Bing's Perspective on Quality Content

contentSince the Google Panda Update first launched back in February (and really for some time before that), there has been a lot of discussion about search quality throughout the industry – the quality of the content that search engines are returning in their results.

This is the whole reason the Panda update exists. It’s all about improving the quality of results. Some will dispute the success of that, but it is the reason for better or for worse.

But what about Bing? It doesn’t command nearly the search market share that Google does but, as it powers Yahoo search, it’s really the only major competitor in town.

Whereas Google had a list of questions one could ask themselves to asses the quality of their site, Bing has published a list of things to avoid, which reads as follows:

  • Duplicate content – don’t use articles or content that appears in other places.  Produce your own unique content.
  • Thin content – don’t produce pages with little relevant content on them – go deep when producing content – think “authority” when building your pages.  Ask yourself if this page of content would be considered an authority on the topic.
  • All text/All images – work to find a balance here, including images to help explain the content, or using text to fill in details about images on the page.  Remember that text held inside an image isn’t readable by the crawlers.
  • Being lonely – enable ways for visitors to share your content through social media.
  • Translation tools – rarely does a machine translation tool leave you with content that reads properly and that actually captures the original sentiment.  Avoid simply using a tool to translate content from one language to the next and posting that content online.
  • Skipping proofreading – when you are finished producing content, take the time to check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and for the overall flow when reading.  Does it sound like you’re repeating words too frequently?  Remove them.  Don’t be afraid to rewrite the content, either.
  • Long videos – If you produce video content, keep it easily consumable.  Even a short 3 – 4 minute video can be packed with useful content, so running a video out to 20 minutes is poor form in most instances.  It increases download times and leads to visitor dissatisfaction at having to wait for the video to load.  Plus, if you are adding a transcription of your video, even a short video can produce a lengthy transcription.
  • Excessively long pages – if your content runs long, move it to a second page.  Readers need a break, so be careful here to balance the length of your pages.  Make sure your pagination solution doesn’t cause other issues for your search optimization efforts, though.
  • Content for content’s sake – if you are producing content, be sure its valuable.  Don’t just add text to every page to create a deeper page.  Be sure the text, images or videos are all relevant to the content of the page.

If you’re living up to Google’s definition of quality, you probably won’t be doing too bad in Bing either, and if you’re doing well in Google, you’re probably getting a lot more search referrals from Google than you could ever get from Bing anyway, but it’s still helpful to get a look into Bing’s own thinking on this issue.

 

Thanks to Chris Crum of Web Pro News

Make The Most of YouTube Marketing

youtube marketingThe most recent statistics on online video and YouTube are mind-blowing: Nielsen reported that Americans streamed 15 billion videos in the most recently recorded month (May 2011). While traditional TV viewing was up only 0.2% over last year, Internet video viewing was up 35% and mobile video viewing went up 20%.

Before you throw all your marketing dollars into YouTube, however, you might want to consider this other statistic: 35 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube… every minute. In the time it takes you to read this article, about two weeks of fresh content will be posted. Watch the video below and add another three days.

In other words, there’s a lot of competition for those eyeballs. So, how do you maximize your YouTube marketing results?

  •  Create compelling videos.
  • Use YouTube Ads.

  • Make your video findable.
  • Brand your YouTube channel.
  • Post a bulletin and alert your friends and subscribers.

  • Review YouTube Insights for good insights.

  • Leverage other social media platforms.

 

Employers Use Social Networks to Screen Employees

social mediaIn an increasingly digitized world, roughly 45 percent of employers now reportedly use social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to screen potential employees, according to Mindflash.com.

Not all Facebook-related employment decisions are necessarily negative, as Mindflash.com depicts in the below infographic. Indeed, 18 percent of employers have found information that has actually facilitated their decision to hire a job applicant.

Still, finding something unsettling is more common, as more employers used what they found on social networking sites to bar applicants from employment. Of those surveyed, 35 percent of employers were reported to have found content that cause them not to hire a candidate for an open position.

More than ever, already-hired employees are paying careful attention to what is on their Facebook. That would seem appropriate, seeing as the National Labor Relations Board recently decided to give employers a free hand in firing employees for inappropriate material found on social networks, as reported by the The Huffington Post.

