Archive for the ‘Site Reference’ Category

Article Writing: Why Quality Trumps Quantity

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 |

Article writing is the single most effective tactic for driving traffic to any website. Unfortunately, there are too many webmasters out there that place a greater importance on quantity than on quality. For every webmaster out there that focuses on writing quality content, there are at least a few who simply do keyword research and pump out as much content as possible to hit those keywords.

In the earlier days of Google, this was an effective strategy. However, things have changed and it is now more effective to spend time writing a few quality articles than it is to build a content farm out of mediocre articles. Low quality articles litter the internet, frustrate visitors and make the lives of legitimate website owners that much more difficult.

High quality articles are not written with the sole intention of hitting keywords. High quality articles are written with the reader in mind first. The best articles are those that are unique, well-written and backed by research. Visitors to your website can tell instantly whether or not the content is worth spending the time to read.

Here are four reasons why quality trumps quantity in the realm of article writing:

Quality Articles Provide Value to the Reader

By “value,” I’m referring to articles that readers find useful, interesting, entertaining or though-provoking. These articles reward website visitors for spending the time to read what you’ve written. This generates good will among your visitors and encourages repeat website visits. Every visitor that bookmarks your website is one less visitor that you have to earn through Google.

High quality articles also generate more natural links to your website. When people stumble upon well-written content, they are more likely to share that content with other people. This generates links on social media sites such as Facebook and on third party websites. Those links bring more direct traffic and help your site rank higher in search engines.

Let’s look at an example:

A 500 word article on the topic of wireless internet is way too short to fully explore such a wide-open subject. There’s nothing inherently wrong with short articles, but a 500 word article on “wireless internet” is highly unlikely to provide any real value to the reader. A better approach would be to drill down to a more specific topic and then thoroughly cover that topic.

Quality Articles Generate Trust

If you consistently provide your readers with useful information, your readers will come to trust you. Not only does this trust earn repeat visitors and more backlinks, but it also makes your readers more likely to listen to your recommendations. People who trust you are more likely to buy your products and click on your affiliate links.

But remember: trust is not earned in a day. Trust is earned over time by posting high quality articles again and again. No matter how many articles you publish every day, it takes time to develop a relationship with your visitors. That is why it is so important for you to always write high quality articles, even if it means a slower rate of production.

Quality Articles Last Longer

High quality articles last longer because they remain useful to your readers. A thorough “how-to” guide of some sort can last for years if the subject remains relevant. Once again, these articles encourage repeat visits to your website.

As an added bonus, high quality articles stick around longer in search engine results. When people share high quality articles over a long course of time, those articles slowly generate new links and maintain high rankings in search engines. Low quality articles eventually fall off the top page of Google and collect dust in the vast archives of the internet.

Google No Longer Rewards Content Farms

Google has actively stepped up its efforts to weed out obvious content farms from its search engine results. The recent Panda update was designed specifically for this reason. Google has always stated that its goal is to provide the most relevant and high quality search results possible for its users. Websites that simply pump out low quality content all day long do not provide searchers with the information they want.

The Panda update goes to show how important quality content is. Hate ‘em or love ‘em, you have to admit Google has a good handle on what kind of search results people like to see. If Google places greater importance on quality than on quantity, you can bet the people that use Google do as well. Besides, common sense tells us that people would rather find a few snippets useful information than a truck load of filler text.

by James Wilson

The Power of Infographics for Link Building

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 |

Infographics are widely used today and you cannot open a newspaper, turn on a news channel or drive for long without bumping into one.  Infographics are used widely online by media savvy businesses looking to build their brand identity and also because they are able to transfer a great deal of information using a graphic – they are much, much more than a simple picture.

We created Infographics Showcase a year ago to help with our clients’ link building and branding needs and it has been a wonderful tool for us. It has also lead to some infographic design work which has been a nice source of income for Big Oak Studios.

The format for an infographic is varied, but there are some common themes; they are very relevant plus how they render up the information to the user is easy to understand plus there is an added bonus of playing to a humorous aspect of the information or context.

