The Friday Catch-Up: Google, Did You Get A New Haircut?

Don’t blink! Don’t even blink; blink and the weekend will be over! At least that’s how it feels every time. But that ever-elusive Friday is here yet again. We seem to have this on and off relationship with Friday and we’re starting to feel that it has commitment issues. To ease the hurt of the impending departure of our Fridays, we can only drown our sorrows in the gossip from the Interwebs. This week, Google gets the subtlest of makeovers as the Chinese Smartphone population continues to grow. In other news, Google Docs suddenly got a lot more interesting.


China Gets 700 Million Smartphone Users

The analytics firm, adorably named Umeng, just crunched the numbers and brought us news from the far shores of China. The stats show that by the end of 2013, China has more than 700 million Smartphone users in the country. In the fourth quarter, about 41% were sold to individuals who were buying their first Smartphone. China was already the leading Smartphone market since 2011 but these numbers are astonishing in their own right. Read more at Tech Crunch.

Add-On Store for Google Docs

We love it when Google gives us something we didn’t even know we wanted. This is exactly what happened when Google announced the launch of an add-on store for Google Docs, where you can purchase applications for additional tools. The design of the store is similar to that of the Chrome Web Store and we just cannot wait to dip our toes into the shop and wade through the new apps. Google has been behaving so well lately that we are extremely suspicious. Tell us what’s up your sleeve Google? Read more at Tech Crunch.

Google’s Search Results Redesign

If you’ve been paying attention, Google just redesigned its search engine, and by redesign, we mean it stopped underlining the links. But there is much more than meets the eye to this redesign. The font size of the Meta titles has also increased and tiny labels have been inserted beside the ads that show up in the search results. What remains to be seen is just how effective this little change is going to be when it comes to visibility. Read more at Moz.

align=”center”>TIPS & TRICKS

AdWords and PPC: Learning From the Brands

Adam Krietman of Crazy Egg tackles the Skin Care industry and tries to gauge their responses when it comes to the all important keywords “Acne Treatment”. After comparing the likes of Olay and Clinique, he found that these two giants, which were previously leading the AdWords game, had suddenly fallen down in the ranks as a result of a subpar landing page which did not direct to any acne treatments. In addition, some advertisers such as Neutrogena were rising up. Other sites which provided acne treatment details and methods were higher up in the rankings and continued to dominate the following year without any change in strategy. While the AdWords landscape is in constant flux, Krietman believes that maybe some strategies that work best should be practiced with consistency.

Getting Your First 100 Email Subscribers

Everyone knows the importance of having an absolutely killer email list to get in touch with when you have some news to share. The main problem is that not too many of us know how to hit that happy hundred. OkDork tells us how we can make sure that we hit that elusive century. His suggestions include providing Giveaways, Using By-lines, Sticky widgets, and Exit intent pop-ups which arrive when the user is slicking away from the window. Read more great tips at OkDork.

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Troubleshooting Local listings and Rankings

Google rankings are highly unpredictable and we just have that feeling in our gut that some drastic change is on its way (Don’t try to be cute Google, we know your game.) This is exactly why Miriam Ellis brings us some great tips on how to prevent failures when it comes to local rankings. If you feel like your rankings aren’t doing so well then you need to look for the obvious symptoms before you make a diagnoses. Check whether it’s a Google update that’s been confusing the rankings, follow it up with checks for any violations of Google’s policies, and then check for duplicate listings. Read more at Moz.

The Need for a Shift in Social Media Marketing Strategies

The social media landscape keeps changing as a result of tablets and mobile devices. Due to this constant change, there is a need for a drastic shift in the manner in which advertisers use social media. According to Pam Moore, marketers need to move from singular to plural and start focusing on building content along with a team or even asking your community of followers to create some with you. She also suggests the need for initiating conversations rather than bombarding users with one way messages. She also suggests humanizing the brand so users will relate more to it. Read more at Marketing Nutz.

