Monthly Archives: April 2011

New Facebook Send Button Lets You Target Traffic

Anyone else getting creeped out with how public Facebook “likes” are nowadays? It’s a dream come true for companies looking for social growth, but I can only imagine that people are going to start becoming a little more “like”-shy.

Perhaps aware of this, Facebook has just developed the Facebook “send” button. Now you can still show your support for an article or site, but only send it off to a specific individual or group of people.

By including both on your Website, the idea is that users will now be able to be as public or anonymous about what they like as possible.

Google Removes Overstock.com Penalties

In February, Google famously punished Overstock.com for being too good at link building. Seriously. Overstock provided educational discounts for students and faculty. These higher ed institutions, with fabulous PR (pagerank) scores linked to Overstock, making Overstock’s site go link crazy in value. Which Google didn’t like.

Let’s be clear here. Google can do whatever they want. It’s in Google’ best interest that their users be able to quickly find the best information/provider they need. So, Overstock.com ranking high for…everything…wasn’t good for business. So, they got slapped. But as of today, they are out of the penalty box, and free to resume being link smart once again.

Google News Aggregating Like Google Does Best

It’s fun when Google sticks to online information aggregation. That’s their bread and butter. That’s what they’re best at. And that’s what could cause them to be the most important news portal in the future.

Google is looking to make Google News even more personalized. This means helping Google understand the kinds of stories you’re interested in. Telling them when they’re not. So, you get the news stories that matter most to you, as they happen. From news providers around the world, including hyper-local news that’s happening in your own hometown.

It’s one of those systems that works better the more you work it. So, just head on over to Google News, and take a look for yourself.

Who Can Compete Against Netflix?

Someone made a joke the other day that now would be a perfect time to go rent every movie Blockbuster has and never return it. Netflix, with their video streaming, has officially killed Blockbuster. So, who’s their next competition? Well, traditional video stores still have one big advantage. They get new releases a month earlier than either Netflix or Redbox. That’s a big advantage, but apparently not enough of one.

Because online streaming is just simpler. It’s the path of least resistance for the lazy man, and that will always win.

So how will Hollywood evolve to this new industry winner, and what will that look like for Netflix? Premium Video on Demand is looking at the time advantage Blockbuster had, and trying to beat. For $30, studios can offer not-yet-on-DVD films via online stream. But this seems nuts, and depending on the size of your family would be even more expensive than going to the movie theater.

How to Optimize Facebook Posts for EdgeRank Optimization

We talked about Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm when it was released, and how cool it was that Facebook had created this win-win transparency situation in order to incentivize stronger content creation on their site.

But some companies, even after understanding that they need to create engage-able content, still aren’t quite sure how to do it. In terms of the recency metric, they may feel that’s slightly out of their control – besides trying to time busy hours on social networks. And the affinity metric is more of a long term measurement. So, what about this Weight metric, the number of times people have engaged with your piece of news? How do you make content engaging?

Here’s a start. Ask questions. Reply to comments in order to stoke the conversation. Include photos. Include videos. Sure, there are probably a lot more than that. But those simple tips will go a long way in increasing your engagement.

The iPhone Now Pays Apple’s Bills

After a decade of the iPod moving Apple’s fortunes, today that role belongs to the iPhone. And apparently, they’re doing a great job in that role with Apple’s second-quarter financials indicating a record March quarter that included an 83% revenue growth and whopping 95% profit growth, year-over-year.

These sales included 18.65 million iPhones, 9.02 million iPods, 4.69 million iPads and 3.76 million Macs.

Historically, Apple is an insane company. How many companies have created a game-changer even once in their history? And without, argument, Apple has at least created three in the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. It’s simply unreal, and no wonder why Apple’s numbers are better than ever.

Amazon Kindle Now Supports Book Lending

Now we’re getting into the fun, legally-tricky aspect of digital books. Eligible Amazon Kindle books can now be loaned to individuals, one time, for a period of 14 days. This borrowee does not even need to own a Kindle. They can use any free Kindle reading application for either the PC, MAC, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. The lender is unable to read the book during this loan period.

Not all e-books are lendable. That right is left up to the book publisher. And you will see “Lending: Enabled” on those specified books. This is very cool, but expecting a friend to read any length book in 14 days seems a bit unfriendly. All in all, however, this a very cool step forward in our digital pirate-free future.

Google Releases AdWords Advice

It’s in Google’s best interest to make your PPC campaigns a success. And that’s why they’ve recently released their Ad Innovations site and this series of Adwords tips.

Here are a couple of quick highlights that we found the most interesting and are currently utilizing with our PPC clients here at Windy City Strategies. Ad Sitelinks through Google Adwords lets you provide specific landing page options within your PPC ad, up to four additional destination URLs. On average, advertisers see a 30% increase in click through rate with these Ad Sitelinks.

Also, Google AdWords now lets you incorporate your description line content in the headline, where it’s more likely to be noticed, when you have a “top ad”. This easy tweak results in a nice 6% increase in click through rate. Thanks for the new features, Google!

Getting Link Love From the Royal Wedding

It’s not just the people selling jelly beans with Kate Middleton’s supposed image in them that are profiting from this Royal Wedding. Smart web sites around the world understand the keyword popularity of the Royal Wedding. In fact, “royal wedding” has become the fifth most popular wedding keyword in the U.S. And over the past two months, as the royal nuptials draw nearer, clicks from variations of “Prince Williams”, “Kate Middleton” and “Royal Wedding have been growing week-to-week.

So, it stands to reason that if you optimize a page on your site for this royal occasion, you’ll definitely get some organic traffic sent your well. But perhaps the only way for you to truly capitalize on this traffic financially would be for you to sell custom-made Royal wind chimes or some other form of crazy. Good luck with that.

Will Liquid Layout Replace Majority Rule?

What customer do you optimize your site for? Probably the majority, right? So, that probably means Internet Explorer. But should you really be optimizing your site for the group least likely to recognize good design? Half-kidding of course, for those of you who actually prefer Internet Explorer. But for many, it’s simply a default.

And as desktop monitors get wider and wider, incentivizing a horizontal Web layout, the popularity of the iPad and other tablets are heading in the exact opposite vertical direction. So what do you do? How do you design for everyone?

The Toronto Standard hopes to do it with their “liquid layout” that automatically adapts to the reader’s viewing device. All content is resized and reordered to fit the smartphone, tablet or PC. While one can only assume the leaps in programming skills necessary to create this functionality, if you’re currently resizing your content for physical layout, mobile and traditional devices, how much time is that taking you?