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With the constant stream of news coming out of the online marketing industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important information. Below, we will go through all of the news from the week that we missed at the time.

Bing Tries To Predict The Winners of Your Favorite Reality Shows

Bing Predictions

Bing is using search and social signals in their attempt to predict outcomes of public events, and they are showcasing the results of their test by estimating who will be moving onto further rounds in reality shows like The Voice, American Idol, and Dancing With the Stars. Bing isn’t using magic to see the future, but they are using measures of popularity to predict the results of some of the most popular shows in the country. While this could be a fun feature for fans of reality TV, there is also potential for Bing to expand their predictions to events and elections that have a more direct on the country in the future.

Google Lets You Subscribe to Trending Search Topics

Google Subscribe

Google Trends has been a useful tool for discovering what people are searching for around the world. But, the service has always been somewhat isolated. You can consult the section to see what new artists, films, or memes are trending, but users have been left to keep up with the topics that interested them on their own. Now, Google Trends has added a new feature that lets you “Subscribe” to any search topic, Hot Searches for any country, or any U.S. monthly Top Chart. Google explains how subscribing functions in their announcement.

New Features are Headed to AdWords

AdWords Update

Last week, Search Engine Land teased that huge news was coming for AdWords by vaguely discussing what types of features you might be seeing in the future. All the features were announced on Tuesday and Larry Kim took the time to break down what each new feature does and how it can affect online advertisers. Find out what the new AdWords will be like in Kim’s article for Search Engine Journal.

More Than Half of Responsive Mobile Sites Have “Unacceptable” Load Times

Responsive design has been widely loved for its ability to unify user experience across multiple platforms and devices, and some web designers claim it even speeds up their work process by preventing them from having to design two separate sites. However, a new study suggests responsive design may have a significant weakness. Responsive design may provide a better and more cohesive user experience across platforms, but a new study says the majority of responsive sites load too slowly for mobile users who are likely to leave a page that doesn’t load within 5 seconds. Mobile web developer Trilibis evaluated 155 prominent responsive design websites, and their findings aren’t pretty.

Yahoo Tests A Google Knowledge Graph Doppelganger in Search Results

There are rumors swirling that Yahoo is considering rejuvenating their search engine to re-challenge Bing for the second most-popular search engine available. Their share of the search market suggests Yahoo will have to make some drastic changes to have any chance at their comeback in the search game, but the company has been testing some recent changes to their search engine that lend truth to the rumors. However, one of their tests also drew attention for looking questionably similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph. All Google Testing discovered the test and documented how to see the test for yourself, or you can just watch their video below.

http://youtu.be/Pc254gEZx_Q

 

With the constant stream of news coming out of the SEO industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important information. Below, we will go through all of the news from the week that we missed the first time.

Yahoo’s Market Share Dips Even Lower

Yahoo’s Q1 2014 earnings gave some optimism that the company had some life in it, but don’t get too hopeful. The latest market share analysis of the search market shows that Yahoo is still falling, while Microsoft benefits and Google stays comfortable with their two-thirds of the market.

Older Generations Embrace Mobile as Local Shopping Companion

The idea of senior citizens being out of touch with technology is becoming increasingly questionable, as a new survey conducted by Thrive Analytics and the Local Search Association shows that older generations (including Boomers an Seniors) are embracing mobile to inform their local shopping process.

Google is Testing Showing Ads in The Knowledge Graph and Carousel

Google’s Carousel interface is less than a year old, but new screenshots suggest Google is already looking at the possibility of showing ads from the paid Google Shopping results within the content bar across the top of some search result pages. Pete Myers shared a screenshot of the test on the Moz Google+ page, and notes “almost everything above the fold is a paid result.”

Facebook Introduces New ‘Nearby Friends’ Feature

Facebook announced the roll out of a new optional feature that will make it easier to find friends that are close-by. The new feature will notify you when friends get within a certain distance so that you can get in touch with them. The feature is completely optional and can be turned off at anytime, but both users must have the feature turned on to receive notification when they come within close proximity.

Why Yahoo’s Not Going To Steal The Search Default For iPhone

Rumors have been swirling that Yahoo is hoping to leverage Apple’s dislike for Google in order to become the default search provider for iPhones. Media outlets everywhere jumped at the chance to report on these rumors, but as Danny Sullivan shows, it would take something close to a miracle for Yahoo to have any chance of becoming the big search option for Apple’s mobile users.

Hacker Code

Social media users around the world have reason to be concerned as nearly two million login credentials have been found online by security researchers this week. The credentials included those for the largest social media platforms including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Researchers from Trustwave’s SpiderLabs division posted a blog post reporting the information they found online after using the source code of a botnet controller, a controller for a collection of internet-connected programs, called Pony.

With that data the researchers were able to trace information connected to data-stealing capabilities and they discovered a massive collection of passwords from many of the biggest websites and social media services. In total 1.58 million website login details were stolen, along with 320,000 email account credentials, 41,000 FTP logins, and 3,000 Remote Desktop credentials.