Beyond the more obvious red flags of inappropriate photographs and comments, Mindflash also says a prime reason for potential employees being denied a job is their digitally badmouthing of ex-employers and patrons.

courtesy: Mindflash.com via Huffington Post

Turn Social Media Addiction Into Results

Social MediaEver had the feeling that the Web can be a waste of time? We start by reading some relevant information on a social media site. An hour later we are still on that site, but in our tenth different place. In fact, 65 percent of all streaming content is watched during the work day. YouTube reports that 2 billion videos are watched during this period of time. Black Monday started because of the faster Internet connections. A lot of the consumer buying on the Web happens at work.

Are you afflicted with a social media addiction? While it may not be contagious, is it affecting your work productivity. Do you feel any of these symptoms?

  • You spend too many hours using social media tools with no measurable results. Sure it’s fun, but from a business standard, what do you have to show for all of your valuable time?
  • Your day is filled with distractions from constant alerts. There is constant fear that you will miss something so you need to react right now. In fact, you work on a stimulus response model waiting for interruptions to delay business decisions or progress.
  • You are always looking at numbers as a reward: You need more followers, tweets, friends and views. You review these metrics more than your company’s financial statements.

Don’t despair. Here are five steps to the cure:

1. Learn that social media is promotion

What social media achieves best through its conversational style is making it easy to form trusting relationships over a long period of time. In the past, we may have done this over three martini lunches or trade shows, but these online tools really make it efficient. Focus on maintaining these relationships through online conversations with prospects, customers, and connectors.

2. Define how your social media activities assist in accomplishing your company’s critical success factor this month

Pick your area of expertise that addresses the pain your company solves and join the conversation on that subject. Identify the connectors and influencers in those conversations. Find your key prospects on social media and begin to follow them. Limit your time based on the ROI your company receives over the next three months.

3. Limit your focus to one just tool

It is impossible to be successful at connecting through all of the social media tools. They all fit just a bit differently. Find which tool your community uses and focus on becoming consistently effective at building relationships with that one. This will enable your company to build their social media expertise slowly instead of burning through a lot of resources that may not be a good investment.

4. Measure your social media results

It’s not just about followers, friends, or views. Track your company’s growing social media influence with such tools as Klout. Think of it as your social media balance sheet.

5. Separate out social media for business vs. just for fun

There is nothing wrong with surfing social media for fun for hours. It’s great connecting with people that you don’t often see in person. But never call that work or a “marketing investment.”

source: Open Forum/Barry Multz

Social Media Is The New Way of Life

social mediaSocial media is the new mantra of life, irrespective of sex or age group. Throw a stone and you’ll hit someone on a popular social networking website like Facebook or LinkedIn, and so on. If the sweet memory of your lost school or college friend is haunting you, then become a part of social networking sites and you may find your lost friends.

The front runners among these social networking sites are the Facebook and newly added Google Plus.

Facebook is being called a giant in the kingdom of social networking; however, Google Plus joined the global collection last month with a big bang. In no time, a battle has started between the two, one being a giant and other being a social networking Titan.

Privacy is the biggest challenge of social networking sites. While sites such as Facebook have tons of tools to manage, it still faces allegations of abusing the private lives of its users. Google Plus promises more privacy by default, which users will certainly find attractive. However, Google is not immune to accusations of maligning the privacy of their users.

Google Plus seems to have an edge over Facebook

It’s been several weeks since Google Plus has launched, and the fanfare over its features has been loud and plentiful. Features such as Circles, where you can choose which friends hear what, and Hangouts, where you can video chat together are a significant advance. Google Plus has more features big and small than its rival Facebook; it also seems to have successfully played to the gallery with more privacy options, biting its rival where it hurts the most. Google Plus has emerged with better and more privacy controls and other features, even though it still resembles its rival in look and feel. There are plenty of studies and surveys that have assembled comparisons and are calling Google Plus better than its rival. In order to compete with the new features of Google Plus, Facebook has produced its own chat application in association with Skype.

Dual platform users

Google Plus claims to have crossed the ten million figure of users, which is still a small figure compared with Facebook’s 750 million. But then again, Plus’s numbers happened in the span of just one month. Nevertheless, the interesting aspect, which the analysts seems to be ignoring, is how almost all the Google Plus users are still on Facebook and are active there even though they like Google Plus. It will take some time for a complete paradigm shift.

Why It Makes Business Sense To Blog

internet marketing 

Intelligent Blogging Can Be A Fantastic Addition to An Internet Marketing Strategy 

Consider that a successful and viable company is built on:

  • good ideas
  • a great product
  • visibility
  • a hard-working team

Blogs are an effective way of marketing all of those things in one fell swoop, and for bringing in the most important ingredient of success: customers.

