Facebook (Finally) Acquires Atlas Advertising Suite From Microsoft


As long expected, Facebook today said that it has agreed to acquire Seattle-based Atlas Advertising from Microsoft for an undisclosed amount, in a move that demonstrates how serious the social media giant is getting about digital advertising.
In a statement, Facebook said that the purchase of Atlas, whose software enables marketers and agencies to place and manage digital advertising campaigns, will help companies better measure the ROI of their digital media spend. It said that using the Atlas platform in conjunction with Facebook partners Nielsen and Datalogix will help advertisers compare their Facebook campaigns to the rest of their ad spend across the web on desktop and mobile.
“If marketers and agencies can get a holistic view of campaign performance, they will be able to do a much better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time,” said Brian Boland, Facebook director of product marketing, in the statement.

Facebook also said it would invest in scaling Atlas’ back-end measurement system and enhancing advertiser tools for the desktop and mobile, as well as working to improve the user interface.

Microsoft has been looking to sell the Atlas advertising unit for some time, as a non-core part of its business. In a statement today, the company said that the deal would allow it to dedicate more of its resources to creating “beautiful and relevant” in-app ad experiences on Windows 8, Skype, Xbox/Kinect, Windows Phone, Bing, and MSN.

Andrew Bloom, SVP, strategic business development at DG, which offers an end-to-end advertising delivery network, said that the news is good for both the market and Facebook.

“We’re excited about any company being in a position to show the efficacy of advertising outside of the Google stack ad world,” he said. “Facebook is clearly a very important player but they still have a lot to prove in terms of showing the value and relevance of likes, shares and other forms of engagement.”

Although Facebook has said that the Atlas software will enable companies to measure the success of campaigns across all media, rather than just on Facebook, Bloom wondered if current Atlas customers might be concerned over Facebook’s objectivity as a third party in enabling them to measure ads across the entire Internet. “There still could be a need for a truly independent global entity to serve and measure ads,” he said. Facebook has said that Atlas clients should not see any change to the service they currently receive.

Calvin Lui, president and chief strategy officer at Unified, a cloud-based social operating platform, was also positive about the deal. He said that the combination of Atlas’ data, which is already used on thousands of third-party websites, with Facebook’s own data on users would help bring clarity to the digital advertising industry. “This is going to enable marketers to tie the dots more closely together,” he said.

This article was originally published on ClickZ.

Posted in SEO News

Raven Tools To Remove Scraped Data To Maintain Access to AdWords API


While there has been lots of talk about a Google crackdown on developer access to the AdWords API, there have been few details about what the disputed issues may be — and why they’re coming up now, with tools-makers like Raven and SEOmoz that have had access to the API for years.

Now, Raven Tools, which was warned about possibly having its API token revoked back in November, is opening up about what’s going on in its case, at least. The issue: Raven has long been using data scraped from search engine results pages (SERPs) to display ranking and keyword data for its customers.

While the company has been doing this for years, and says it’s successfully gone through two previous Google audits, the search engine giant is now choosing to enforce the anti-scraping provision in its AdWords API terms of service. Google has previously denied that it’s cracking down, or doing anything new other than continuing to enforce its terms of service.

Given Google’s new hard line, Raven has chosen to stop displaying the scraped data — SERPs rankings and keywords — within its tool set, in favor of keeping on good terms with Google, and retaining access to the AdWords API. Based on comments to its blog post, the reaction has been mixed, with some saying they understand the desire to stay on Google’s good side, while the majority of commenters complained that the scraped data is much more valuable than the AdWords API data.

While one of the appeals of Raven for marketers has been getting a lot of different types of data in one place, it seems Google’s stance — to remove AdWords API access from developers that are also scraping data — will likely prevent an all-in-one solution from existing.

Raven will be removing the SERP Tracker data as of January 3, and will allow customers to export their data until January 2.

Posted in Google Updates, SEO News, SEO Tips and Tricks

Local Search Listings: Most Relevant Search Results Regardless of Medium


Local search listings now act as a business’ online anchor identity pulling in important information like website URL, reviews, photos, coupons and hours of operation. These online listings tether all critical information consumers need about a business in order to make a purchasing decision.

According to the 2012 Localeze/15miles Local Search Usage Study, conducted by comScore, 61 percent of respondents said when searching for local business information, local search results are the most relevant, while 58 percent found them to be the most trustworthy when compared to natural search results, paid search results and paid results. Business listings are often viewed as trusted search results because they represent the place where multiple biases meet to give the searcher a 360-degree view of the business.

