Search Engine Marketing Blog: Mobile Phone Statistics for Marketers

Not using a smart-phone yet? Perhaps some of these blog-bites may help you make your decision to begin using one or upgrade to a more popular one….(remember, these are not facts researched by me, just reported by me from all I read about this industry that I play and work in).

  • Most popular smart-phone: iphone (no-brainer, eh?)
  • How does the Android compare to the iphone in terms of popularity? Growing but not there yet – 29% compared to iphone's 69% popularity
  • Bathroom smartphone usage – over 50% of users confess to using their smartphones while in the potty. Hmmm, sounds low doesn't it? LOL
  • Two biggest frustrations faced by mobile phone users? Connectivity (wi-fi access) and ability to print something using their smartphones. (I don't have a problem with connectivity and I've never felt the need to print anything from my smart phone of alll things, so not sure who these people were talking to when they did this study)

Here are some other "not-researched but created by Nipa Shah" factoids for your reading pleasure:

  • Smartphones allow us to LOOK important and busy even when we're doing nothing
  • Smartphones are the best way to keep boredom away cause you can always find an app to fiddle with
  • Smartphones help us hide when we don't want to talk to someone at a party (and masks our anti-social behavior too)

So get a smartphone and look important, get rid of boredom, keeps company when in the potty, and oh yeah, wins you brownie points when you respond to your boss's email at 1 am. 😀

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Social Media App “Tweet Nest” For Archiving Your Tweets!

Ok so when I first read about this I thought "and why would I care about taking a backup copy of my tweets?".

But curiosity took me to the Tweet Nest website. Note they don't even have the domain – the url I was led to was – weird!

But anyway! So Tweet Nest provides "browsable, searchable and easily customizable archive and backup for your tweets". The website asks you if you ever wanted to take a "look back" to see what you tweeted "this time last year" or if you were looking for a "hilarious video" that you can't find anywhere anymore.

So basically you can install Tweet Nest on your own web server and voila, you've got the ability to save all that crap you tweeted about and some!

Here are the highlights of Tweet Nest

Back-up & Archive: Basically store and search tweets to find whatever you are looking for. Includes the ability to search for Retweets and links to original tweets. All your tweets going back in time can be backed-up.

Viewing: You can view all tweets at a glance and they will event include Twitpic and other media hosted on various media app providers. And you also get an "elegant" bar chart of the number of tweets, retweets, and replies you've sent per day.

And wow, you can customize your "archived" tweets to make them look "COOLER"!

For those of you who thrive on technical mumbo-jumbo, Tweet Nest is a PHP and mySQL app running of course on a Linux box.

So, excited about storing your archived tweets and customizing them to make them look Jazzy?

Me too (not)! But hey if it makes you happy, who am I to judge! LOL


Search Engine Marketing Blog: What’s the point with Facebook Places?

My Facebook status shows my around the world "friends" checking in from Costco, Singapore airport, some bar and grill, etc. etc. I am then totally apprised of what they are up to.

I'm sure you heard about Facebook Places. And f you are a savvy social networker and an iphone user, you've probably already used Facebook Places. If you use your iphone app to access Facebook, a new option for "Places" will be presented to you. You can choose from a various venues presented to you and "check in".

Friends can check you in too, assuming you've agreed to use the service. Or you can say prevent friends from checking you in or disabling that feature completely. Each time a friend checks you in, you'll get notified.

So what's the point of all this "Check-In" activity?

Well, from a Facebook perspective, Facebook wants you to share everything. Who knows what else they'll come up with so that more and more "sharing" happens, lol.
And from a "marketing" perspective, this is great information right? People are sharing information and using the site and there's data galore available to figure out preferences by gender, age, etc. For business owners, leveraging the power of Facebook to promote their company's offerings to people who'll tell people who'll tell people.

So are you ready?

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Beware of Malicious Software

Wow! I know that hacking is common and malicious software on the Internet abounds but even I was shocked to read that over 57,000 new pages are created every single week by hackers who want to infect the web with malicious viruses and trojans. Yes, 57 THOUSAND! Not only that, over 65% of these "fake" sites are designed to fool web users in thinking that they are online banking sites and 27% are to fool users into thinking they belong to eBay and other auction sites. The rest of these fake pages posed as government, financial, hosting, gaming and paypal site pages.

These fake sites have keywords or brand names that are hijacked and placed in these fake sites so that if you as a user type in that particular keyword or brand name, the results will include a link to the malicious web page. As soon as you click a link to go to that page, voila, the virus or trojan gets downloaded to your computer. Or the web page may appear genuine and ask for user details which may end up compromising your privacy.

Of course good anti-malware software is mandatory and should be purchased to protect your computer from getting infected but above and beyond that it's important to follow some simple common sense steps. One, type in the web address of the site you know you want to go to rather than try to search for it and then click on a link that may be malicious. This should be perfectly doable since you'd know the url for your bank or for ebay or paypal easily enough. For those urls that are not known to you, instead of just clicking on any link in the search results, review the url a bit more closely to find the right one.

