Wednesday, March 30, 2011

+ 1 Recommendations : Google’s Way Of Offering The Facebook Like Button

        Google has always focused on the relevance factor of the search results. It adds that  relevance is about relationships as well as words on webpages.

Google has gone a step ahead on the social scenario by adding a +1 button to the search results which enable you to recommend a search result right on the SERPs itself.

The +1 button will appear next to each search result

If you cannot see the +1 button then visit Google Experimental, where you can select an option to force it to appear in your searches.

When you click +1 you publicly give something your stamp of approval or recommend it. Your +1's can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.

SHOW +1's

In order to +1 things, you first need a public Google profile. This helps people see who recommended that tasty recipe or great campsite. When you create a profile, it's visible to anyone and connections with your email address can easily find it.

Your +1’s are stored in a new tab on your Google profile. You can show your +1’s tab to the world, or keep it private and just use it to personally manage the ever-expanding record of things you love around the web.

View The Video For More Details :

With this Google I think has added the influence factor of game dynamics to search results. 

These + 1 buttons may soon be available for websites too. 

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Game Dynamics And The Influence Layer Of The Social Scenario On The Web

Seth Priebatsch spoke about’ The game layer on top of the world’ on last year.

He says that the last decade was the decade where the social network was built, this decade is where the Game Framework will be built.

The Game Framework according to him is the motivation tools that  influence behavior. The loyalty schemes on websites and other techniques used to influence the people to take certain decisions are actually game dynamics in action.

One of the following slides that he shared was as follows:

It says that the last decade was about connections which was enabled by the Facebook Graph whose construction has reached a peak and a saturation point. The next decade will have a focus on the influencing behavior for which the construction does not have any set foundations and the work has just begun.

I totally agree to this point. If we correlate it to our SEO and other SEM campaigns for websites we can see a clear climb to this next evolutionary step.

  •  When we work on our landing page dynamics to make a person take a decision to buy a certain product – we are try to influence his decision. 
  •  When the search engines integrate the social results in the SERPs it is kind of influencing the decision of the visitor. 
  •  When the most retweeted post becomes the most read post , it surley says a lot about the influence factor. 
  •  When we talk about posting a tweet, a blog post or a comment at the right time so that we have a maximum reach by keeping in mind all the continent time zones (Like the best time to post is when there are maximum users online i.e when people from Asia, America And Europe are online together) and thereby achieve the set goal we are working on having a better influence. 

View the video to learn about :

1. How to build the game (Influence) layer ?

2. 4 Game Dynamics which help you to create that layer.

3. Appointment dynamics

4. Influence And Status (Influence Through Social Pressure)

5. Progression Dynamics (You move thru progressively in a granular fashion eg. Linkedin)

6. Communal Discovery (Everyone has to work together to achieve something . The communities which build around a blog are a classic example)

Its all about mind share and influencing people and getting influenced by people once you are on the social scenario of the web. which analyzes and rates your Twitter account measures and determines ‘The Standard For Influence’ and scores accordingly. So, we surely are at the infancy stage of the influence dynamics which is used in Games .

Points To Ponder…

Is life becoming a Game? 


Life has always been a game but we are learning to play it now more efficiently , effectively and globally?


Monday, March 28, 2011

The Importance Of Creating An Online Brand

Your brand online or offline is one of the most important building blocks of the whole business and marketing strategy. The brand is the reflection of  the image that your products and services create after adding the promises that the company makes about that their products.

The brand is an inseparable component of your business which makes you stand apart from your competitors. Online this is very important especially at the intitial stages of establishing an online presence of your company as people online search for products and services on search engines and other platforms on the basis of keywords that are product oriented or services oriented and thus land on your site where they get information about your company.

If the logo, brand name , tag line , color combination are catchy and leave a lasting impression on the visitor then the foundation of a brand is set as all this will have a recall value.

For example: Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Nike, Reebok, etc do not convey anything about their services from their brand name but we relate to the services offered by these brands the moment we come across their logo anywhere. In a way your brand name becomes synonymous to your product.