Infographics are also widely shared – instead of people sharing a news article or blog post, it is simpler to share the infographic.  The propensity to be shared is what makes an infographic such an excellent tool for SEO – not only are they highly relevant and easy to understand, but they create a lot of links by being shared or adopted by other users.

Infographics lend themselves to almost any situation; if you have even the most convoluted business model or idea, you can convey the fundamental features and benefits effectively using an infographic.  An online storage company, Mozy.com, had a problem in getting people to understand how much data storage was provided by a petabyte.  Many users are familiar with a gigabyte, but they do this by equating what a gigabit of data actually represents – for those downloading video, a gigabyte is a couple of episodes of a favorite TV show, or 300 to 350 songs on an iPod.  The problem is consumers don’t have a conception of a terabyte (1024 GB), and the idea of a petabyte (1024 TB) is beyond any day-to-day equative understanding.  How much data is represented by a petabyte falls into focus when you are told that it equals the information stored in 20 million 4-drawer filing cabinets though.

Infographics do take a lot of time to design because the different strands of information need to be drawn together.  The designer needs to have a good view of the “big picture” and be able to handle large amounts of information as well as understand how the target audience is looking at the world.  Companies using infographics tend to start off with small examples and work up from there; there is a degree of trial and error to find the right format, the right level of information to pitch at readers and the overall impact and feedback they generate for the business.  You should not lose sight of the fact you are using an infographic for a specific set of business reasons – link backs, sharing of information, delivering relevant information to increase consumer awareness of you and your products/services or indeed, sales conversions.

Touching on the link backs for SEO purposes; if you create an infographic then you should be credited as the owner of the work.  This means including your copyright mark (© 2010) and the link to your own website together with the small print stating the infographic can be shared but with attribution.  This is also a good time to look at whether you have a company logo or not, because you should be aligning your brand identity with the infographic.

7 Steps to Making a Great Landing Page for PPC

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 |

Good Landing PagesLanding pages are heavily used to attract customers to where you want them on your website: the sales payment page being the ultimate objective for most ebusinesses.  Like everything else in life, there are right ways to go about creating a landing page and a million wrong ways.  Creating a good landing page is vital because this is what many first time users are going to see of your web presence, and you cannot afford for it to be the last they see of you!

Here is our simple, 7 –step program to creating a landing page which works:

Step One: Identify the USP

Every business and product will have a USP – Unique Selling Point.  Your USP may be you are the cheapest company in your zip code for your product or service, provide the tastiest food, the coldest beer, the fastest, the cleanest, the loudest, the closest, the “whatever” you do which sets you apart from the rest of the competition.

A USP will usually be combined in your primary headline, but it may be relegated to a secondary headline where you already have a short and sweet headline.  A good example is this one from Amazon:

“Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”

Step Two: Briefly Outline Benefits

Your USP headline attracts attention, but now you have to satisfy the customer’s initial curiosity.  You should have ONE paragraph, using BULLET POINTS to answer this question from your customer, “Why do I care this product or service?”

You are outlining benefits here – what will this product do for your customer.  For example:

  • We are the cheapest which means you save money – GUARANTEED!
  • You get the best quality – GUARANTEED!
  • We deliver next day nationwide which means you don’t have to wait – GUARANTEED!

Go back and edit this paragraph continuously until you have just bare bones, so taking line one:

  • We’re the cheapest so you save money – GUARANTEED!

Step Three: Use a Picture

This is known as the “Hero Shot”; think the cowboy in the Marlboro ads or the hunk in an aftershave campaign or the smiling couples for Viagra commercials.  They show the product in use, giving context which either forms an empathetic connection with the customer or appeals to their aspirations.

Typically, the hero shot will be a photo, but it can also be diagram showing where the product fits into an existing problem which is typically experienced by your target market readership, or it may be a chart showing where you rank with the competition (top!) or a simple graphic selling a number, e.g.” 50% OFF!”

