Search Results to Go Social with Bing

Bing-260

Bing and Ping: Share Search Results on Facebook and Twitter

Microsoft let everyone know about a forthcoming feature of their new search engine today. Bing and Ping, as they’ve lovingly dubbed it, will let you easily share search results with your friends on and Twitter as well as by email.

At least at first, the sharing tools will only be available for searches that invoke “Instant Answers.” The examples given were football scores and airline flights, with other time-sensitive data and scenarios like stock prices, movie times, weather results and more also invoking that type of search.

Underneath the Instant Answer results from your query will be a horizontal “sharing” bar with icons to send those results to friends on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

bing-ping-best

The new feature isn’t live yet, but will reportedly be going into an invitation-only beta mode soon. To get in on the beta, become a fan of Bing on Facebook for a chance at an invite.

Since search has for so long been a primarily solitary activity, it’s almost hard to imagine how and under what circumstances you’d need to share the results quickly with people. Still, having the option would be nice and once available, we can see it becoming one of those features you’d quickly take for granted.

What do you think: would you use the option to share your search results? Will Google have to copy the idea if it takes off? Or will search remain primarily a solo activity after all?

via mashable.com September 3, 2009 by Barb Dybwad

First there were organic search results. Then there were paid search results (now popularly called Sponsored ads). Next comes Social Search Results, according to Bing, who has announced its beta Bing and Ping coming initially to its Facebook fans. I do believe I see room on that social share bar for an ad!

Posted via web from Katy Barrilleaux | Optimized

Free Resources to Increase Website Traffic

traffic_light_greenRecently I’ve been asked by several people for advice on driving more traffic to websites, without spending a lot of money. Given the current state of our economy, I thought this would be a good topic to cover here on Search Matters. Some recommendations focus on search marketing, others don’t, but all are online marketing resources that will get traffic moving in the right direction.

Google Analytics

The first step in increasing the number of visitors to your website, is to know how much traffic you currently have…and how they got to your website…and the search terms they used to find you…and much more. Google Analytics is a robust web analytics application and it’s free. Create your Google Analytics account tied to a URL and add a small line of code to the pages of your site. You’ll be able to see the positive changes your traffic-building efforts will have. Learn more about using Google Analytics on their YouTube channel.

Google Webmaster Tools

Use Google Webmaster Tools to improve the performance of your site. Webmaster Tools will ensure the crawlability of your site. It will show you the keywords Google found in your site. It will even show you all the sites that are linking to your website. And more. Even if you don’t know anything about search engine optimization (SEO), you should set up Google Webmaster Tools on your website to see any areas where you can improve.

Keyword Research

To get people to your website, whether from search engines or social networks, you need to know the related keywords. Keyword research can be a very complicated, scientific process. But here are just a few high-level tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Check your website logs to see what search terms people are already using to find you. Visit several competitors’ home pages and view their page source. (Right click on home page and select view source). This will show you the HTML of the page. Look for their listing of meta keywords and see what they consider to be their keywords.

Use a free keyword research tool to see what the estimated search volumes are for terms and to uncover additional or alternative terms. There are several available, but here are two of my favorites:

The goal with keywords is not necessarily to try to be at the top of organic search for the “obvious” keywords — generic terms like industry, product, or service categories. Rather, try to find “long-tail keywords” –  multi-word terms that get more specific, including a location, an action verb, or a descriptive adjective. For example, “swine flu” (40,000,000+ results) vs. “swine flu vaccine” (13,000,000+ results) vs. “swine flu symptoms” (4,000,000 results) . The higher the number of web pages indexed for the term, the more difficult it will be to compete in organic search. If you’re a real geek and want to learn more, check out 10 Steps to Advanced Keyword Research.