“There are so many parity products out there that the only way to 

differentiate yourself from the others is to create an aura, an image, 

around your brand. Consumers need a road map; they need to find 

a way to get from their need to a product purchase that’s simple, 

easy, not full of a lot of noise, and most brands get lost somewhere 

between the shelf and the consumer mindset.” 

—Karen Benezra, editor of Brandweek 

Branding creates an image, an identity, carves a niche for your company presence in that industry and makes you stand apart from the rest . Branding has the potential of generating these benefits for a company, product, cpmmodity, group or a person.

Creating an online brand image for your company is no easy task. It requires a lot of planning and people propagating the online presence need to create a certain mindset to put forward the brand image on every platform the company has an online presence on, the search engines, the social media, the domain name, the website, the forums they interact on etc. so that, though there maybe innumerable companies online offering the same products and services as yours , your company stands out from the rest. Just like Coca-cola and Pepsi both are colas but have their own identity.

The 3 main components of establishing an online brand are :

  • Advertising 
  • Marketing 
  • Public Relations 
Advertising + Marketing + Public Relations = An Online Brand


Advertising is the first step that every company needs to take in order to present an individual identity and inform its users about its existence in that industry.


Marketing is the strategic decisions taken to reach out to the users i.e whether to start a PPC campaign or to start with the SEO campaign is a marketing decision . Although advertising and marketing may be the same in some aspects, there is a charateristic difference between advertising and marketing. The main goal of both is to enhance consumer awareness of a product or service and to form loyal target customers and increase sales.

The options of creating an online presence are many and what will be the optimum fit for your business type shall solely depend on the nature of your business, the online advertising budget, the willingness and the knowledge of your marketing team.

There are various platforms available on the internet , for presence and promotion on the web. Some of them are as follows:

• Search Engines

• Email Campaigns

• Advertising Networks And Affiliates

• Web Directories And Portals

• Press Releases

• Social Media Sites

All these options when use should have a brand image and brand personality set by using the same logo, tagline, color combination and should deliver the same message for the product as only then with the constant presence and promotion of the product online an online brand will be established.

Public Relations:

The main tool for online PR is the social media presence of the company. The PR helps you manage your digital assets ( your brand image is one of them) created by advertising and marketing. That is possible only if you have a voice on the media where your target audience is available and keeping in mind the current trend it is the social media sites mainly Facebook and Twitter. The beauty of these social media sites is that they can be used as a marketing and advertising platform as well as for PR.

Social media used for public relations is a very powerful medium as it has an exponential reach and helps in establishing a WOM which gives a positive boost to branding.

As Dharmesh Shah CEO of HubSpot had mentioned in one of his conferences that “Brand is what people say about you after you’ve left the room.” Hence branding and WOM mouth also go hand in hand. 

The role of PR is very subtle but very important as what is said about you is more valuable than what you say about your self but what others say about you mainly depends on the quality of your product or service, the way you advertise and market it and the way you discuss it on social media.

The PR activities have a very wide reach on the web and if it is positive it will boost the organic search engine presence too hence if advertising, marketing and PR are simultaneously managed and implemented then each activity will supplement the other in return and in the process help you develop a brand which will have a long lasting impression on the online users or visitors. A good SEO campaign in return will focus on building a brand presence for the company with every off page effort it makes to boost the rankings.

I have said it many times but will mention it again that: 

SEO is what you say about your company, the social media voice is what other say about your company and when both these versions ar in sync a brand and credibility is established which has a lasting impression on the minds of the users.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg at BYU About The Power Of The Internet, Social Media and Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg spoke on March 25th, 2011 at a Tech Forum at Brigham Young University's Marriott Center about how Facebook and the internet have changed the way people communicate.

Senator Orrin Hatch asks Mark Zuckerberg:

"What's the role of social media technology in global issues?" 

“Empathy is developing in the world who otherwise may not have had an ability to connect, we ARE all connected, we just don’t fully understand it yet.” - Mark Zuckerberg

The internet  today is undoubtedly the lifeline of every business or personal network. Today we cannot just imagine a world without the internet.  The internet has become the invisible life energy that helps us connect, share, reach out, take decisions , etc.  