And finally, don't give out personal details if you are not sure of the security of the site in question. Simple precautions like researching the site you plan to buy from before buying from it will save you money and time in the long run.

Malicious software, website hacking, and web crime is growing leaps and bounds. Protect your computer and your privacy the same way you'd protect your wallet and yourself in the physical world – using simple street smart or rather web smart.


Search Engine Marketing Blog: Why Oh Why?? (Are you “baring all” on Social Networking Websites?)

Three men were arrested recently for robbing 18 homes in the New Hampshire and getting away with $200,000 in personal property. The police didn't realize that the robberies and the three men were connected.

Finally they were able to figure out that every victim of these robberies had posted a status message on their Facebook page letting everyone now of their business or vacation travel plans. The told their fans that they were going to be out of town for several days and of course their profiles were not protected.

Although I want to say Uh, DUH!, I know that I've made that mistake once in the past by posting my family's vacation plans on Facebook. Fortunately for me at least my Facebook privacy settings prevented others from viewing my status updates and perhaps it was dumb luck that we didn't get robbed.

It is so important not to "bare all" on social networks even though it is so tempting to and done more than we all realize. From showcasing our personal likes and dislikes to giving out information that makes us a target for criminals, we all tend to make such mistakes. But just like we are vigilante about our emails and our online transactions now, it's time to wise up and start thinking "safe" when posting anything to social networks. Sometimes it's involuntary because we want to tell people how much fun we are having while on vacation but why not wait until you return home to showcase your vacation fun?

I always say, be careful what you say online. If what you say can lead to unemployment, jail or becoming a victim, don't do it.
P.S. Perhaps I should invent a "does it need to be said" button as a third-party app that pops up each time a user posts a status update and offer it to Facebook???

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Any rivals for Facebook on the horizon?

A new study released by comScore shows that US web users spent over 40 million minutes on Facebook in August. In contrast, they reported that US users spent a combined 39.8 million minutes on all of Google's web properties including YouTube and Gmail.
Google handles over a billion searches a day from probably a billion users. Youtube is a very popular website and so is Gmail. The fact that the combined time spent on these three sites is lower than the time spent on Facebook is mind boggling. Youtube is so so so popular. But even then it logged less time than Youtube. (For a minute after reading their data, I wondered if comScore got it's data right.)
Facebook's number one spot is no longer in question. The question then is who will give Facebook a run for its money and users?

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Google Instant Won’t Affect Search Engine Optimization

Well, thank God for Google's announcement that Instant results won't impact current Search Engine Optimization strategies. Otherwise we Search Engine Optimization practitioners would have to relearn and implement new strategies for our clients.

Google's Instant results are provided for searches for every letter typed. So if you are start typing "J", the first link you will see is for Jet's Pizza or if you type in S for whatever you wish to search, you get Sears as the first link in the returned results.
There was a lot of speculation in that Search Engine Optimization practitioners would have to come up with words that could potentially bring up the results that are needed.

But the good news is that we can continue doing Search Engine Optimization for our clients and without fear of their rankings dropping off due to some Google rule that no one understands…

Search Engine Marketing Blog: I Don’t Think Social Media Marketing is for My Field!

If I had a dime, or rather make that a quarter,  for every time I've heard "I don't think Social Media Marketing" makes sense in our field/business, I'd be a RICH woman!
Ok so first, let's look at the facts. Facebook and Twitter are two of the MOST popular social networking websites that are being used globally. Not only are these websites good for keeping in touch with family and friends, these websites are a modern day tool help promote your business or yourself.

Social networking websites are JUST ANOTHER MEDIUM for sharing, spreading and promoting news and information about you, your company, and your product or services. They are NO different than the use of newspaper advertisements, billboards, radio commercials, television commercials or attending networking events. Just like the aforementioned media, social networking websites offer companies the opportunity to reach an audience who may include their prospects.

It's that simple! Why then do companies still think that this doesn't apply "to our field"?

My question back to them when they make this statement to me in a sales call is "Are you looking for new customers". They look at me blankly and say "yes, of course".  If they are looking for customers, why don't think they social networking websites are applicable to their business? Ok, so perhaps there aren't that many people on Facebook looking for say "rubber hoses" or "fuel gages", atleast not yet. But they will soon because companies know that to reach a global audience, there is no cheaper, better, faster tool than the internet and there is NO other media that offers as global a reach and as instant a reach as social networks.

Living in "Automotive town" MetroDetroit, I realize that it's difficult to convince the benefit of social networks to tier one and tier two automotive suppliers who in the past had all their business coming from the Big Three. But the Big Three aren't buying enough anymore and it's time to diversify offerings and extend a more global arm to find new customers and prospects.

It's time to leverage social networks my friends and it doesn't matter what industry you are in, you need to showcase your company, your products, and your services on social networks so that you are visible when prospects come a-searching!