As for the full landscape of search results – previously, national advertisers dominated paid search results, some were brick and mortar, but some were not. So, consumers searching for local business information, where geography was a critical component, were conditioned not to find value with national ads because they weren’t finding businesses at a granular level. Instead, the closest national chain would appear in results whether it was 5 or 15 miles from home, often leaving a consumer frustrated because merchants who were closer were not at the top of results.

Search is much more specific today and business listings are the go-to for providing consumers with businesses in close proximity of where they live and work. The popularity of location-based apps and social networks make it even more important for search results to produce business listings based on a searcher’s location. And these listings must be accurate (e.g., the phone number is correct, the website is listed and any relevant user reviews are connected).

Posted in seo

21 Essential SEO Tips & Techniques


Businesses are growing more aware of the need to understand and implement at least the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). But if you read a variety of blogs and websites, you’ll quickly see that there’s a lot of uncertainty over what makes up “the basics.” Without access to high-level consulting and without a lot of experience knowing what SEO resources can be trusted, there’s also a lot of misinformation about SEO strategies and tactics.

1. Commit yourself to the process. SEO isn’t a one-time event. Search engine algorithms change regularly, so the tactics that worked last year may not work this year. SEO requires a long-term outlook and commitment.

2. Be patient. SEO isn’t about instant gratification. Results often take months to see, and this is especially true the smaller you are, and the newer you are to doing business online.

3. Ask a lot of questions when hiring an SEO company. It’s your job to know what kind of tactics the company uses. Ask for specifics. Ask if there are any risks involved. Then get online yourself and do your own research—about the company, about the tactics they discussed, and so forth.

4. Become a student of SEO. If you’re taking the do-it-yourself route, you’ll have to become a student of SEO and learn as much as you can. Luckily for you, there are plenty of great web resources (like Search Engine Land) and several terrific books you can read. (Yes, actual printed books!) See our What Is SEO page for a variety of articles, books and resources.

5. Have web analytics in place at the start. You should have clearly defined goals for your SEO efforts, and you’ll need web analytics software in place so you can track what’s working and what’s not.

6. Build a great web site. I’m sure you want to show up on the first page of results. Ask yourself, “Is my site really one of the 10 best sites in the world on this topic?” Be honest. If it’s not, make it better.

7. Include a site map page. Spiders can’t index pages that can’t be crawled. A site map will help spiders find all the important pages on your site, and help the spider understand your site’s hierarchy. This is especially helpful if your site has a hard-to-crawl navigation menu. If your site is large, make several site map pages. Keep each one to less than 100 links. I tell clients 75 is the max to be safe.

8. Make SEO-friendly URLs. Use keywords in your URLs and file names, such as yourdomain.com/red-widgets.html. Don’t overdo it, though. A file with 3+ hyphens tends to look spammy and users may be hesitant to click on it. Related bonus tip: Use hyphens in URLs and file names, not underscores. Hyphens are treated as a “space,” while underscores are not.

9. Do keyword research at the start of the project. If you’re on a tight budget, use the free versions of Keyword Discovery or WordTracker, both of which also have more powerful paid versions. Ignore the numbers these tools show; what’s important is the relative volume of one keyword to another. Another good free tool is Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool, which doesn’t show exact numbers.

10. Open up a PPC account. Whether it’s Google’s AdWords, Microsoft adCenter or something else, this is a great way to get actual search volume for your keywords. Yes, it costs money, but if you have the budget it’s worth the investment. It’s also the solution if you didn’t like the “Be patient” suggestion above and are looking for instant visibility.

11. Use a unique and relevant title and meta description on every page. The page title is the single most important on-page SEO factor. It’s rare to rank highly for a primary term (2-3 words) without that term being part of the page title. The meta description tag won’t help you rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below your listing, so it should include the relevant keyword(s) and be written so as to encourage searchers to click on your listing. Related bonus tip: You can ignore the Keywords meta tag, as no major search engine today supports it.

12. Write for users first. Google, Yahoo, etc., have pretty powerful bots crawling the web, but to my knowledge these bots have never bought anything online, signed up for a newsletter, or picked up the phone to call about your services. Humans do those things, so write your page copy with humans in mind. Yes, you need keywords in the text, but don’t stuff each page like a Thanksgiving turkey. Keep it readable.

13. Create great, unique content. This is important for everyone, but it’s a particular challenge for online retailers. If you’re selling the same widget that 50 other retailers are selling, and everyone is using the boilerplate descriptions from the manufacturer, this is a great opportunity. Write your own product descriptions, using the keyword research you did earlier (see #9 above) to target actual words searchers use, and make product pages that blow the competition away. Plus, retailer or not, great content is a great way to get inbound links.