LinkedIn

Depending on your product or service, LinkedIn may be an effective social network to reach prospective customers. LinkedIn is the top social website for connecting business people. If you do not already have a profile, set it up. Then create a Group for your product, service, or brand. Invite people to join your group. Post news updates, interesting articles, and discussions. LinkedIn also has company profiles. Conduct a search to see if LinkedIn already has your company listed. If you find it, you may edit the profile. If it’s not there yet, add your company’s profile. There are a number of other ways to market your personal or business brand on LinkedIn.

Facebook

Your customers are on Facebook and so should your company or brand. Create a Facebook Page for your company, product, or service and build a community. Post updates, announcements, and share links. Invite friends, families, and colleagues to become a fan of your page. Start discussions. Not only will Facebook help you connect with your customers and potential customers, but it’s fun! Read more about marketing on Facebook in this article.

Twitter

Get on Twitter and connect with people who are interested in your related field or topic. On twitter you post little “status updates” – like on Facebook – but you are limited to 140 characters at a time. Follow people who may be interested in your service or product. Post valuable information and people will start to follow you back. The more followers you gain, the broader the audience your “tweets” will find.

To find targeted followers on Twitter, go to http://search.twitter.com and conduct a search using your keyword(s). You will be presented with all of the conversations on Twitter that mention that keyword. The key is to connect with people of similar interests, and begin interacting. You may also try to connect your followers with your website and/or other social media communities like Facebook. Just be careful not to use Twitter to just put out little “ads.”

YouTube

Another effective resource is YouTube. Open an account and upload some videos. The videos do not have to be expensive or professionally produced. Potential topics are how to’s, or product demos, or even video newsletters. Be sure to use keywords and add tags to the videos with your keywords. Google will often include video results on page one of organic results. So if you get some videos on YouTube for your keywords, it increases your chances of being on page one of organic searches.

Blogs

Blogs are also very good at building web traffic…providing you are publishing stories on a regular basis – at least weekly. Center your blog’s theme around one subject or topic and publish helpful information about that topic. This builds your authority in the industry and helps to increase your website traffic. WordPress and Blogger offer free hosting for their blogging applications, but are not necessarily as search engine optimized as downloading the WordPress free software and hosting on your own server. Blogs are more of a long-term solution because they take 6 months to a year to build traffic, so don’t expect overnight results. Once you get started, you will see a steady increase over time. If you are interested in starting a blog, here’s an article that goes into more detail.

Just Add Time

While all these resources are free to use, they do require an investment of time. If you are short on time, prioritize your efforts. Start with the one-time tools like setting up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools. Then select one social network where you will find the largest number of your potential customers. There are planty of stats availble on the demographics of social networks. Do a little homework, get involved online, and give website traffic the green light.

Related Articles

The Easy Way for Agencies to Do SEO
Is Your Client Doing Keyword Research Without You?
Options to Get Your Clients to the Top of Organic Search

Bing is at the top.

Bing-is-at-the-top

And they have a photo to prove it!

Microsoft employee Kunal Das recently traveled to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – the world’s highest free-standing mountain – and left a Bing sticker at the top (see it on the sign right after “Africa’s Highest Point”).

Unfortunately for Bing though, Google is still the king of the search engine mountain with 64.7% of core searches according to comScore‘s July 2009 US. Search Engine rankings report. The good news for Bing is that the new and improved search engine did continue its upward trend with an increase of 5% for it’s number of searches. It’s just going to be a long trek to try to dethrone Google!

comScore-core-July2009

comScore-expanded-July2009

LEAD MAVERICK CHANGES BRAND NAME TO ECORDIA

LEAD MAVERICK CHANGES BRAND NAME TO ECORDIA

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Play a game and help Google with image search

Google has a beta application called Google Image Labeler which it describes as “a feature of Google Search that allows you to label images and help improve the quality of Google’s image search results.”

Sounds kind of boring, but leave it to Google to turn image labeling into an online game.
google-image-label-linkHere’s how it works

You are matched up with another online user and both of you are shown an image. You each start adding labels to the image until you both suggest the same label. To add to the challenge, you can’t see the labels your partner is adding. So you just keep adding labels until the game tells you that you matched — or you and your partner may click a “pass” button to move to the next image.

