Brand marketers cannot afford to be passive in their online marketing efforts in today’s search culture. One of the most important aspects of today’s online marketing is in the search engine results page (SERP). Google Sitelinks are arguably the best feature to come to the search engine results page (SERP) for brands in the past 5 years. The evolution and growth of Sitelinks has been especially interesting for brand marketers to watch, and the latest changes to Sitelinks offers a very real chance for your brand to directly benefit in a big way.
We cheered when they first appeared and for the most part cheered louder and louder up through where we stand today. The cheering came mostly out of the excitement stemming from being able to affect brand search results to some degree. The latest changes have given brands the gift of dominating the SERP for searches on their brand name.
Google rolled out an update, on August 16th, to the layout of Sitelinks as they appear within SERPs. These changes include:
Whilst going through my bleary eyed morning ritual of checking Facebook, Twitter and now Google+ streams, yes I’m becoming addicted; I was greeted by an interesting post from Mashable’s Pete Cashmore stating that Google+ Business/Brand accounts are coming soon! Hurrah! In the marketing team at iCrossing this is something that we have been discussing since day one of G+. As a marketing manager I want to know when these are launching, what they will look like, what the potential for my brand is, how can Google+ fit in with our current marketing strategy and what changes we could make to truly maximise the potential. Have these questions finally been answered?
In a word, no.
There is still no word on when the service is likely to launch, what it will look like, how brands can register their brand account and features of these accounts. However, Mashable has pulled together a very interesting article highlighting the ultimate wish list of social media managers.
I’ve summarised the main features requested below.
- Revamped Circles: similar to private and public Twitter lists Google+ circles created by that brand should be shown on their profile, recognising community members and subsequently increasing brand visibility and credibility. Baochi Nguyen, community manager at Boingo Wireless also states that she sees circles having a ‘brand-to-customer live chat interface’ possibly adding a whole new level to social customer service – definitely one to think about for all brand and community managers.
Craig Menzies recently joined us as Head of User Experience / Digital Strategist. As an ex-Forrester employee Craig brings with him a wealth of experience and we’re thrilled to have him on board! We asked Craig a few questions about his new role and what is exciting him in the world of customer experience..
1. What attracted you to this role?
The most exciting thing about my new role is the opportunity to combine in a real-world setting the two things I love best in digital: customer experience and digital strategy. What’s really interesting – and also a massive challenge – is to stay grounded by working closely with clients on all their user experience research work. I’ve always thought user and customer experience was a strategic undertaking (not a tactical one), and now I get to prove it. Oh, and working 100 metres from the beach in Brighton isn’t so bad either.
2. What will your responsibilities be in your new job?
I am currently responsible for all aspects of customer-centric strategy and delivery of user experience projects for iCrossing UK. I also act as an internal champion for good customer experience principles, and actively advocate internally for all of our clients. I will be responsible for working with new and existing clients both in the UK and internationally to help them to understand their customers’ real needs and requirements, across the whole spectrum of user experience methods and approaches.
3. What project are you most proud of in your previous job and why?
Some of Britain’s top fashion bloggers were engaged in a public Twitter debate on Sunday (7th August, 2011) over a new website which allows high profile bloggers to shop for clothes for free.
Bloggerswardrobe.com has been developed by Studio Total, a Swedish marketing and advertising collective, which describes the portal as:
“a place where our chosen brands present their best products in what looks like an ordinary webshop. The difference is that at this webshop, only the top bloggers in the world get to shop. AND that the shop is totally free.”
The site, which ‘opens’ in September, also states that the bloggers involved will be offered “coaching and invitations to parties”, and will help brands reach out to their target groups.
“Bloggers Wardrobe will guarantee the bloggers [sic] integrity, and let them express themselfes [sic] like independent journalists. Finally, Bloggers Wardrobe will be the most powerfull [sic] network of fashion bloggers, helping the participators to a lot of traffic.”
Last week SEOMoz announced the release of Open Site Explorer Version 3, the newest upgrade to their popular link analysis tool. Along with a facelift, it’s been given a host of new features. From highly visible social metrics to advanced filtering and grouping options, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. Here are just five things you should know about OSE’s new functionality.
1. Social metrics in focus
This is perhaps the most hyped of all the new features. We’ve all heard that social signals are the new thing in SEO, which is why the new Open Site Explorer places these metrics front-and-centre.
They’re also present in the Top Pages tab and the new Compare Link Metrics tab, which itself is a great addition.
Providing a neat side-by-side comparison of up to five URLs on a page, subdomain and root domain level, the Compare Link Metrics tab is a fantastic way to quickly identify any relative shortcomings in your link profile. The inclusion of social signals here is yet more proof they should be taken seriously as ranking factors.
