the fewer advertisements will be needed for the consumer to find what they want.”

“Furthermore, advertising income often provides an incentive to provide poor quality search results.”

Not to mention that later, many found that Google shopping did not increase the user experience as origionaly promised but seemed to become one giant mess.

So, essentially what I am getting at here – is it’s not really a big surprise that Bing decided to jump on this opportunity to knock Google.  The reality of Bing’s Scroogled campaign however, is that Bing isn’t in the right either.  The truth is, Bing hardly has the right to be lecturing Google about poor disclosure and it’s pay-to-play policy.  In fact, Bing gets it’s own shopping search products from shopping.com and in order to be listed on shopping.com the merchant must agree to pay.  So is Bing actually much better than Google?

You decide.  In the mean time, good luck with your holiday shopping.

The Benefit of SEO Friendly URL’s with Longtail Keywords

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So for months upon months the small company I’ve been working for has pulled pounds of dough out of their bottom line in hopes of pumping it into their top line.  For a small company, we’ve dished out quite a large sum month after month in hopes of increasing our organic search presence on SERP’s (search engine results pages).  While this is all good and dandy, when you’re not seeing a great return on investment after patiently waiting for months (it’s already been 3+ months – traditionally the minimum amount of time to see SEO improvements) it can be pretty frustrating.

You ask yourself, do sit back and wait a bit longer as the agency suggested?  Or should I start digging around myself?

I say, if you see an opportunity that the SEO’s haven’t touched and you know what your doing then go for it.

So check it out.  See the image above?  Essentially, month over month of seeing no no organic search impression pick-up – we were able to boost our organic query impressions by 53.85% ( and clicks 88.89%) by working on creating more seo friendly URL’s for our product pages.  This was done with a bit of keyword research and cleaning the links up (so, say, taking out the weird symbols like % and replacing them with dashes) and also with a bit of keyword research.  Keyword research was done with the focus of longtail keywords.  Essentially, pairing a highly competitive keyword with a lower searched volume keyword in an effort to create a longtail keyword.  In terms of SEO longtail keywords are magical.

(My one bit of advice is check out the part of the URL you are changing – especially if you work in a content management system.  You want to make sure that the old links that your making a new are not going to be broken.  So when someone searches your website before the new links have been indexed, they click on the link (that takes them to the old link) and it’s no longer there.  (Which is seen as a no-go in the eyes of Google).  So in this case, a 301 redirect will come in handy.)

404 Pages: Infinite Possibilities…Make a Difference

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Lately I’ve been coming across more and more 404 pages.  Either what I’m looking for just seems to be absent or websites are becoming messier.  Either way, as I continue to see more and more 404 pages – I’m starting to really see improvements.  Particularly with witty, creative content and design.

But how about this – How about a 404 page that actually can make difference?

And by difference, I mean, not a small smirk, laugh or a giggle – but make a huge, impactable difference in a child and families life.

Notfound.org is a company that has really done a great job in helping companies make a difference by making use of their 404 pages.  Not Found offers an easy opportunity to feature missing children on every ‘not found’ page of your website.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be great for a retail website, but it’s really great for say, a news site.  Think about it.  I say, really cool concept.  What about you?