The researchers believe the attack came from the Netherlands, based on a proxy server there which was operating as an intermediary between infected machines and the overseeing command-and-control server botnet.

“This technique of using a reverse proxy is commonly used by attackers in order to prevent the command-and-control server from being discovered and shut down. Outgoing traffic from an infected machine only shows a connection to the proxy server, which is easily replaceable in case it is taken down,” they wrote.

“While this behaviour is interesting in and of itself, it does prevent us from learning more about the targeted countries in this attack, if there were any.”

While they were at it, the researchers took the time to analyze the data and see what the most common passwords were. The results are depressingly unsurprising.

The most used password was the standard 123456 password, with 15,820 accounts using the simple code. The second and third most used passwords were variations on this, with 123456789 and 1234 filling the respective slots. ‘Password’ was the fourth most common password, and 12345 came in fifth. Sadly, it seems many will never learn to start using more difficult passwords.

Brands looking to extend their user engagement and find new ways to reach out to the public may have a new avenue out of an older web property. Yahoo has totally revamped their Answers site, attempting to bring it back to relevancy and making it more social and mobile friendly.

Answers used to be a thriving Q&A network, but over time it has really fallen in terms of quality, reliability, and general usage. Greg Sterling argues that it is still the most successful “help engine” though in my opinion that is questionable. One issue that led to Answers’ downfall was lack of quality control.

Either way, the years have not been kind to the property, just like numerous other Yahoo properties. Now CEO Marissa Mayer has decided to update and revive Yahoo’s products and Answers is the most recent to get the treatment.

The new features on Answers build in more social aspects, as well as making the site mobile friendly. Users will notice they can now add images and videos to their posts. The hurdle they have to overcome now is curating and improving the quality of the property.

If Yahoo follows through with quality control, Answers may very well offer some lucrative opportunities for audience outreach. One of the best services a brand can offer online consumers is to answer their questions reliably and honestly. It builds trust in the brand as well as cementing your reputation in your field.

It still remains to be seen if Answers will prove to be valuable, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Yahoo Answers Screenshot

Bing has been regularly growing its market share over the past year, but don’t think it is at the expense of Google. In June, Bing’s share of all searches went up to 17.9 percent, but it was Yahoo who dropped to 11.4 percent, according to comScore. Yahoo lost exactly as much search as Bing gained, which may not have been what Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was hoping for when they signed the search deal with Microsoft.

Earlier this year, Mayer said, “One of the points of the alliance is that we collectively want to grow share rather than just trading share with each other. We need to see monetization working better because we know that it can and we’ve seen other competitors in the space illustrate how well it can work.”

Meanwhile, as Search Engine Watch reports, Google has held steady with exactly two-thirds of the market share, though it is down .1 percent from last year’s June share of 66.8 percent.

In 2012, Bing held 15.6 percent of the market, but they have been making regular gains, almost exclusively at the expense of smaller search engines. Yahoo on the other hand is at an all-time low, down from 13 percent last year.

It’s been a week since Microsoft dropped their “Scroogle” attack ads aimed at Google, but they are still running their “Bing It On” challenge trying to convince searchers that Bing is superior to Google. Yet, all of Microsoft’s attempts don’t seem to be working. Despite Microsoft saying Bing It On testers preferred Bing 2:1, Google continues to claim well over half of all searches.

This has Greg Sterling from Search Engine Land wondering why no one believes Microsoft’s and other competitor’s “Better Than Google” claims. Is Google’s brand just that strong? Does it come out of habit?

The most obvious reason people don’t buy Bing’s campaign is they are blatantly aware it is all marketing. They used the same principle as a blind taste test, but those types of tests don’t come off as explicitly biased as a website “blind” test. Just to get to the test you have to go to a website with Bing in the name.

No one is going to trust Bing’s statistics when they are that blatant about the test. There is nothing blind about going to “Bingiton.com“. It also doesn’t help that there is a big disclaimer at the bottom of the search page explaining how the test doesn’t use the full search capabilities of either engine.

Bing It On

Google believes part of the reason users aren’t responding to Microsoft’s negative marketing is customers respond better to companies that “focus on building good products” rather than slinging mud. While Google remained as silent as possible on the “Scroogle” ads while they ran, now that they have been stopped, Google search chief Amit Singhal finally spoke about the issue at a SXSW conference, when taking questions from Twitter. “We focus on our users.”

Google’s right, customers don’t respond to negative marketing campaigns against well established brands as well as they respond to the new and innovative products Google is producing.

But, what about independent studies? A recent study by Butler University found that not only did Bing have better quality answers according to their criteria, but so did ChaCha, Ask.com, Bing, and Yahoo. Why has this type of study not put a huge thorn in Google’s side? One reason is Google’s incredibly strong brand. There is also the “Google Habit” or the comfort with the interface, but more than anything it is personal experience.

ChaCha may have better answers, but most users will agree it is not convenient enough for when you need to make a quick search and find a simple answer. Bing has been making users uncomfortable with their blatant attack ads, and any survey that puts Ask.com ahead of Bing, Yahoo, and Google will be heavily doubted in this age. The website lost its reputation years ago as other search engines grew, and it never regained it, just as Yahoo has steadily lost its market share to Google.

