Google+ and Minuses

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With Twitter and Facebook marketing, there’s always that question: How effective is this social media stuff, really? Doubt seems to double when talking about other social networks like Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn. But when it comes to social media platforms constantly questioned for their effectiveness, nothing beats Google+. Just barely a year old, Google+ has been simultaneously greeted with applause, disdain and indifference during its short time on the social media radar. A new report released last week shed some serious light on the Google+ topic and, while things don’t look great, they don’t look as bad as we might have thought.

First the good news: According to a new SocialShare report from BrightEdge, brand presence on Google+ continues to grow. Brand superstars like Visa, Hermes and Wells Fargo have all joined Google+ in the past two months. Also, Toyota and H&M have recently passed the 1 million followers benchmark while Red Bull, Mercedes and BMW are all very close to reaching that milestone, as well. The BrightEdge report also showed some serious growth for social integration into searches. Marketwatch.com reports, “More than 30 percent of brands with Google+ pages have these pages show up in search results six times higher than reported in February.”

Now for the bad news: Even though brands are flocking to Google+, less than 30 percent are linking to their respective Google+ pages on their websites. And brand-user engagement is still a big problem for Google+.

“The exponential increase in Google+ pages showing up in search results means consumers are starting to engage with brands more regularly on the platform and vice versa,” said Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge. “However there is still much higher adoption on Facebook and Twitter, whose offerings some feel include deeper engagement models which they have built and matured over time, thanks to their earlier start and sustained investment. Brands need to continue to assess and adjust how they leverage all of the social signals to capture the digital engagement and sales they’re looking for.”

The consensus on Google+ marketing seems to be stuck at a solid “wait and see.” Until engagement really clicks with followers, it might be stuck there for a while. But you tell us: Have you had any luck pushing your products on Google+? And do you use the “+” button as much as Facebook’s “like” option?

Nobody Puts Facebook in the Corner

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What with all of this Google, Apple and Twitter news this week it seems like it has been an eternity since we’ve heard a peep out of the bombastic yet reliable Facebook publicity machine. Well, fear not. I was able to dig up the latest in Facebook dirt in the suddenly neglected (yeah right!) social media superstar’s life.

For starters, this spiffy, little study showed that Facebook as well as Twitter both experienced a big bump last year in use on more

The Mobile Search Engine War Heats Up

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In a move that could be only described as a dis, T-Mobile told Yahoo, the previous default server for the wireless network, “thanks but no thanks”. T-Mobile has instead signed with Google to serve as the network’s primary search engine as well as the default server as reported on Monday. Yahoo will continue to server in messenger and mail capacity for the phone company while Google will be doing the majority more

With Google, there is never a dull moment.

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It’s been another exciting week in the world of all things Google. The little search engine with the unassuming primary colored logo has generated more headlines recently than American Idol and Obama combined. Let’s take a look at what the world’s most popular website has been up to.

Just yesterday, Google threw their hat back into the social media arena with the launch of Buzz. Google promises that Buzz will be the faster and easier way to share pictures and videos with friends and family who already belong to Gmail. Naturally Buzz is instantly compatible with smart phones and employs the latest in GPS location to gather information from neighboring businesses and hot spots. Its a gutsy move considering that Google has failed to nab the social marketing scene like Facebook has. From a marketing standpoint, Buzz could provide some much needed oomph to the social media marketing game. Buzz’s new features and Google-like accessability are appealing and send the mind reeling into more

Is It Time To Rethink Online Marketing Strategies?

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The introduction of Bing to the search engine field has brought with it a flurry of new search engine features. Google, Yahoo! and Bing are all trying to out-do each other with the ultimate prize being an increase in search share. The question is, are they fighting the right fight? While they are busy trying to outdo each other, other online sites are quietly moving into the search field. YouTube is the second biggest search vehicle for users and Twitter and Facebook are not that far behind. The outcome of this increase in activity by search engines and social media sites may have serious ramifications for future online marketing strategies, particularly search engine marketing.

The recent introduction of ‘real time’ indexing of content will bring about a renewed interest in social media marketing. Search engines love to index fresh content and it has been noticeable that content that gains rapid prominence on bookmarking sites like Digg or StumbleUpon, has been indexed by Google quite quickly.  Twitterers and bloggers have already acted by putting their posts on ‘auto-Tweet’, thus being open to fresh content indexing. Twitter has become the most prominent instant communication tool around and while bloggers have been quick to utilize it, it has has opened up possibilities for many other areas of marketing.

What effect will this have when it comes to  online marketing? This is the gray area at present. Tweets that carry links to content may lead to that content being indexed quite quickly. This may help under-utilized strategies like press releases increase in popularity. It may also lead to content being accessed directly rather than through search engines. If that’s the case, will search engines become redundant when it comes to real time information?

Article marketing is another area that may gain in popularity. It has been the realm of spammers for a long time. However, if high quality articles can be indexed quickly using tools such as Twitter, spam may finally get the boot. Popular article sites like Ezine Articles are already undertaking tough anti-spam campaigns. This is even leading to paid members being removed.

Is it time to rethink online marketing strategies? Perhaps. The online marketing tools that have been successful in the past are still useful. Blogs, traditional social media marketing, article marketing, press releases, SEM, SEO are just some of these tools. What may change in the future is the mix. Up until now,  SEO has been the tool of choice by most web site owners. Many have dabbled with article marketing, even fewer have ventured into press releases – the time may right to revisit these and many of the other online marketing tools that may have been scorned in the past.

While it is hard to envision a time when the main focus wont be on search engines, I think we may in for a period where it’s dominance could be threatened by social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. What do think – are times changing when it comes to online marketing? Will the focus move from search engines to other media outlets?

Captioning for the hearing impaired, the French and bots.

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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.

Rupert Murdoch: Search Engine Attack Dog

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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?