Blogging helps you talk directly to people who are interested in what you have to say. There is no guessing game here. If you’re a designer talking about design ideas, people who are interested in design will come back repeatedly. People can mean more than just customers. Industry professionals, other bloggers who may source your content (and therefore increase your ranking), or journalists can all help to publicize your  business.

Blogs also carry a lot of weight with the search engine algorithms when it comes to SEO.

Each individual blog post has the potential to generate a surge in back links and add to your search ranking. They are proven to get better positions for most keywords in search engine results. Simply put, it makes business sense to blog. Humanize your company and reap the benefits of that personal touch. Blogging intelligently will help produce greater results and effectiveness in your internet marketing efforts.

4 Awesome Reasons to Have Contests to Fuel Social Engagement

social engagement

1. Contests Are a Great Tool for Getting Fans

Whether you are beginning with 10 or 10,000 fans or followers, contests offer an exceptional way to increase your fan base. We have seen clients go from 50 to 1,000 and from 15,000 to 30,000 Likes in a matter of days or weeks when running a contest. Of course, this is not the only metric to think about, but it is one measure of the power of a promotion. A basic sweepstakes with a lower barrier to entry often provides the best option for those just starting out with social media contests.


2. Contests Allow You To Engage Your Audience

In addition to increasing the sheer number of people who interact with your brand, a contest provides a conduit to deepen the connection as well. A user-generated content (UGC) promotion such as a photo or video contest is a great way to do just that. UGC contests tap in to the human drive to compete, and they provide an opportunity for everyone to experience their 15 minutes of fame. Most importantly, when participants upload their personal content (e.g., a photo or story) to your promotion, they are naturally vested in your brand.


3. Contests Are an Amazing Source of Data

With the lure of a prize, many people are ready to share criteria with you as part of the entry process. You don’t want to introduce too many barriers, but don’t miss the opportunity to learn a bit more about your consumers (i.e., how they heard about your promotion, what their favorite product of yours is, etc.). Remember that what you ask should be relative what you offer in return. In addition to collecting data as part of the entry process, you can also learn a great deal from the interaction and conversation that takes place around your contest.


4. Contests Allow Consumers To Do Your Marketing

How would you like to have hundreds or thousands of your fans helping to spread the word about your campaign? It is important to have a promotion plan that encompasses multiple marketing channels, but thanks to sharing via social media, contests today enable an exponential amplifying of your marketing message that was never available before the Internet.

If your contest includes a voting aspect, participants will be inclined to share through their social graph, asking friends and family to support their entry. Some good rules to follow in voting competitions: You are likely to see ten voters for every entry (often many more) as well as ten clicks for every shared link. These numbers represent a significant multiplier of traffic to your contest site or application as a result of consumers marketing to other consumers.

Like other tools, contests can be extremely effective when used as part of an objective social media strategy. Any consumer organization, as well as many business-to-business enterprises, can take advantage of contests to realize the four benefits shown above.

Before you start a contest, though, be sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations. Every state has its own contest laws — and some can be dicey — so do some research to make sure your promotion is legal.

sourcing:  Mashable

33% of Facebook Posting is Mobile

It’s easy, speedy, and convenient to use the Internet on our increasingly powerful smartphones. Mobile is where it’s at right now, particularly with the rise of tablet PCs.

Facebook itself reports that:

  • There are more than 250 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
  • People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
  • There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products.

This activity includes creating updates, posting original content, and sharing content found elsewhere on the Web. The pie chart breaks down the most commonly-used mobile clients (the “Other” slice includes less common clients such as Samsung, HP, and Windows clients).

 

This is Why Social Media Etiquette is Important

social media

Companies have long used criminal background checks and credit reports and even searches on Google and LinkedIn to explore the previous lives of potential  employees. Now, some companies are requiring job candidates to also pass a social media background check.

A year-old start-up, Social Intelligence scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.

Then they build  a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly violent activity.”We are not detectives,” said Max Drucker, chief executive of the company, which is based in Santa Barbara, Calif. “All we assemble is what is publicly available on the web today.The Federal Trade Commission, after initially raising concerns last fall about Social Intelligence’s business, determined the company is in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but the service still alarms privacy advocates who say that it invites employers to look at information that may not be relevant to job performance.