The only companies that can compete against Google are equally strong brands such as Amazon and Apple. Google is so well established in the American market, that it is hard to believe any study reporting that there are a handful of “better” ways to search. But, Google didn’t just install itself into ourcollective hive mind. Google is trusted because they offer a search engine users are pleased with, and they are constantly innovating new and exciting products. If they ever stop innovating, Bing might have a shot. Until then, attack ads and over the top marketing campaigns aren’t going to do much.

We’ve talked quite a bit about the quickly growing use of mobile devices to search the web. The latest reports show between 10% to 20% of all traffic on the web, and some popular websites, claim that roughly a fourth of their traffic is coming from mobile devices, if you include tablets.

Of course, this all shows that ignoring mobile web use at this point is not a good decision. Those that are innovating in the field of mobile optimization will have a much brighter future than those that continue to resist the mobile shift. The sooner you optimize your site for mobile use, the better chances your company will do well in the future.

There are two factors that differentiate mobile devices from other traditional computing devices. They both are obvious, but both factors have undeniably huge effects on users’ web experiences. The first is portability. Since mobile users are accessing the web on the go, their current location and activities become important to what they are accessing online. The second factor is screen size. Mobile screens do seem to be getting larger, but they will never go anywhere near standard computer screen size. Take advantage of screen size limitations of mobile users, rather than fight it.

With between 15-20% of all searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. coming from mobile users, how does that change search behavior?

Search Behavior Due to Location

Microsoft’s research has found that 30% of all mobile searches are related to their location, and 61% of searches end in a phone call. Like I said, a person’s locations and activities are clearly important to mobile user’s.

Of course, the recent changes to search engines have made great strides to customize search results based on user’s locations, but you should still make an effort to specify your business’s location on search engines using their web master settings.

The major search engines also look for location signals from the title and text present on a website. If you own a local business, make it easy for them to find these signals. Emphasize the location on the site so search engines prioritize your website in search results around your area.

Can you still take advantage of mobile users’ locations even if your business has more than one location? Of course!

If your business has multiple locations, you should be creating internal pages for your different locations, with a present hierarchy starting from the homepage so that search engines will notice the location specific pages too. You will still have to deal with standard issues such as speed, relevance, and backlinks, but taking advantage of location will help get individual pages ranked based on where your users may be.

Search Behavior Due to Screen Size

Screen size contstraints are a more physical limitation, but it strongly effects how people search and visit pages. The clearest difference between mobile and desktop search is the number of paid results and advertisments. On most search engines, there are far less paid ads on mobile because of the screen size. That means organic results on mobile are more important than on desktop.

Screen size also limits the number of results you recieve at any given moment. On a typical smartphone you can only see a few results at a time. Desktops give users a broad range of results immediately, but on mobile the top three results are key. Mobile users are not prone to research, and they rarely go past the first page of results, so it is important to get your page as high in the rankings as possible.

Search behavior on mobiles are certainly unique from their desktop counterparts, and mobile requires a similarly unique SEO strategy. Of course, desktop is still important, so the best way to approach the issue is by creating a seperate mobile site that is optimized for mobile user experience. The longer you wait to optimize, the more trouble you will have later.

For more, read Paras Chopra’s article at Search Engine Land.

 

This was something that had been coming, but it was unknown exactly when the date would be.  Yahoo and Microsoft have made an alliance.  It’s called the “Search Alliance”.  Originally it was intended as a unification for paid advertisements, but it’s clear now that the unification is for both paid and organic listings; do a search on both Yahoo and Bing for a keyword phrase, and the results are now identical.

Read more

I got an email from Microsoft adCenter promoting the new alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft.  They’re calling it “Search Alliance“.  The aim is to have their online paid advertising fully unified before the 2010 holiday season, although they did say that they’ll wait until 2011 if they “determine this will be more effective”.

Microsoft bought out Yahoo, so now the primary tool behind both search engines will be Bing, and behind the pay per click (and other paid online advertisements) will be adCenter.  The Search Alliance has stated that each company will “continue to have differentiated consumer search experiences”.  Not sure exactly how they’ll pull that off with the same search engine for both, but they may just mean the search interface.

The support will be broken apart, Yahoo supporting the bigger advertisers, and Microsoft will provide support to “self-service” advertisers.  They are combining their platforms for the advertising audience, so ads put together under this new alliance will reach consumers using either search engine.  The Search Alliance brags that advertisers of all sizes will now be able to have access to a combined audience of nearly 577 million worldwide searchers.

At any rate, this is pretty big news – Yahoo and MS pulling together to battle the mighty Google.  I expect this may be an epic battle.

I’ve talked about how much it bugs me that so many people still think the keywords meta tag is the “secret trick” for SEO.  Well, back in October I put together a video demonstrating a test I did on this tag.  I tested Ask.com, Bing, Yahoo, and Google.  Does it work?  Is it really the secret to SEO?  You can see the results of how this turned out below.