Google Favorite Places – Gimmick Or Serious Business?

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

favorite_places

Google has released it’s latest push into marketing for local business with a product titled ‘Favorite Places on Google’. If you’re a small business with an online presence, or considering one, the first question you need to decide on is whether this is just a Google gimmick, or a serious business marketing opportunity?

Favorite Places in a Nutshell

What is it? Favorite Places is really just a gallery of 100,000 US businesses. To get a listing on Favorite Places, your business must be a popular search destination on Google Search or Google Maps and be listed as a local business.

Those businesses that qualify will each receive a window decal with a barcode that they need to display. Visitors and passersby can scan the barcode with an appropriate mobile phone and they will be taken to that business’s Place Page – a mobile version of your local search listing. There they can read about your business; leave comments; and/or star rate your business.

Gimmick or Serious Business?

This is the real issue. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • how many businesses will bother putting the window decal on their shopfront window (if they have one)?
  • how many people will bother scanning the decal to access the business’s Place Page?
  • of those that do scan the decal, how many will bother to rate or leave a comment (and we know people with negative comments are more likely to act than those with positive comments)?

As a reputation management tool it raises more issues. Sure, you can keep an eye out for any negative comments that may be entered. However, another argument suggests that not having a listing keeps that door closed for negative comments.

My premise for this post is to ask whether or not this is another gimmick or a serious business marketing opportunity. I’m sure from Google’s perspective it’s a serious product. If it can realize its full potential, then it could be an excellent business marketing tool.

There are some niches where the potential could be huge. Entertainment and dining out are two areas that come to mind immediately. Outside of those niches, you would need to assess what benefits mobile web browsing brings you your business.

However, we are talking about human nature and can be pretty apathetic to this kind of technology. The bottom line is, while this tactic has the potential to be a great tool, it will most likely become another gimmicky toy that goes nowhere – at least, in the short term.

You can read more about Favorite Places through the official GoogleBlog.

Captioning for the hearing impaired, the French and bots.

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

closed_captioning

On Nov 19, 2009, YouTube announced the Auto-caption and Auto Timing solutions. Captioning a video opens up your audience to the hearing impaired and can be used to translate your videos to other languages”“thus opening up your videos to much larger audiences. Simply find the “cc” button on the bottom right corner of your uploaded video and choose the “transcribe audio” button and let YouTube do the rest. The machine-generated translations aren’t perfect and work best when there’s a single speaker annunciating clearly. If you want total control of your captioning, YouTube offers Automatic Timing. This is where you supply a text version transcript and YouTube will use speech-to-text technology to place the captions in your video so that they sync up with your audio. My guess is that this technology will also be used to help index videos so that Google bots (and other search engine web crawlers) can read the videos in text format and index them like they do with other forms of content. All-in-all, a pretty powerful tool that opens up the possibility of videos to a whole new world. To get a more step-by-step guide on captioning and timing, visit google.com/accessibility or just click on the video below.

Online Video Marketing: Vimeo Or YouTube?

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

vimeo_vs_youtube

To hear some people talking, if you want to engage in online video marketing there is really only one option – YouTube. But that’s far from the case.

While YouTube gets the lion’s share of traffic for online video creation, it may not necessarily be the best choice for you in terms of marketing yourself online with video. Or, at the very least, it may not be your only choice.

But let’s take a look at the pros and cons in a little comparison:

YouTube

  • OK, YouTube wins the traffic battle hands down
  • You can create your own channel and market yourself through that channel, picking up dedicated followers along the way
  • Networking and making friends is easy on YouTube
  • YouTube has a promotional video program you can join
  • YouTube has a rich and diverse categorization procedure

Vimeo

  • Vimeo may not have the traffic, but what they don’t have in traffic they make up for in quality
  • Better HD – high definition; the quality here is much better
  • Vimeo also has channels and networking
  • You can create your videos online using Vimeo’s video creation technology
  • Vimeo’s categorization isn’t as rich and diverse as YouTube’s, but it is more creative and very well organized

1-for-1 Comparison

If you judge by quantity of bullet points, YouTube wins. But, remember, Vimeo’s superior HD technology is outweighs YouTube’s pros and Vimeo has some of those in common with YouTube. Take out the common pros – categorization, networking, and channels – and all YouTube really has going for it traffic and promotional videos. Vimeo has better HD technology, online creation tools, and a thriving community. That’s why many online marketers are using Vimeo over YouTube.

Thankfully, it isn’t a matter of either/or. You can actually do both. My recommendation is to create your video online with Vimeo then upload your video to YouTube. That will get you the high quality of Vimeo’s technology and the traffic at YouTube – the best of both video marketing worlds.

How Social Should Social Media Be?

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

social_media_hands

The current craze in online marketing is social media. That’s social media marketing. But how “social” should it be?

Social media marketing really is a new concept. Without the Internet it never would have seen its existence come to fruition. It really got its start because some savvy Internet marketers were playing around on social media sites like MySpace and Facebook and discovered that they could use the sites for business purposes.

But the sites are really not designed for that purpose. They are social sites.

Traditionally, marketing has been a push concept. A company would develop a product then push it out to market. The strategy was to go out and find people who might want or need their product and target them as customers. But in many cases, no one knew they wanted or needed the product until they had been sold on it. The marketers pushed it on them.