Last week I attended an event hosted by an online retailer. I’d won my tickets through a competition, so wasn’t invited in my capacity as a blogger. However, being the slight obsessive that I am, I couldn’t leave my journalist/marketing hat at the door and spent the evening pondering ways in which the benefits and assets from such an offline event could be taken online in order to increase brand reach and secure links.
The event was well organised and enjoyable – let down only slightly by structurally unsound canapés – with guests offered a chance to preview pieces from new season collections, watch style presentations hosted by a select team of industry experts and afterwards receive one-on-one advice.
However, whilst walking home with my goody bag, I found it difficult to pinpoint the organisers’ objectives and couldn’t help thinking that the activity had come to a premature end. The journalist in me wanted to do something with the experience and information, and the marketer wanted to encourage others to do so too.
User Generated Content
The more opportunities you provide for the creation of UGC at a real-life event, the more reasons your guests have to take that earned goodwill online, increasingly the likelihood of attracting brand mentions and links.
At the event in question, guests were incentivised to leave reviews of the new season pieces at the event in return for a free gift – a nice way of populating new content areas on the client’s site – and a photographer also snapped away for Facebook. However, neither of these activities really encouraged guests to interact with the brand online.
With a makeup artist, stylist and photographer on hand, the professional shots of mini makeovers posted on the brand’s Facebook page could have provided incentive for guests to tag themselves and use the images in blog posts and other social channels. Everybody loves a good profile pic…
This article is an update / reminder on the topic following the recent introduction of the law in Ireland.
What’s happened / what’s changed
In 2009 the EU e-Privacy Directive was issued, one part of which required all the member states of the EU to create a law to limit the files that a website could install on a user’s computer without their express permission.
The majority of files this affected are ‘cookies’ – small text files that are used to store small pieces of information. This information can be used for such purposes as storing preferences or tracking browsing history.
As predicted by the rumor mill buzzing around earlier this week Facebook and Skype have joined forces to offer a free video calling service direct from the world’s leading social network.
Rolling out internationally in the next few weeks, the Skype collaboration which has been in development for the last six months, is direct competition to one of the most highly favoured USPs in Google’s launch into the social networking arena, Google+. Google’s offering of Hangouts offers free video conferencing for up to 10 people, Facebook and Skype offers the same free service, in browser also for ease of user experience – so what’s different? Facebook already has the magical 750m user milestone, offering a service like this makes the site even stickier for users, giving them even less incentive to make the leap, friends and all, to another network. Advantage over.
As we’ve always said, the proof will be in the pudding. Will there be a public exodus from Facebook to the way of Google+? Gut feeling at this time is that Facebook is still looking pretty stable and with even more developments like this in the wings why would you move?
What’s the Google+ retort going to be?
Facebook announced over the weekend that they would be holding an event at Facebook’s Seattle base for press saying nothing more than ‘Please join us for an event at Facebook’, as reported by Techcrunch.
After rumours of a new Facebook product circulating last week the two must be associated and more than likely, if the rumour mills are to be believed, Facebook will announce their partnership with Skype for a new chat feature – take that Hangouts!
Industry mumblings are highlighting functional benefits of a desktop component for an in browser experience for maximised user experience. As mentioned by Techcrunch – with 750m active Facebook users and 170m Skype users, the collaboration between the two is likely to make Facebook an even stickier option for users.
We continue to watch with bated breath…
Google + has recently been launched in an attempt (so it seems) to declare war on Facebook.
If you use Google, you already have your mail, calendar, documents and photos together. Google Plus adds to this and is essentially the potential replacement for Facebook in the sense of sharing.
So what does this mean for display?
First off when you set up your account you are given the option to opt out of targeted advertising. This would suggest that Google foresee the “Plus” platform as an opportunity for the search giant to deliver targeted display advertising to users.
What will also be interesting is how this incorporates the display acquisitions of AdMeld, Invite Media and DoubleClick. Potentially they will use these platforms to deliver more scale to their “Plus” platform. The use of +1 essentially shows that people are interested in recommending things they like; this kind of environment is possibly more welcoming to targeted display advertising.
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- The Content Lab
Other Blogs We Recommend
- Core Audience
- Forrester Blogs
- Google Plus Blog
- iMedia Connection
- Media Monkey
- Mobile, Social, Ambient by Rachel Pasqua
- Online Marketing Blog by Tristán Elósegui
- Search Engine Land
- The Content Lab
- The Facebook Blog
- The Official Google Blog
- Twitter Blog
- Wired Sussex
- WSJ Digits