Step Four: Set the Context of Use

Context of use is important, and this is closely related to step 3 and the Hero Shot.  Context of use provides the user with “real life” application; for instance, if you are selling a beverage, show it being drunk – if its beer, show it being drunk in a bar; if it’s champagne, show it being drunk on a yacht on a blue sea.

Obviously photographic imagery and video are excellent for doing this, but you can also invoke context of use by displaying a client list or by using testimonials.

Step Five: Get the Customer’s Information

Ask for the user’s email and/or contact information – this is extremely important for all landing pages, but it is especially vital for landing pages selling to other businesses (B2B).  In this instance, a landing page’s primary objective will probably be lead generation and unless you gain the contact information, you fail!

The best way to get contact information is to ask for it, typically providing some freebie or promotional pricing for a limited period.  Use a privacy statement too – this enhances your professionalism.

Step Six: Provide a 2nd Chance Safety Net

Not every visitor will turn into a converted lead or sale and you will experience a substantial number of users who are interested in you but not ready to buy now.  Provide them with a second chance to do business with you, known as a safety net, and this can take many different forms:

  • Add a button for the user to subscribe to your Facebook profile, Twitter feed or other social media presence you maintain;
  • Offer to email a reminder;
  • Offer a freebie download such as a whitepaper; or
  • Bookmark the page.

Step Seven: The Call to Action

This is the ultimate purpose of the landing page – the final act you want the user to perform and at some point you have to ask them to do it.  The call to action may be to buy your product, it may be to complete a survey, to navigate through to a sales page, to pick up a phone and call your sales team, to add themselves to your email bulletin…whatever it is that you want the user to do before they leave the landing page.

Examples include:

Meet the World’s Best Browser” and immediately below is the download box for the Firefox browser

Things Mac” placed immediately above a download box and a “Purchase: Buy things Mac now” box

NCover helps .NET teams all around the world deploy applications with fewer bugs” and placed below is a download box with an offer in it, “Download NCover – 21-Day Free Trial

What Makes a Good SEO Client

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 |

good-seo-client

What Makes a Good SEO Client?

This is the flip side of the question many clients have to answer, “What makes a good SEO company to do business with?”, however; successful implementation of any SEO strategy is based on a partnership between SEO Company and client.  Not only do you need a good SEO consultant but also a good SEO client, so what qualities should you see in such a good SEO client?

Trust in the SEO Company and their SEO Advice

Clients who have embarked on an ecommerce strategy have already recognized the potential of the web for their business.  There is much that is different from the real world, however some basic precepts are the same no matter who you are or what you are doing.  Trust is one of them, and after selecting an SEO partner the client must be able to trust what the SEO practitioner is advising and helping the client to implement for their web strategy.

Availability and Responsiveness

A good SEO client is responsive to requests and performs their part in maintaining good lines of open communication, not only between the principal or senior management, but also the webmaster or whoever is responsible for implementing content and coding changes on the website.

Being available by email or telephone is symptomatic of a good partnership, which is essential when changes need to be made quickly to react to the web developments and search engine algorithm changes.

Questioning and Understanding

A good SEO client values the experience and expertise a good SEO practitioner brings to the business mix, however it is important the client is able to understand what is happening.  This means asking questions and seeking clarification of the SEO strategies being propounded and implemented.  The adage that the only stupid question is the one that doesn’t get asked certainly applies here!

The SEO Partnership

Developing and implementing a successful SEO strategy requires that a good partnership develops between client and practitioner.  The client understands their business and the business environment they operate in far better than the SEO practitioner will do, and the SEO strategy needs to be closely tailored to suit the client’s business.  Strong interaction between client and practitioner is needed, especially when it comes to developing and adding content, ensuring relevant updates and information is provided and who to seek links from.

Payment

The advice people tend to follow most is the advice that they pay for!  The same is true for SEO, and SEO consultants rely on a steady stream of happy clients paying their bills.  This may seem like an obvious statement, but a good SEO client is one who understands what they are buying and is happy to write the check for the SEO Company’s invoice each month.

