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Apr. 30, 2012 | by Danny Chadburn No such thing as a random satsuma

The brightonSEO conference earlier this month came and went with a flurry of insight and opinion, and a hadouken.

Those returning after a classic sun-drenched Brighton lunch hour were treated to a presentation from iCrossing’s very own Charlie Peverett. He told a tale of innocence, how he spent his days as an editor blissfully oblivious to the intricacies of SEO. However, when the curtain was pulled back he peered into a murky world that revealed the true reason why nobody was reading his content

The presentation is now available to view in all its glory, where you’ll discover why ‘great content’ is more than just a check box on a SEO to do list (an issue discussed in greater depth in our latest ebook, How to Plan a Content Strategy).

If you pay attention you may spot a random satsuma.
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Apr. 24, 2012 | by Gregory Lyons Top 10 reasons why you need a solid mobile strategy in place

Mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets continue to grow in importance at a rapid pace. Below we’ve look at 10 statistics that show how quickly mobile is growing and why it’s important for you to have a solid mobile strategy in place right now.

1. 15% of UK search happens on a mobile device, 3 years ago that figure was down at 2%

In Nov 2011 15% of UK Christmas related search happened on a mobile device and this figure is growing rapidly. In countries with less developed network infrastructure that figure is even higher, for example in India 40% of search happens on a mobile device. If you don’t have mobile strategy in place you’re potentially missing out on 15% of the search market in the UK.

2. Mobile accounts for 10% of ecommerce

10% of visits to ecommerce websites now come from mobile devices. According to the IAB “marketers and retailers are losing hundreds of thousands of pounds by failing to grasp the opportunities presented by mobile devices.”

3. 48% of users start their search on a mobile device and finish on a desktop – Ipsos, March 2011

If you have no mobile strategy in place you are potentially losing out on half of your audience.

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Apr. 18, 2012 | by Jeremy Head Has the web killed travel brands?

I’m participating in an event next Wednesday which iCrossing is hosting in association with Travolution called When Travel Brands Fight Back. I felt it would be great to set the scene a little ahead of times and maybe even start the debate early!

So, what prompted us to choose this particular topic? Here’s a perspective on where the online travel sector is now and how we got there for big travel brands like legacy airlines and major tour operators. It’s intentionally simplified to make a point and, I hope, to catalyse the discussion.

Cutting costs, cutting service?
It starts about a decade ago when online purchasing technology really started to work. Suddenly websites could be much more than just a bit of window dressing. These technical advances offered huge opportunities for achieving economies of scale. You could now service lots of people at the same time – who needs telesales people or travel agents if a customer can query the booking database themselves and book their own flight or holiday? Cue big investment in web dev and cutting back on traditional customer service and sales channels like travel agents, brochures and telesales agents.

In the short term it probably worked – margins improved, the finance team were happy. But the technology wasn’t as good as it first appeared. (I often think we forget how maddeningly slow it was and how often it fell over in the early days.) From feeling like they were in control (and liking that feeling) customers began to sometimes feel powerless. And that made them really frustrated.

A customer service vacuum developed. The new technology promised more than it delivered – but when it went wrong, companies often weren’t well enough resourced to deal with the problems.
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Apr. 18, 2012 | by jo-ann.fortune Fashion bloggers: Dos and don’ts

iCrossing’s Fashion & Retail Editor Jo-ann Fortune talks to some of the UK’s top fashion bloggers about their experiences of working with brands.

Take some tips on how to, and how not to, go about working with fashion bloggers from the writers themselves:

Dos

The best brand collaborations involve working with individuals that respect the fact that blogging is a business – actually compensating bloggers for their time, blog space and the promotional value they give to brands.” Audrey Rogers www.befrassy.com

“One of the best brand collaborations I’ve been involved in was when I was asked to dress the windows of a well-known high fashion store on Bond Street. Seeing my name on the window felt like such amazing recognition.” Carrie Harwood www.wishwishwish.net

“I really enjoyed a high fashion brand’s window-dressing event in Milan last season, and this season’s Lomography follow-up, and loved working with another designer brand to create my dream piece – a biker jacket with a hoodie inside.” Kristin Knox www.theclotheswhisperer.co.uk

“The more relevant information I get and the greater access to the products I have, the better the content I can produce around it.” Laetitia Wajnapel www.mademoisellerobot.com

Don’ts

“Some agencies are woefully behind when it comes to blogger outreach. Anyone still sending those ‘dear blogger’ emails needs a refresher course!” Jen Holmes www.littlebirdfashion.com
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Apr. 17, 2012 | by kathleen.lyons How advertisers can profit from the Yahoo and Microsoft search alliance

For those of you that are not familiar with the Search Alliance, it is an initiative that Yahoo! and Microsoft are taking to create a competitive choice for both advertisers and users in the marketplace.