This kind of a global reach and connect is surely changing mindsets and making the world  a digitally  accessible  place. Today people are more net savvy and the social media sites are proving that by having an exponential rise in the no. of people signing up and regularly interacting with other people online for a personal or a business purpose.

All this in future is going to change the way we do business, make friends, share data , launch products or for that matter conduct meetings with overseas associates.Of course a net or a web culture has to be set up for this right from the  grass root level to get the maximum benefit .

Every parent, teacher, CEO, business manager,  politicians  or even the religious heads need to have at least  the basic internet and computer skills as the way we communicate and reach out socially has changed.  I think those who are ignoring the power of the  internet  and the social media and are keeping away from acknowledging its importance , reach and effect are keeping them totally severed off from the common thread which is binding all cultures, countries and communities.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yahoo announces Search Direct. Yahoo Describes It As "A Simpler Way To Find Answers Fast"

When we were about to talk about Yahoo as a search engine in the past tense, Yahoo announces Search Direct. Yahoo describes it as "A Simpler Way To Find Answers Fast"

This new feature (currently in beta) taps into Yahoo!’s unique opportunity to combine content and structured data and to provide a rich search experience. Search Direct predicts search results as fast as a person types, character by character, and presents those results dynamically, generating a fast, simple search experience that goes beyond a list of blue links. Search Direct rolls out in a public beta to Yahoo! users across the U.S. today, and will be available in other Yahoo! products and markets later this year.

With Search Direct, Yahoo! content is combined with information from the Web to provide rich answers, not just links, and to give people the option to immediately engage or continue to a traditional search results page. In this beta release, coverage includes top trending searches, movies, TV, sports teams and players, weather, local, travel, stocks, and shopping categories now available at

Yahoo SVP of Search Products Shashi Seth says that Google Instant and Search Direct are different products:

“We’re focused on providing answers, not links. Google Instant is focused on providing more links, faster. Not answers. We believe the next generation of search regardless of whether it’s on the web or mobile, they’re looking for answers, not links.”

 For more information and a demo video of Search Direct from Yahoo!, visit


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Traffic Sources And Significance From The SEO & Web Presence Perspective

The Google Analytics Usually has the following 3 main metrics  for Traffic Sources:

·     Direct Traffic
·        Referral Traffic
·        Traffic  From Search Engines

Usually when the SEO discusses the site performance with the client the no. of visits from the search engines are the focus factor as that is the key parameter on which the SEO campaign focuses on. But, keeping in mind the holistic nature of SEO it is very important that all the above 3 metrics should be monitored and all these three metrics should show an increasing trend.

Every source of traffic has got its own significance and shows a mark made for presence in that niche. 

Direct Traffic

Direct Traffic signifies the repeat visits or visits as a result of people keying  in the website URL in the browser and visiting the site.

Direct Traffic comes from people who already are familiar with the brand, know about your site, are regular visitors to your site, have come to know about your site through WOM or as a result of some real world advertisement campaign where you promoted the URL of your website.

An increase in the direct traffic over a period of time implies a good improvement in the WOM and brand awareness. Usually people do not bother about monitoring this metric and hence miss out on this aspect of web presence and web visibility.

If its an ecommerce site direct visits and repeat visits prove that the people are showing interst in the site and are buying again or intend to buy which if delved further can give a much richer insight about the site.

Search Engines:

Usually only the traffic from the search engines is kept a track of and monitored as that is how the success of an SEO campaign is usually measured and drilling it down further it is the no. of visits from Google that are focused and chased as a priority as most of the SEO campaigns cease to be search engine optimization campaigns and become Google optimization campaigns. Sometimes due to the client perceptions and some times due to the narrow perceptions of the SEOs themselves.

No doubt an increase in the search engine traffic from varied keywords will tell you volumes about the SEO work done on your site but just giving importance to search engine traffic will isolate your presence only to search engines and if this traffic gets affected due to some reason or other then your site is left stranded and loses web visibility.

If the SEO campaign is just focusing on Google and not considering traffic from Bing and other upcoming search engines then things get more narrowed down and in future if other search engines gain more market share the SEO campaigns will have to be reworked then. Hence over all importance and focus needs to be given to other search engines also, especially Bing, Ask and Blekko.