SEO is a Reiterative Process: Look at the Results

SEO is a process rather than a project: it requires a continuous review of the results to see what the impact of SEO strategies is, but also a thorough analysis of how the results are achieved.  It is not simply the rankings which need to be reviewed and monitored, but where the traffic is coming from, user behavior when on the site, monitoring site navigation and engaging in relevant site testing in order to understand what is working well in persuading a visitor to convert to a paying customer.

What makes a good SEO client is a client who appreciates the holistic nature of SEO work and the skills and experience of the practitioner.  A good SEO client will contribute enormously to the success of the web strategies advised by the SEO practitioner, in fact, it is unlikely there will be much success without a good SEO client.

Should I Do Business on Facebook?

Monday, May 24th, 2010 |

Is Facebook Good for Business

This is a question I get on a consistent basis and while the answer is often the same, there are some things to consider before making your final decision. Can you do business on Facebook?  Should you be “on” Facebook?  Is Facebook good for my business? The answer is yes and no.

The reason is that Facebook is being viewed as something “new” when in fact, basic business principles should be used to ascertain whether the application can be used to further business objectives or not.  Once we start applying basic business concepts, it quickly becomes apparent whether Facebook is a suitable investment of resources or whether it is a waste of time.  Which it will be is going to depend on your individual business objectives and how well you use the tools around you, in this case Facebook.

First of all, understand what Facebook is – it is not a business tool per se, it is an online social network.  Be clear about this, the primary word here is “social” – bringing your business into these networks is like a car salesman gatecrashing a party with the deal of the day.  Online social networks allow individuals to share information and keep themselves abreast of developments within their social circle, which may be a social circle dedicated purely to family and friends, or may be a circle of contacts which have a common interest or may be a network of business and professional connections.  Primarily, Facebook is a social rather than a business networking tool (for a business online social network look at LinkedIn), and as a business active on the social networks you need to act carefully in order to not upset the indigenous users.

To answer whether Facebook is good for your business, ask yourself whether there are target audiences and interest groups which will help you acquire business?  You may be looking at acquiring business directly by selling to Facebook users themselves, or indirectly, by raising your brand awareness or using the network to provide market feedback on you and your products.  If the answer is yes you can achieve your business objectives of sales, marketing, consumer testing or whatever you have stipulated, then the answer to the original question is still not complete because Facebook is not the only tool available.

There are more online social networking sites than just Facebook; how does Facebook compare to other sites and should you be concentrating on just one site or spreading your efforts across multiple networking sites?

Facebook dominates demographics in the older age ranges, from the early-twenties upwards, and has assumed a dominant role in the amount of time surfers are spending on the internet.  In this regard, Facebook dominates the social networking scene with only comparable competition emanating from MySpace.  MySpace is geared towards the younger age range and has greater emphasis on social media channels such as video, music and has a more pop culture outlook. Facebook is more about sharing life events, photographs, maintaining contact with family members of all age ranges, friends and for reconnecting with lost contacts.  Business circles and connections do exist and are quite popular but Facebook is not primarily established for this and this can lead to some very damaging Facebook mistakes.  For purely professional and business networking, LinkedIn is the leader in this field though the membership numbers are significantly lower than the social networking sites.

To summarize, the real questions which need to be asked are:

  1. Are my business objectives served or satisfied by using online social networks?
  2. Which specific network will best serve my specific objective?

If you can answer “Yes” to the first question and “Facebook” to the second, then it is obvious that Facebook can help your business.  The issue will then become how you do this in practice, but that is a topic for another article. And while the answer for businesses to be on Facebook is usually no, there are instances where Facebook can help, but your time commitment and social commitment will need to be consistent and creative. So, now do you think you should do business on Facebook?