14. Use your keywords as anchor text when linking internally. Anchor text helps tells spiders what the linked-to page is about. Links that say “click here” do nothing for your search engine visibility.

15. Build links intelligently. Begin with foundational links like trusted directories. (Yahoo and DMOZ are often cited as examples, but don’t waste time worrying about DMOZ submission. Submit it and forget it.) Seek links from authority sites in your industry. If local search matters to you (more on that coming up), seek links from trusted sites in your geographic area — the Chamber of Commerce, local business directories, etc. Analyze the inbound links to your competitors to find links you can acquire, too. Create great content on a consistent basis and use social media to build awareness and links. (A blog is great for this; see below.)

16. Use press releases wisely. Developing a relationship with media covering your industry or your local region can be a great source of exposure, including getting links from trusted media web sites. Distributing releases online can be an effective link building tactic, and opens the door for exposure in news search sites. Related bonus tip: Only issue a release when you have something newsworthy to report. Don’t waste journalists’ time.

17. Start a blog and participate with other related blogs. Search engines, Google especially, love blogs for the fresh content and highly-structured data. Beyond that, there’s no better way to join the conversations that are already taking place about your industry and/or company. Reading and commenting on other blogs can also increase your exposure and help you acquire new links. Related bonus tip: Put your blog at yourdomain.com/blog so your main domain gets the benefit of any links to your blog posts. If that’s not possible, use blog.yourdomain.com.

18. Use social media marketing wisely. If your business has a visual element, join the appropriate communities on Flickr and post high-quality photos there. If you’re a service-oriented business, use Small Business Search Marketing and can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus.

 

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Posted in seo new,search engine optimization,image optimization,google updates,bbc updates,twitter updates,facebook updates, SEO Tips and Tricks

Websites made Free, Fast and Easy for All Indian Businesses!


Across India, more and more people are connecting with local businesses online. Make sure they connect with yours with a free professional website. Help customers find you easily and be where they are. It’s easy. Really fast. And absolutely free. So get your business online.

Get your business online with Google.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Free, easy-to-build, professional website
  • Free .in domain name and hosting for one year
  • Free email addresses
  • Free 365 days support

There’s no thinking twice. Get started today.

Read more…

Posted in Google Updates, SEO News

Google Launches “AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program”


Google is introducing what it calls its “AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program.” It’s essentially a vendor referral program for small business (SMB) advertisers interested in working with AdWords. Google has developed a list of companies, many of whom were part of its “authorized reseller” program, to which it will refer SMBs.Google Adword

The involved vendors get more benefits and greater support than other Google reseller partners it appears. Here are the general criteria for eligibility:

  • Large existing customer base of small / medium sized businesses
  • Tele / field sales force with the ability to sell Google’s advertising products
  • Commitment to provide phone and/or email customer support to their advertiser base
  • Existing operational infrastructure (billing, reporting, etc) to service thousands of customers

Read more…

Posted in Google Updates

Phone Through Rate is new AdWords Ranking Factor


This summer Google AdWords Call Metrics introduced $1 flat rate click-to-call charge on call tracking enabled ads delivered to smartphones. Now advertisers can bid for callsmade via any Google ad. The significant change is that, now, what you bid-per-call will affect ad positions in AdWords which, in effect, means that advertisers can place bids on offline actions rather than on purely online actions, such as clicks (or click to calls in the particular case of smartphones).

adwords-call-metrics

adwords-call-metrics

Bidding on Offline Actions

The previous AdWords $1 flat-rate charge on call tracking was essentially an incentive for advertisers to invest in deeper call metrics which worked at an AdGroup level. Now with bid-per-call, call tracking numbers can be enabled across every single device and the model has been changed to go beyond call metrics, to an actual auction model for calls.

Whilst one might argue that Google AdWords has simply raised the price on call metrics, the difference here is that the auction model now allows the advertiser to control how many calls they want their campaigns to generate. Also, by bidding higher on calls, advertisers will be able to give their ad positions a boost, without necessarily paying more per click.

For example, an advertiser could have a $1 bid on clicks, but a $5 bid on calls. Whereas previously, only the $1 bid would count towards ad position, now the $5 bid will be taken into account.

If you are an advertiser with a good “phone call Quality Score”, then your ad may jump positions over advertisers who simply have high cost-per-click bids (and good Quality Scores). Businesses who are more invested in customer service than they are in their website, may find it easier to compete in a search based auction.

In addition to the new call metrics released this summer (Call start time, Call end time, Call duration, Calls missed /received, Caller area code), Phone Through Rate (PTR) (we previously called this Call Through Rate) and Phone Call Cost will be displayed on the AdGroup and Campaign tabs.

Read more…

Posted in SEO News
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