Referral Traffic:

Referral traffic is the visits your site gets as a result of the clicks on the URLs of your websites on other external sites on the web like the social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, Linkden, etc., the sites on which you are running affiliate programs, directory listings, industry portals, online memberships, blogs,etc.

These visits signify the presence of your site on the overall WWW which again should show an increasing trend in the analytics as this spreads the presence of your website on the web beyond search engines and adds a certain element of quality if the referrals are from authority, quality , topical , trustworthy sites as this is directly related to your inbound links too.

Each traffic source has got its own importance and adds to the aura of quality web presence. Hence traffic from all the sources needs to be monitored and measured and necessary steps to be taken improve and increase the traffic from all these sources.

This cannot be done only by the SEO. The website owner or atleast one person from the company needs to take active interest on the visits from the direct and referral source in co-ordination with the SEO .

SEO is becoming more holistic in nature and demands a quality web presence on the world wide. If the website owners want a continued quality web presence they need to adapt to the evolution taking place on the online scenario and act accordingly .

I think that the ideal break up for traffic sources percent wise would be

Direct Traffic : 33.33%

Referral Traffic : 33.33%

Search Engines: 33.33%

Which signifies an optimum overall presence and such a site will face less harm from the vagaries of traffic coming from one source in case of any sudden changes due to algorithmic change or whatever the case maybe.


Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Re-engineer The Existing Inbound Links For Better SEO Benefit

Inbound links are an important ranking factor for SEO as more the no. of inbound links the more popular your site is. But, all links are not equal and just getting more no. of links is not enough, the links should be quality links.

As our previous posts 

also speak about how we are  not in favour of link building as one of the main activities to be focused in the whole SEO process because good quality natural links should get built as a part of the whole online web journey of the website on the WWW if it is enriched with quality content and other web 3.0 features.

But, in this process also all the links which get made thus  are not equal and do not help the site equally. Hence time and again you have to do this quality check and filter out the wanted links from the unwanted ones and try to do away with the unwanted links. This also helps in getting a realistic view about how many inbound links we have matter to us and we should not get carried away by the number but focus on the quality.

The  quality  inbound links
  •          should be from authority sites
  •          should be from unique domains
  •          should have relevant anchor text (Anchor text is not only the text that has the hyperlink but also the immediate text cloud surrounding the link which signifies the relevance )
  •          should be from topical sites and from relevant URLs of that site
  •          should not be buried deep in the navigation

Once you have the list of inbound link to your site try filtering out the links on the basis of these categories and then try to improvise on the quality by tweaking the anchor text and placing it on the relevant URLs for better returns and send deletion requests to sites  from where the links  seem spammy and are harming the site more than healing it .

Here the focus is not PageRank but to improve upon the value of the digital asset that you already have for which you are not getting the true benefit from. Usually people focus on how to get links but once you have a reasonable no. of links taking the reverse action will improve upon the quality of inbound links which will have a positive impact on SERPs and which may increase the potential of attracting more inbound links.

 So, the whole process is integrated and cyclic but either way you start the focus has to be on the quality parameters rather than the quantity.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bing Webmaster Tools And The Much Needed Index Explorer

SEOs  are always on the lookout for SEO tools so that they can extract  accurate data related to the websites being optimized by them. Google has been upgrading their webmaster tools and Google Analytics time and again so that these tools can offer more and more accurate and relevant data.

Bing has also re-engineered the Bing webmaster tools  and  the latest upgrade has a very valuable addition in the form of the Index Explorer feature to Bing webmaster tools.

Keeping a track of  Indexing, crawling and the traffic  of a website on a regular basis is the basic task for SEOs but all this cannot be done efficiently unless the  accurate related data is available.

The Bing Webmaster Tools has the Crawl, Index and the Traffic tabs.

Under the Crawl Tab there are the following options:

Under the Index Tab there are the following options:

And under the Traffic tab you have the following options:

I personally think that  the index explorer which gives you the list of all the URLs which are in the index of Bing gives a very clear idea to the SEO about the URLs indexed and when you click on each URL you get further details as follows for that particular URL:

This also gives you the option to either block the cache, block the URL and cache or ask Bing to recrawl the URL. I think this is really a great help to SEOs for whom the success of any SEO campaign depends on how  many URLs of the site are indexed in the relevant search engine. 