Online Reputation Management Advice

Monday, May 10th, 2010 |

Getting GoogledGood news travels fast; bad news travels faster. Recent spurt in cases of rampant, and sometimes baseless, negative online publicity has affected brand image of many companies. In 2005, a single post by a blogger criticizing Dell’s support services pulled down the company’s reputation by a couple of notches. The corporate world is waking up to the necessity of playing an active role in online reputation management.

Online Reputation Management involves not only analyzing all that is being written about your brand online but also repairing any damage found and constructing a positive image. A successful ORM campaign should involve public relations and search engine marketing. You have to ensure that good things are being said about you on various websites and these websites get top search engine rankings.

How to monitor/track your online reputation

Regular monitoring of online media will help you keep tabs on your public perception. It will also alert you in cases of copyright violations, competitor smear campaigns, domain squatting, etc.

There are many online tools you can use to keep one step ahead and take immediate action. Google Alerts is the most popular monitoring tools that will track and inform you if your brand name comes up in news, feeds, videos, blogs and web results. There are blog-specific search tools like Technorati and Feedster. Twitter Search and Social Mention can also help you catch the buzz about you in social networking sites.

How to repair your online reputation

With the growth of user-generated media like blogs, Tweets and Yelps, the chances of creating negative publicity have also increased. The first step towards tackling negative comments is to create your real presence in popular consumer-generated websites.  Responding to your critics on these sites will build trust around your brand. In cases of inaccurate projections, you can request the comment authors to pull down their posts by giving substantial evidence.

Press releases can be posted on popular press release submission sites. Expert articles pertaining to your industry can be submitted to reputed sites with back-link to your website.

You can also buy domains with your brand name (for example if your company is called blush, blush.com, blush.net or blushsucks.com are some domain names you can book) to prevent people with malicious intent misusing them against you.

Not to keep picking on Dell (I’m using a Dell computer right now), but here is a negative site that could have been snagged to prevent bad publicity: http://www.ihatedell.net/.

Sometimes, repair can be a long-drawn exhaustive process. Companies often use search engine optimization techniques to push down negative websites and increase the visibility of websites with positive content.

How to improve your online reputation

An important step in improving online reputation is creation of positive sentiments through various content platforms. This means you have to fully use your online assets. Start by optimizing your corporate website so that it gets top search engine rankings.

Leverage your relationship with your partners to include information about your company on their websites. Set up and maintain blogs that highlight your products, customer testimonials, services and company-related news. This idea involves grabbing as many of the search engine results as possible on the first page of search results. Using high ranking partners will help tremendously.

A proactive online reputation management initiative goes a long way in helping people and companies. It’s one of the best tools to gather useful feedback from customers. In cases of complaints, it gives companies a chance to take early action and prevents build up of a sudden crisis. Above all, what makes ORM a critical business strategy is the role it can play to influence a rapidly growing force called the online media.

Getting Informed About the Infographic

Monday, April 19th, 2010 |

Infographics, or information graphics, have been around for as long as man has been able to draw. The earliest cave paintings are a form of infographic as they pictorially depict the life and activities of our very distant ancestors. Thousands of years later, we still readily understand them.  The infographic underwent significant development in the 20th Century and an infographic, rather than written or spoken language, has been used in our first communication effort with extraterrestrials!

Infographics are widely used in our society, in mathematics, mapmaking, signage, news media, education, travel, medicine, politics and even religion.  No aspect of our lives is untouched by the application of infographics.

So why are they so popular?

Infographics convey knowledge and advice, even mandatory orders, in a form which the human brain readily recognizes and associates with the information behind the representation. This is known as visualization.

Before man learned to read and write, he drew. Modern written language is itself derived from the development of drawings which became standardized into symbols and in turn, into recognizable letters and numerals we now recognize.  Hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt are a good example of an intermediate written language which revolves around symbology and formed the basis for the development of vowels and consonants.