Understanding SEO

Even the strongest of warriors will tell you that they fear the dragon that is SEO. You may think you have it figured out, but every time you turn the corner, you will be faced with a situation that you never even imagined. This is why its important to keep sharpening your skills when it come to SEO. Luckily, Upcity brings us a collection of some of the best guides from the internet in order to help us understand SEO. Whether you are a seasoned player or just a rookie, you will surely find some nugget of information here to help you on your way. View the list at UpCity.

SMX West 2014 and a Conversation with Amit Singhal

The lucky people who were at the SMX West 2014 got the chance to her Amit Singhal, the head of Google Search talk about Humming bird and other changes to Google search such as authorship and the integration with Google +. Those of you who weren’t there, can only look through our tear-filled eyes and read the transcript. According to Singhal, Hummingbird was an attempt to rebuild the entire foundation on which Google search was built and was designed to target longer search queries in a more natural manner. He also talked about the need for social signals such as retweets and likes on social media in influencing search rankings and stated that these indicators were not effective enough to deliver effective results. Read the entire interview at Search Engine Land.

Using Knowledge Graph for Richer Results

The Knowledge graph by Google has the ability to take a query and connect it to the other items that Google knows about, thus allowing you to form richer connections and reach a more comprehensive result. Optimizing for such connective results, however, can be a little trickier than you imagine. First you will have to use keywords that can be easily deciphered by users and the search engines. Then you will have to start linking to other sites and content to establish connections. He specially emphasizes the need to link for Google maps. Read more of his suggestions at the strangely titled Blind Five Year Old.

The History of the Internet

The short but tumultuous history of the internet always makes for a great read, especially when it’s broken down into its most relevant milestones as told by the guardian. Starting from 1989 from its first proposal to the introduction of facebook, the wiki leaks scandal, the Snowden episode, and today where Cameron suggests an opt-in censorship on content, the internet has seen many ups and downs since its inception. It’s astonishing how far we’ve come in a span of 25 years and the ball just doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Read the entire gripping tale at The Guardian.

Using the About Us Page to Get Customers

The about us page which seems to sit demurely in a dark and dusty corner is just as important as every other page on your site, and marketers who tend to overlook it are making a grave mistake. The magic lies in the way the page is written. The copy written on the page may just be the ticket to getting your customers to buy something from your site. Although the “About Us” page is typically about the company, try and make it about the customer and pay them a little more attention. Try adding personality to the page and tell customers what you want them to do. Read more at Unbounce.

Using Testimonials for Conversion Rates

Adding testimonials to your website has always been an effective strategy but their effectiveness as conversion rate boosters is yet to be seen. Wondering if the testimonials on your site work at all? The answer is that they do much more than you give them credit for. Not every testimonial; however, is built the same. Try and incorporate testimonials which tell a detailed story. In addition, it is important to place them where they will be part of the natural eye flow and not jutting off into the sidebars of the page. Read more at Visual Website optimizer.


Social Media and Their Effectiveness in Online Commerce

Shopify just examined the effectiveness of social media for commerce sites and brought us some astonishing numbers. They found that facebook was dominating the social media commerce landscape but other stars such as Reddit and Instagram were also growing. After Facebook, Pinterest seemed to be catching up. One unlikely hero; however, was PolyVore which was raking in the highest value when it came to social sales. View the Infographics at TechCrunch.

The Transfer of Link Authority

The number 1 factor which affects search rankings until today is Links. Understanding how authority is passed from one to another on the internet through link sharing is; however, a difficult concept to comprehend. The Info graphic at Vertical Measures tells us about the way link sharing affects the value of the site. Sharing a valuable link will increase the value of the site whereas a paid link with too much exact anchor text will diminish the value. View the Infographic at Vertical measures.

Social Media Etiquette

With the number of blunders that social media marketers seem to make on the internet, it’s about time that Moz provided us with a guide telling us about Social media etiquette. They suggest refraining from auto follows, direct messaging, and purchasing followers. They also suggested the need to engage followers in conversation, keeping business and personal accounts private and keeping up with current events. Read more at SlideShare.

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The Friday Catch-Up: Google, Did You Get A New Haircut?

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