With all this information of the Bing index we can be more sure of the next step to be taken for the SEO campaign.  Moreover its awesome to have this data for each and every page of the concerned site  in the index of Bing.

The Submit URL link under the index tab allows you to submit a particular URL to Bing which are currently not in the Bing index or should be reindexed due to some changes made. This gives more control to the SEO and webmaster to update the index of that site in the Bing index which I think is great. (View the screen shot below: )

For the Links option under the Index Tab it lists all the URLs which have inbound links and when you click on each URL you get the list of source URLs along with the Anchor text for that link.

The anchor text for all the inbound links is a very important factor for SEO hence once you have this data the  is very helpful for the link engineering work  (If I may call it so) of rectifying the anchor text for each inbound link, sending a request for deleting a certain link or moving it to the appropriate page becomes more easy as you have a ready list now.

All these tools help the search engines and the webmasters. The search engines can have a cleaner index  leading to quality search results and the webmasters and SEOs can be more sure of the indexing and crawling issues.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Google Considering To Give Lesser Weight To keywords In The Domain

Google has always given importance to the keyword in the domain and all SEOs have been aware of the power of keywords in the domain name till date. But that may change soon . If you are on the verge of registering a new domain and have a catchy brand name then going for a keyword rich domain just for ranking purposes may not help and going for the brand name in the domain may atleast help from the usability perspective as Google may give lesser importance to keywords in the domain for ranking purposes.

Hence while registering a new domain too keep the user in mind as it should be easy to remember and should be short as that would mean less typing for the user ( As the future is mobile and less no. of keys used  on a smart phone is always a plus point) .

 Google going for the Farmer/Panda algorithm update first and now giving lesser importance to keywords in the domain and that may follow ( I think) with lesser importance to the keywords in the title is surely raising the quality standards for ranking. With these kind of updates in the algorithms only websites with quality content and strictly following the norms of the Google guidelines have a chance of getting a higher ranking as all this will put an end to manipulations of the title tags, and domain names just for ranking purposes.

According to me it is a very welcome change which will ensure that the webmasters and SEOs who work hard to develop their sites with quality standards and content and work on creating an online brand shall be at the win win situation.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

All About The Farmer Algorithm Update Of Google [A List Of Related Links]

The SEO world blogosphere this week was all about the ‘Farmer Algorithm Update’ of Google as this was indeed a major update to the algorithm affecting the SERPs. Everyone was discussing, coming to conclusions, sharing the news and views and also predicting the future effects of this upgrade on SERPS. This also was accompanied by the list of sites which were the losers and winner.

I just thought of compiling a list of all the links which I referred and read and I think gave a good insight about this upgrade and thought of sharing it.

I hope these links will be helpful in gaining more information about the Farmer Algorithm Update.

Google Forecloses On Content Farms With “Farmer” Algorithm Update 

by Danny Sullivan

 EzineArticles Aims to Get Rankings Back, Following Google Algorithm Update 

By Chris Crum

 Following Google’s Algorithm Change, Mahalo Lays Off 10% of Staff 

by Stan Schroeder

More Farmer Update Winners, Losers: Wikihow, Blippr & Yahoo Answers 

by Matt McGee

Google's Farmer Update: Analysis of Winners vs. Losers 

by Rand Fishkin

 Was Google Too Hasty with the Farmer Update? SEO's Discuss Good & Bad 

by Ben Pfeiffer

 Google's Farmer Update Live: 12% Of Google's Results Forever Changed 

by Barry Schwartz

 Google Farmer Update Shakeup Followed By Unexpected Recovery 

by AssafKarmon and Nathan Safran

Google’s Farmer Update Plants User Behavior Seeds

by Kim Krause Berg

New Data and Takeaways From the Content Farm Update

Google “Farmer” Update – Before and After

Google Farmer Update: Who’s really affected?

 TED 2011: The ‘Panda’ That Hates Farms: A Q&A With Google’s Top Search Engineers

Last but not the least:

Finding more high-quality sites in search
The Official Google Blog