Social media marketing isn’t anything like that. It’s a pull medium. Marketers who engage their audiences through social media do so as social personalities, not as hawkers of some product that no one knows they want until they see a demonstration. With pull marketing, the idea is to develop a relationship with your audience before you try to sell them something. If you do it right then the people you develop that relationship with will seek you out and ask you about your products and services. Why? Because you pulled them toward you with your personality or magnetism.

Social media marketing is really more about the social than about the marketing. And successful marketers are doing it that way.

YouTube steps into the television pay-per-view ring.

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

boxing_kangaroos

Sites like Hulu have been offering free streaming video of your favorite TV shows for a while now, so it’s no wonder that YouTube is getting into the act. But unlike Hulu, YouTube intends to charge for the service. According to Peter Kafka YouTube will be offering

something similar to what Apple and Amazon already offer: First-run shows, without commercials, for $1.99 an episode, available the day after they air on broadcast or cable.

The big difference with the YouTube model is that your favorite episodes will stream to your computer instead of downloading (Apple and Amazon let you download). Negotiating with the networks are still in the works. But what network wouldn’t love to charge for a streamed version of their shows instead of the Hulu model, where shows are readily available for free? One thing is certain, the Hulu free-for-all model is about to get a little fire under it’s digital ass.

Why Blog Marketing Is Effective SEO

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

wecanblogit

Blog marketing has, in a certain very real sense, become the new SEO. The old SEO revolved around keywords and back links. The new SEO revolves around strong content and link bait. What’s the difference?

With the old SEO, webmasters wrote keyword-based content designed to get their pages ranked in the search engines based on how they used the keywords on the page. Then they market their web pages by building links to those pages using approved link building tactics. These tactics still work today but webmasters can achieve the same thing in less time by engaging in blog marketing.

Blog marketing is about adding new, fresh and original content to your website often. The more often the better. The more original your content the better. The higher the quality of your content the better. See a trend here? Let me explain:

  • The reason more content is better is because it brings the search engines back to your website to crawl it more often. More robots on your site means more chances to get your pages ranked. Plus, every blog post is a unique web page with its own unique permalink. More pages rank in the search engines for your keywords.
  • The reason original content is better is because duplicate content won’t get ranked. Don’t copy someone else. Be original. Add your own content with your own thoughts and ideas.
  • And finally, the reason quality is important is because higher quality content draws more links. When people see that you publish highly relevant and authoritative content on a consistent basis they will link to you

And that’s why blog marketing is about quality content and link bait. It’s the new SEO.

The Rise Of Opera Mini And Mobile Web Marketing

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Web marketers have been discussing the rise of mobile marketing for a few good years now. Until now, it really hasn’t taken off in a big way, probably because there has been nothing to scale that has caught on en masse. But that’s about to change.

Opera Mini is a mobile web browser that is becoming quite popular. In fact, it’s use has risen by 238% since October 2008. That’s pretty impressive growth.

Of course, that kind of growth means nothing for a web browser if marketers can’t tap into that power some how. For web marketers, the growth of Opera Mini is an opportunity just waiting to happen. Users of Opera Mini are already using Google, Facebook and Live, now Bing. And what that means is that people are searching the web using their mobile phones and engaging in social media. Where there is search and social media there is a marketing opportunity.

But how do marketers take advantage of that opportunity? First, you need to develop a mobile website. Mobile web browsers cannot read straight HTML sites. They require a special mobile website. The website can feature the same content as you primary website, but has to be developed so that mobile browsers like Opera Mini can read it. After that, it’s all about driving traffic.

Rupert Murdoch: Search Engine Attack Dog

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

prom_queen

Rupert Murdoch has been the talk of the Internet lately. If you’d like to see why, check out this video in which he says that he plans to start de-indexing his websites from Google and charging people to read news stories on those sites.

If you are wondering what’s so fascinating about Rupert Murdoch saying this then you probably aren’t aware of all the facets of search engine optimization and the history of how search engines came into being – particularly Google. If Murdoch does strike a deal with Microsoft to allow Bing to be the exclusive indexer of his content then that would ultimately change how search engines operate in a big way. It would be even bigger than Google’s big debut in 1998.

Until now, the search engines have all been like the prom queen two months before the prom. If you want to even be considered for a date then you’ve got to chase the crown. The prom queen doesn’t chase; she sits. Everyone else sniffs and begs for a position in the line up.

Rupert Murdoch is threatening to change that. He wants the search engines to beg him to be indexed. And Microsoft is playing along. Evidently, some other news organizations are considering the same move. So the big question is, Can these news organizations change the way search engines operate?

Maybe they can. At least, Rupert Murdoch is banking on it. And Microsoft, eager to challenge Google’s place on the throne, just might be the search engine to let it happen.

But I can’t help but wonder what would happen to the rest of us if Rupert Murdoch succeeds and gets his paycheck from Microsoft. Would that be the way search engines operate in the future? Will they pay us all to be indexed exclusively in their search indexes or do you think this will just all blow over? My bet is Rupert Murdoch is gearing up for a huge fight. But is anyone else betting on him?