Graphical representation renders itself far more accessible and understandable by people; whether they understand the language of the designer or not.  The reason why people accept so much information via infographics compared to text is explained by how our brains have formed over time.  During man’s early development, we were not equipped with language, never mind the ability to read and write.  Man primarily looked at the world around him, his eyes being the primary sense with smell, sound, touch and taste running distant also rans.  Visuals are how our brains are “hard wired” to “read” as our default operating system – what we can visualize is our primary mechanism for taking in information as a consequence.  A baby must learn to speak, must be taught to read and write but, they have no issue in drawing as soon as they can hold a crayon.

As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words, which is why, possibly, the most important infographic is currently aboard the Pioneer 10 spacecraft.  Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972 and is currently journeying through outer space – the first vessel to leave the solar system.  It contains the Pioneer Plaque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_plaque); a pictorial representation of humankind, our planet and solar system and where we are located.  This is a powerful testament to the universal understanding provided by infographics which are not restricted by language barriers.

Visual language is universal for those who can see; imagine your car journey without graphical road signs for instance.  Graphical images can be very quickly assimilated by the human brain, and render a meaning which is clear without the need to read text.  In part, modern infographics are so readily understandable because we have become educated by the basic grammar of visual language.  We know, for instance, that a bar running through a left-pointing arrow means, “Don’t turn left” for instance. Possibly the most important development in road signs has been the stick figure drawings that represent people (originating from the Munich Olympics in 1972).

Newspapers have probably done more to lay the basis for our understanding and appreciation of infographics than any other medium.  In the 1970’s, British newspapers started to develop a series of charts and graphical representations to convey information in an understandable format to readers.  This was rapidly picked up by USA Today when it launched in 1982, and spread to other mainstream media publications such as Time magazine.

Infographics have not been without their critics.  Newspaper critics and traditionalists deride the “chart junk” which populates papers and the media.  They argue that infographics demean the information being conveyed.  At the same time, the idea that infographics are artistic has also received derisory comments from the art world.  The idea that an infographic is where “art meets science”, is not widely accepted in the journalistic or art world, but nevertheless, the reading public clearly appreciates the graphical, and sometimes comical, representation of information.

What of the future?  A notable exception to the long list of infographic applications is in television.  Television has only recently embraced the notion of the infographic for transmission of frequently complex and large volumes of data in a visual fashion.  Perhaps this is because television itself is a visual medium relaying information in real-time, i.e. without the need for a fast data burst to our brains.  This does lead to the question – how much more powerful could a televised infographic be in relaying information to people? The televisual infographic is under development at this time, but how successful they will be we shall have to discover for ourselves as they start being broadcast on our screens.”

Sources

Three Hidden Gems for Marketing Your Business Socially

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 |

Small businesses are seizing online social media as part of their efforts to establish a niche and engage a wider prospective customer base.

Social media is not a fad – it is here to stay.

The issue is how to gatecrash someone else’s party with a commercial message that doesn’t get you thrown out of the door as soon as you walk in!

This is the conundrum which established, mainstream social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace are trying to address as they seek to monetize all those surfer eyeballs spending minutes, hours and days on the internet.  While this may seem like someone else’s problem, it is in fact every business’ problem – how to engage potential customers as part of their recreational time online.

It is important for businesses to understand that while Facebook, Digg, Reddit, LinkedIn and the rest of the big players in social media, may be grabbing the headlines with multi-million dollar valuations and financing, they are not the only party on the block.

So let’s take a look at three sites you may not have heard of, but they are bubbling under the top division in the social media league.

Kirtsy

Kirtsy (kirtsy.com) caters primarily to women and it’s a good social media site for businesses looking to attract women as their prospective customers.

The site is primarily user-content driven with a substantial amount of third party content added by the users themselves for comment, education and simple fun.  Kirtsy focuses on female friendly topics and issues, but they do include forums and self-help groups for dealing with more than just relationships and the site lends itself to infiltration by businesses with something positive and constructive to say on issues such as technology, especially if it addresses a female experience with the issue.

Kirtsy is well laid out, simple to use and makes it easy to register – it stands out because of its focus on women.

Small Business Brief

Small Business Brief (smallbusinessbrief.com) is a good example of how to develop a blog into a social media site – Small Business Brief is primarily a blog, with content centering upon small business issues, however, it has developed beyond a blogger writing posts.