And what unsuitable  information has led to job offers being withdrawn or not made? Mr. Drucker said that one prospective employee was found using Craigslist to look for OxyContin. A woman posing nude in pictures she put up on an image-sharing site didn’t get the job offer she was seeking at a hospital.

Other background reports have turned up examples of people making anti-Semitic comments and racist remarks, he said. Then there was the job applicant who belonged to a Facebook group, This Is America. I Shouldn’t Have to Press 1 for English.” This raises a question. “Does that mean you don’t like people who don’t speak English?” asked Mr. Drucker rhetorically. Mr. Drucker said his goal was to conduct pre-employment screenings that would help companies meet their obligation to conduct fair and consistent hiring practices while protecting the privacy of job candidates.

For example, he said the reports remove references to a person’s religion, race, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and other information protected under federal employment laws, which companies are not supposed to ask about during interviews. Also, job seekers must first consent to the background check, and they are notified of any negative information uncovered.

He argues the search reduces the risk that employers may confuse the job candidate with someone else or expose the company to information that is not legally allowable or relevant. “Googling someone is ridiculously unfair,” he said. “An employer could discriminate against someone inadvertently. Or worse, they are exposing themselves to all kinds of allegations about discrimination.”

Marc S. Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, based in Washington, said that employers were entitled to gather information to make a determination about job-related expertise, but he expressed concern that “employers should not be judging what people in their private lives do away from the workplace.”

Less than a third of the data surfaced by Mr. Drucker’s firm comes from such major social platforms as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. He said much of the negative information about job candidates comes from deep Web searches that find comments on blogs and posts on smaller social sites, like Tumblr, the blogging site, as well as Yahoo user groups, e-commerce sites, bulletin boards and even Craigslist.

Then there are the photos and videos that people post — or find themselves tagged in — on Facebook and YouTube and other sharing sites like Flickr, Picasa, Yfrog and Photobucket.

And it is photos and videos that seem to get most people in trouble. “Sexually explicit photos and videos are beyond comprehension,” Mr. Drucker said. “We also see flagrant displays of weapons. And we see a lot of illegal activity. Lots and lots of pictures of drug use.”

He recalled one man who had 15 pages of photos showing himself with various guns, including an assault rifle. Another man included pictures of himself standing in a greenhouse with large marijuana plants.

Given complex “terms of service” agreements on most sites and Web applications, Mr. Rotenberg said people do not always realize that comments or content they generate are publicly available.

“People are led to believe that there is more limited disclosure than there actually is, in many cases,” he said, pointing out that Facebook’s frequent changes to its privacy settings in recent years may have put some people at risk in getting a job now because of personal information they might have inadvertently made public.

“What Facebook was doing was taking people’s personal information that they made available to family and friends and make that information available more widely to prospective employers,” said Mr. Rotenberg, whose organization has several pending complaints at the Federal Trade Commission about Facebook’s privacy settings.

Joe Bontke, a manager for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s office in Houston, said that he regularly reminds employers and human resource managers about the risks of violating federal antidiscrimination employment rules and laws by using online research in hiring decisions.

“Things that you can’t ask in an interview are the same things you can’t research,” he said, which includes the gamut of information covering a person’s age, gender, religion, disability, national origin and race.

That said, he added that 75 percent of recruiters are required by their companies to do online research of candidates. And 70 percent of recruiters in the United States report that they have rejected candidates because of information online, he said.

Dave Clark, owner of Impulse Advanced Communications, a telecommunications company in Southern California, began relying on Social Intelligence for background screening because he said the company needed a formal strategy and standards before assembling online information about job candidates. “They provided us with a standardized, arm’s-length way of using this additional information to make better hiring decisions,” he said.

About half of all companies, based on government and private surveys, now use credit reports as part of the hiring process, except in those states that limit or restrict their use. As with social media background checks, there are concerns about information that is surfaced. The equal employment agency filed a lawsuit last December against the Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, accusing it of discriminating against black job applicants in the way it used credit histories in its hiring process.

But it is not unusual for senior-level executives in many companies to undergo even more complete background checks by a private investigating firm.

“We are living in a world where you have an amazing amount of information and data on every executive,” said Ann Bilkhorn  an executive recruiter in the converging technology, media and communications industry. “I think that puts the burden on the recruiter and the hiring manager to be really thoughtful about what is important and not important when making the hiring decision.”

Alas, be careful whether you use social media for entertainment or for work purposes because people are or will be paying attention. Words of wisdom.

Thanks to The New York Times

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