Every one of your employees' is a sales person. Every one of them needs to be not only know how to navigate social networks but also to advertise your company's offerings on it, whether they are at home on a personal computer or at work.  Blocking employees from accessing social networks is like biting your nose to spite your face. Instead, it is so much more effective to set up a corporate policy on social networks, train employees on do's and don'ts, monitor productivity and their online activity in a simple organized fashion, and leverage the power of having each one of your employees telling the world how great you and your company's offerings are. If you are still worried that not every employee can be managed or monitored or will behave appropriately online, select a handful of employees to do your networking in addition to having a dedicated team or an external supplier (like us).

But the bottom-line is this. If you aren't on social networks yet, it's not a problem yet. But if you aren't thinking of getting on social networks in the near future, it'll be a problem for sure. That's cause your competition is either already there or thinking about getting there. Don't believe me? Look around and drop me a line if you don't find ANYONE from your field somewhere online.


Search Engine Marketing Blog: Why LinkedIn is One of My Favorite Social Media Websites!

LinkedIn is one of my favorite social networks. Well, it's in the top three, but you may find it interesting that it's number two after Twitter and ahead of Facebook. Yep, I like LinkedIn more than Facebook because of its functionality as well as it's ability to add value to my professional and business needs.

I remember joining LinkedIn way before Social Media websites were popular and when I was employed at General Motors. I don't even remember when I got my first invitation to "link in" but it has got to be a decade or so. Initially it was made up of the select few career professionals who joined it and then sent invitations to each other. Now of course it has grown to become one of the top professional networking sites for working professionals and business owners.

Although LinkedIn doesn't have as many users as Facebook's 500 plus million, there is no other network that offers you detailed information about professionals in every field you can imagine. The data is well organized, well-searchable, and easy to find and use.  LinkedIn's biggest advantage to you, as an individual or company, is that it allows you to showcase your profile with as much detail as you can possibly add. Your profile becomes an impressive presentation of your company, your skills, your education, your accomplishments and your connections. If you have a captivating profile, people are attracted to you and you'll find yourself being connected to others who become a valuable network for you.

The best way to create a captivating profile is by studying other profiles in your field and outside your field. Yes, even profiles that are not in your field can give you ideas to make your profile more comprehensive and interesting. Also, review corporate profiles of your competition and see what they are saying to make themselves look good. Don't copy but certainly use similar ways to create your own corporate profile so that you can stand head to toe in comparison to your nearest competitor. Testimonials are great for attracting attention of the one who may be tougher to convince simply based on your attractive profile. Testimonials from current and past clients, employees, and colleagues are a great way to let others know what people think of you.
Focus on building a network that is hand-picked with individuals whom you want to be associated with. Yes, you won't always be able to focus on who you want and may need to add people who don't appear to be "valuable" from a connection perspective but that's ok. You aren't getting charged for each connection you add so why sweat the small stuff?

Start building your network with the people  you already know. Do your research and connect others keeping in mind "givers gain". I'd say focus on quality of contacts and not so much the quantity because that'll bring more value in the long run. Also keep an eye on the suggestions for connections that the LinkedIn database offers (on the right hand side of your LinkedIn screen). These people are offered as possible contacts by the LinkedIn database based on the interests you filled out in your profile.
Update your profile frequently to keep it fresh. Send out notes to your connections letting them know if you have information that they find useful. Integrate your twitter feed to LinkedIn because it's a great way to gain the attention of others who may not be in your network directly. Make use of the Answers section to answer other people's questions and post some of your own in a way that engages other people's attention, not spams them.  Use LinkedIn's extensive database to search for company contacts or people whom you wish to reach to showcase what you do and what you sell.
And of course, make sure your profile includes links to your websites including your blog. Share a little bit of your personal information that is not "private" and that may interest others.
So if you've only been thinking of playing on Facebook and Twitter, perhaps it's time to give some attention to LinkedIn. Trust me, it'll be worth it.

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Has Yahoo-BING Search Alliance Leveled the Playing Field?

So Yahoo and Bing have joined hands to take on Google. So has the playing field for search domination leveled off just a bit you think?

After establishing the Search Alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft, Yahoo had quickly begun transitioning Bing results into Yahoo results. So now, in the US and Canada for English results only, Yahoo search experiences are now powered by the Microsoft platform. This change in other markets will come fairly soon given the speed at which the transition is happening immediately after the public announcement was made.
Yahoo will be displaying mostly organic results from Bing. And initially Yahoo will only deliver English-language searches via Bing. As both partners work together to leverage each other, it is not unrealistic to expect that they will soon cover more markets and include other language searches.

Google continues to dominate the search usage market with greater than 60% of users using Google Search.  So has the competitive landscape evened out a little bit with this search alliance between Yahoo and Bing. Or has Google monopoly on search gotten stronger with the search alliance between Yahoo and Bing? Will new players crop up to pick up smaller usage shares in the US and Canadian Search markets?

We're all waiting to see how this plays out….