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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Twitter Conundrum

I was thinking about this last night. Why is it such a great thing to have thousands of followers on Twitter? Who can keep up with it all? And why are there people with thousands of followers who don't follow any back? Why do they have klout?

I was looking at the followers I have yesterday, those I follow, those I don't etc. and thinking about who these people are, do I really know them? Have I conversed with them. It's nothing like Facebook where I can tell you exactly who each person is and why I am their friend and vice / versa.

Twitter can be great for making new friends but I think that it's getting to the point that there are far more people on twitter who just follow everyone for the sake of following and a lot less who follow only those that are of true interest to them. For example, last week I was followed by a large number of chess related tweeps. I don't talk about chess anywhere in my posts or my profile. Sure I've been known to play a game or two but nothing that would warrant follows from chess players, naked chess players included.

So is being on twitter and talking about your product or service a bit like throwing spaghetti on the wall or akin to advertising on tv - hoping your exact target is watching while your ad is running? It seems to me that it's getting that way.

In the beginnning the people who followed me actually talked to me. I followed people that had businesses I was really interested or people who had something to say worth reading. I wonder if the people following me really care anymore. I know I care about who I follow!

For example, I don't follow people who's profiles tout get rich quick schemes or promising to get you thousands of followers on twitter (go figure). I don't generally follow people from other countries unless they are really interesting because honestly, I won't ever have an opportunity to do business with them or they with me.

I also don't follow all those people who say they work in social media or internet marketing right after they tell you they are a teacher, a sales person, etc. I think all of us that really are in internet marketing know that you can't be one on a part time basis - you either do it all in or you're not successful.

I follow people who have something worth reading, who offer something I'm interested or who might be someone beneficial to work with / know. Sure that sounds selfish, but I would expect the same from any other tweep.

Here's the real conundrum, and interestingly there was a post I saw today that looks at this from a slightly different angle as well: If I don't have thousands of followers, people who want to hire someone who is good at social media will think I don't know about it...

Actually I know a lot about it. I am just choosy, not just for myself but for my clients as well, they aren't following everyone on the planet either. . . But the purpose behind that concept that will probably fall on deaf ears.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Google Alphabet

Google Alphabet
I received an email this morning with an interesting link to the Wall Street Journal blog* featuring a little research by Journalism Professor Jeff Jarvis: The Google Alphabet. In short it's the top 4 entries for each letter of the alphabet that are offered if you use Google Instant. If you haven't yet heard about it, Google Instant fills in the blank when you are typing and automatically (without hitting an enter key - before you finish typing) displays the results as you type. So if you input the letter A, you would get (in the results) AOL, Amazon etc.

You can read the entire post if you would like. I've reprinted just the alphabet portion here:
A: AOL, Amazon, AIM, Apple
B: Bank of America, Best Buy, Bing, Bed Bath and Beyond
C: Craigslist, Chase, CNN, Costco
D: Dictionary, Droid X, Dell, Drake
E: EBay, ESPN, Expedia, Eminem
F: Facebook, Facebook login, FIFA, Fandango
G: Gmail, Google Maps,, Glee
H: Hotmail, Hulu, Home Depot, Hopstop
I: Ikea, IPhone, IMDB, Inception
J: Jet Blue, Jetblue, JFK, Jersey Shore
K: Kmart, Kayak, Kohls, Katy Perry
L: LIRR, Lowes, Lost, LinkedIn
M: MapQuest, MySpace, MSN, MTA
N: Netflix, NJ Transit, New York Times, Nordstrom
O: Orbitz, ooVoo, Old Navy,
P: Pandora, PayPal, PetCo, People
Q: Quotes, QVC, Queens College, Quest Diagnostics
R: Realtor, Rite Aid, Run, Radio Shack
S: Staples, Sears, Skype, Sprint
T: Target, Twitter, TD Bank, Ticketmaster
U: UPS, USPS, UTube, Univision
V: Verizon, Verizon Wireless, Victoria Secret, VLC
W: Weather, Walmart, White Pages, Wikipedia
X: XBox, XM Radio, XE, XKCD
Y: Yahoo, YouTube, Yahoo Mail, Yelp
Z: Z100, Zappos, Zillow, ZIP Codes
And as a bonus, the numbers:
0: 007, 0, 02, 0-60 times, 06880
1: 105.1, 1010 Wins, 103.5, 101.5
2: 2010 Calendar, 24, 2012, 25 to Life Lyrics
3: 311, 30 Rock, 3Ds, 3M
4: 4chan, 411, 4th of July, 4shared
5: 50 Cent, 50 Cent Weight Loss, 500 Days of Summer, 5 Guys
6: 60 Minutes, 6pm, 6th Ave, 6 Flags
7: 7zip, 7online, 7chan, 7 eleven
8: 8 mile, 80’s music, 800 flowers, 808 drum
9: 92.3, 97.1, 90210, 92nd Street Y

*original blog post by Jennifer Valentino-Devries.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Search Results in an Instant

"Never underestimate the importance of fast." ~ Eric Scmidt, Google

In 2009, Google rolled out 500+ changes to their search engine in a quest to make it easier and faster to find what you were searching for. And, at 1 billion users per week, it's important to keep evolving with the web and the demands of the internet users. Of the hundreds of changes Google has already rolled out this year, today's announcement was the most progressive of their search evolutions yet: Google Instant.

Google Instant combines the recently released "Caffiene" which provides search results that are 50% fresher and Real Time results with their timelines and conversation views with the not so new "auto complete" function to produce SERP which are dynamic to the active search being typed into the box.

In a quest to make search "Fun, fast & interactive," Google's VP of search products Marissa Mayer compared what Google refers to as a fundamental shift in how people will search to the 1935 version of using a library or the 1950's version of research using a telephone. As opposed to taking hours to find out information, today it takes about 9 seconds for someone to enter a search, 300 milliseconds for Google to return optimal search results and 15 seconds for the user to choose among the results. With Google Instant, the search results are even faster as they are presented while you are actually typing in your search request, predicting what they think you are searching for.

Ironically, Google had somewhat predicted this evolution in 2000 as an April Fools day prank. Today that prank is a reality that saves approximately 2 to 5 seconds per search. While that may not seem like much individually, over the course of a week it saves Google users 11 hours for each passing second. The search engine actually gives live feedback in the form of auto-complete and SERPs as the search query is being typed into the search box.

Google Instant will be rolling out across the United States and several other countries today and will be accessible through Chrome, Safari, FireFox and IE8.

What does this mean to website owners in terms of search engine optimization?

Reading the various discussions around the internet immediately following the press conference (which I was able to attend via live feed on Google's You Tube channel), the opinions range from
"the death of SEO" to "business as usual." I think it's going to be somewhere in between, here's why:
  • You have to be signed in to Google ( your gmail or other google account) to take advantage of Google instant. For those users who don't have a Google account or aren't signed in 24/7 like me, they won't have advantages of the new roll out. So in that aspect, SEO is the same as it has always been.

  • For those users who are signed in it's going to be even more important that business come up above the fold and using predictive key terms. In other words, you absolutely must know how your website visitors find you and optimize for those terms.

    Because Google is using the auto-complete in conjunction with dynamic results, knowing the correct terms to optimize for becomes more important than ever. And while Google believes that people will learn how to "pull up" results from the bottom of the first page and beyond by refining the terms used, that initial search will still show the "cream of the crop."
In terms of preparing your website, just keep your end reswult and the visitors in mind. As the the Google philosophy states, "focus on the user and all else will follow." Got questions about Google Instant? Contact me!
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