Essentially, paid search results on Yahoo! are now going to be powered by Microsoft.  This means that our current Yahoo! accounts will cease to exist once the transition is complete.  The accounts that we have set up in BING will supply the search results in Yahoo!

To prepare for this transition, I have created suggestions and tips on how to make sure you safe guard your accounts from experiencing negative effects from the search alliance.

Actions that need to be taken before and during the transition of your accounts:

  1. Advertisers should make sure that their clients know what the search alliance is. Make sure to communicate possible changes in the accounts before the transition occurs.
  2. Yahoo representatives will now be managing the BING Accounts.  If you do not have a BING account set up in adCenter, get this account established and open an IO with your Yahoo representative.  Make sure that you discuss any discounts that you previously had with BING.  You will not be receiving the same discount after the alliance and you will need to start a dialogue with your representatives about what changes you should expect.
  3. Have your Yahoo! representative perform a gap analysis between your Yahoo! and BING accounts and use this analysis to add keywords into your BING account. It might be good to mirror over your best performing Google accounts into MSN before the alliance so that you capture any traffic that could be lost.
  4. Think about the possibilities of beginning or re-engaging SEO efforts in MSN and Google to counter any negative effects on traffic and performance.
  5. As the transition occurs, increase your adCenter budgets.  Your Yahoo! and BING accounts will now be serving from one account, so you will need to allocate what you would be spending previously in Yahoo! and BING to your BING budgets.
  6. Download the new version of the Desktop tool (8.3)
  7. Continue to monitor your accounts for the changes that occur after the alliance and communicate the changes and trends that you are seeing to your account manager at Yahoo! and to your internal team.
  8. Use search query reports (found on the reports tab in the engine) before and after migration.
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Apr. 05, 2012 | by Allyson.James Facebook – the real coming of social search?

Last week it was reported that Facebook were angling to rival Google’s domination of the search market by creating a bespoke search engine. Rumours, fuelled by a blurry image of Mark Zuckerberg’s MacBook Pro screen showing an unfamiliar Facebook branded search box, flew around the internet. We even joked about ‘ZuckerSearch’ in our traditional April fools post, but was this the first glimpse of the much speculated and long-awaited Google killer?

The sensationalists amongst us may have jumped on this bandwagon; however the likelihood is that the team of Facebook engineers, headed by an ex-Google employee, is simply working on improving the fairly basic integrated search function that Facebook already offers.

With Facebook nearing 1 billion users, the service has long been awaiting an update that will allow users to easily navigate through shared media on the platform. Currently, although there are many ways of refining your search results, they can be counter-intuitive and do not fully utilise the wealth of personal and social information that is stored on the Facebook servers.

Indeed, we are now seeing a huge move towards social search – although the impact of Google’s “Search plus your world” is yet to be fully seen (and we have speculated that although initial uptake has been fast, Google+ engagement levels are low), the move away from semantic to social-signal led results seems to be on all search professional’s minds. If Facebook did have the same resource and experience that is available to Google then could a real competitor be on the cards?

In short, that is the problem. The years that have gone into the Google algorithm and its organic growth and change means that they of course have a head-start, and a very large one at that. While reports are that a team of 24 are to be working on Facebook search, the talent pool at Google is huge. Take a look at the video linked below for a sneak peak at one of the search quality team meetings:
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Apr. 05, 2012 | by Andrew Ball Google Chrome to become the world’s most popular browser

Google Chrome is set to overtake Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the world’s most popular browser in May, finally ending Microsoft’s dominance.

Sunday the 18th of March 2012 was an historic day in the browser wars, with Google Chrome finally overtaking Internet Explorer to take the top spot for the day in terms of global browser market share. Whilst this victory was short-lived, with Internet Explorer regaining its crown come Monday morning, it shows the impressive gains that Chrome has made since it was launched in December 2008.

The next question can only be: when will Chrome overtake IE for good?

Google Chrome users

Extrapolating the monthly market share for the two browsers shows that Google Chrome is set to continue its surge to permanently best Internet Explorer in May this year to become the world’s most popular browser.

But since Chrome will not overtake IE until the end of the month, we need to look deeper to see the point where Chrome has already passed IE.
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