The site/blog stands out because of the quality of the posts and information which is included – it is obviously written well and by people who really do know what they are talking about based upon experience.  What makes SBB stand out though is the opportunity for users, eg. your business, to interact with solution provision.  If you do have a genuine B2B solution, then SBB has a platform for you to hold forth.  If you are a B2C company, you have a community of tens of thousands of small and medium sized business owners for you to tap into, to bolster your own knowledge and experience base.

SBB has some way to go in getting its format better developed, but it certainly shows how powerful even a simple platform can become in the social media niche.

NowPublic

NowPublic (nowpublic.com) is a social media platform powered by citizen journalists who either write, or more usually, share existing content with the rest of the site community.  News items are voted up or down, depending on popularity pretty much the same way as we see on Digg or Reddit.

NowPublic stands out because of the diversity of issues which are covered – there is a well organized format which effectively replicates the content of a serious newspaper, and there is a very active community of users and a vocal commentary on stories of consequence.

Consider NowPublic to be an evolution of Digg and Reddit, with a greater degree of organization, much more user-friendly and a very lively community which is not primarily made up of internet nerds, but Joe Public with a passion for issues.

Of course there are dozens of other great niche social sites that can help your business, but the key is finding one that you enjoy and are passionate about. Better to be heavily involved in one social media site than a lurker in many. Who knows, one day you may find you are using social media for more than just promoting your business, you’ll also use it to promote yourself.

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Optimization of Search Engine Results in Bing

Thursday, June 11th, 2009 |

I’ve played around with Bing over the last few days to see what it offers. Most of my evaluation has been of the results page from the user’s point of view.

  • Are the results I’m getting relevant?
  • How would I use the tools on the left side (“refined” results, Related Searches, Search History, etc)?
  • How would I pick which result to click on?

As an SEO company, we know it’s important that the client’s site ranks well and that search engine users click through (more traffic + more sales = more revenue which makes our clients happy). Users only have a few pieces of information to help them decide what site to visit when they’re looking at a results page: the title (that is also the link to the page), a short description, and the URL of the page.

From what I’ve seen of the results in Bing so far, it looks like the results page is pulling the title tag and meta description, which is pretty standard. However, they’ve added a little something extra to help users decide if this is the site they want before they click. When you hover over a search result, a horizontal line with an orange dot appears on the right. Mouse over the dot and a Preview window opens. In that Preview there is copy from the page, maybe a phone number and/or email address for the site, and sometimes even 5 deep links. So where is this information coming from?

It looks as if Bing is pulling the first content on the page and the first links. This isn’t so great if you’ve put a tag line at the top or Global navigation above your more-customer friendly links. Here I did a search for “diamond engagement rings” and found MySolitaire as the #3 result. The Preview included the first content on the page (double bonus, it also contained the terms “diamond”, “engagement”, and “rings”) and the first links.

diamond-header-page

But wait, there’s more to it. A search on “Lucero CDs” gives us Amazon as the #7 result. But its Preview copy is not what appears at the top of the page (and the code). Instead, the Preview pulls information father down; it is actually a customer review.

amazon-results

In this case it looks like Bing is pulling the first “unique” content on the page since many of Amazon’s pages share the same information at the top.  And the content it pulled did not contain “Lucero” or “CDs”.  In a few other results for different searches, it seems they are pulling content near the top but not what I would’ve guessed. So it seems like  Bing is looking for copy that:

  • Is near the top of the page
  • Is unique
  • Has the keywords in it (which is like when there is no meta description and the SE pulls content from the page, that includes the keywords, for the description of the listing on the results page)

Bing is so new that I’m not suggesting your run out and change the key pages of your website to maximize what could be in the Preview window. But, if you are thinking about site optimization for Bing’s result, you might want to consider what content and links are at the top of your page and the copy around your prominent keywords for the page.

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at contact@bigoakinc.com or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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