Once a match is made, a new image is presented to both of you and the process begins again. And just to make it really exciting, there is a time clock. You and your partner are given two minutes to label as many images as possible. And of course, it wouldn’t be a game without scoring. So there are points rewarded for successful matches.

After the clock has expired, you are shown a page containing your overall score, thumbnails of the images you saw, along with identifying information:

  • image size
  • image URL
  • whether it was a pass or a match (with matched word)
  • your partner’s labels

Google Image Labeler Screen

A little warning

Some of the images presented are a bit risque. However, Google does not believe you’ll come across inappropriate images. In the Image Labeler FAQ Google states, “While there’s no guarantee, it’s unlikely that you’ll see mature content because all images are filtered under image search’s Strict Safe Search setting.” Hmm, well I saw a few that apparently snuck past the filter.

Also, since you are playing with an unknown partner, your success – or failure as the case may be – depends in part on the other person. On one occasion, I had a partner who I couldn’t match with at all, and when the game was over and I reviewed his or her image labels, they were not related to the images at all and were rather silly like “poop,” for example.

You should give Google’s Image Labeler a try, but I’ll warn you , it is a little addictive.

Ask May Be the Engine that Could

comScore released its February 2009 Search Engine report and to the surprise of no one, Google maintains its dominance with 63.3% market share among the top five search engines. Yahoo! comes in second with 20.6% share, followed by Microsoft with 8.2% of the search market. Ask.com is the “also ran” engine with a mere 4.1% share of the core search market.

comScore February 2009 Core Search Engine Volume

However, what I found interesting is that when comparing the search volume from January to February, Ask.com shows an unusually high jump of 21% more search queries — despite February’s three fewer days.

comScore February 2009 Full Search Volume Report

Looking back at previous months, Ask.com has not experienced an increase nearly as big as this…not even double digits. So why this increase now?

Obviously I’m not privy to everything going on at Ask.com. But, I have seen television ads for Ask.com lately. With a little digging, I found that Ask has in fact been aggressively using offline advertising to promote its online search engine.

Ask Climbs on Board with NASCAR

In January, Ask.com inked a deal to become the Official Search Engine of NASCAR. According to Ask’s CEO Jim Safka,

Our goal is to win over the millions of loyal fans by providing them with the best NASCAR search experience on the Web, and introduce them to all of Ask’s capabilities when they come.

The advertising campaign features slices of life of a “typical NASCAR-loving family” as they follow racing.

Airing approximately 4-5 times during each of the 36 NASCAR race broadcasts, the :15 and :30 Ask.com spots feature content tied to that particular race broadcast. And, Ask.com is running television spots during non-NASCAR related programming.

Ask.com Ad Crawler During Television ProgramAsk.com also has begun running a series of crawler ads on the bottom of the screen during some cable shows. The ads pose queries to viewers, who can then find the answers by using the search engine. The questions, which are tied to show content or subject matter, are appearing on 18 channels, including AMC, FX, National Geographic Channel, MLB Network and NFL Network.

Keep an Eye on the Little Engine

Of course, one month does not establish a trend. But it is a start. And with aggressive offline advertising and promotions, this may be the beginning of the long haul towards the top of the search. I’ll keep an eye on the comScore monthly search reports to see if Ask.com sustains this growth. I’m sure that Ask is saying, “I think I can, I think I can!

Train on Railroad Tracks



Search Marketing is Dead – Oh wait a minute

Search Marketing is Dead – Oh wait a minute

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There are approximately 12 billion searches conducted on the internet each month. And that number continues to grow. As more companies look for ways to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive environment, marketers seek to integrate search engine optimization (SEO) into their marketing communications. And with the advancement in non-technical online tools, SEO is not just for programmers and search marketers anymore. Search Matters is specifically for marketers who want to learn about organic search and how to integrate SEO into their integrated marketing communications programs.

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