I have been following the Yahoo-Bing transition since its inception giving those who own an SEO services company and individual marketers the heads up on developments as they happen. Last week saw the completion of Yahoo’s organic transition becoming fully powered by Microsoft Bing. This week Yahoo has given search marketing advertisers the green light to start the transition process from Yahoo Search ads to Microsoft Bing search ads. This announcement marks the first step of the paid search transition.

yahoo bingIt is anticipated that Yahoo paid search in the US and Canada will be fully powered by Microsoft adCenter come the end of October. In the interim Yahoo are advising advertisers to prepare. We encourage you to transition your account before the ad serving transition begins, so that you are ready to reach more than 159 million searchers in the U.S. and 15 million searchers in Canada* on Yahoo! Search, Bing and our partners”.

For those concerned about making the account transition more information is available at both the Yahoo Advertising Blog and the Microsoft Blog. Basically you need to prepare your account, transfer your account and then continue managing your account as usual. For an SEO services company like mine this will create some extra work on behalf of my clients, but let’s hope it isn’t too painful.

gmailThe idea of an email marketing campaign is to grab the reader’s attention through a compelling headline and keep pounding them with relevant information and tantalizing offers until they cave in and buy into your product or service. In a nutshell you need to make your emails unavoidable and irresistible.

Emails always drop in order of delivery, so if you send enough marketing emails to a person you can guarantee a top spot or two in your target’s inbox at one stage or another during the campaign, yet what if there was a force working against you that not only made sure you never made the top spot, but made sure all your targeted emails were way down on the list?

gmail emailEnter Google Priority Inbox. This intelligent little monster uses algorithmic techniques to automatically capture and organize “important” emails and de-emphasize other email. It is not a spam filter, but an automated organization tool that could very well upset your web site promotion internet marketing strategy. Google had this to say about its new baby:

Gmail’s servers look at several types of information to identify the email that’s important to you, including who you email and chat with most, how often you email with these people, and which keywords appear frequently in the emails you read.

If Priority Inbox makes a mistake, you can use the clip_image002 clip_image004 buttons to correctly mark a conversation as important or not important, and Priority Inbox will quickly learn what you care about most.

So, you can see just how targeted web site promotion internet marketing emails will get pushed to the bottom of the pile as the priority system relegates promotional emails. Rather than simply reading emails in order as most people tend to do, the unimportant stuff will get pushed into the “everything else” category and may never get read.

See for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nt3gE9dGHQ&feature=player_embedded#!

barebones cmsAs a search engine optimisation company we are always looking at CMS developments to see what potential they have for enhancing the SEO potential of our clients’ websites. If you have already had a look at Joomla, Drupal and WordPress and are still thinking none of these platforms really suit your business model, then you may want to consider Barebones CMS. Recently released by Cubiclesoft, Barebones CMS does exactly what it says on the tin, it gives you the bare bones of what you need to get a website up and running, but also the barebones of a website enabling you to build exactly to the specification you need.

From a search engine optimisation company point of view this is an exciting prospect as the program allows for maximum SEO manipulation from the outset rather than having to feed in and add SEO through default features.

Barebones was conceptualised out of the need for a simple software solution to create static websites. This open source system offers developers a blank slate from which to start. Developers don’t have to leave the browser to develop a website, neither do programmers when writing PHP code, nor designers when building or editing HTML and CSS layouts. Content editors also benefit from the live editing feature.

barebones login screen

Barebones CMS is a cool solution for those who find other CMS too heavy and simply don’t need all the gimmicks, also for any search engine optimisation company looking to try a new platform still highly unutilised by the masses. Whilst Barebones can be simple for the novice, one can configure Barebones to a very complex standard in order to suit the requirements of your business model. Barebones will come as a breath of fresh air for those who hate fiddling around with the blogging style template of WordPress for example.

Other features on the Barebones platform include:

  1. Built-in SEO
  2. Multilingual support system
  3. Plugin support
  4. Three login privilege groups: developer, designer and content editor

For programmers and who want to develop administrative interfaces there is an admin pack available. There are also additional shortcode components in the form of Flash Object and Code/Syntax Highlighter.

Barebones is free to download, but be nice and make a financial contribution to cover development costs and professional support for the product.

You couldn’t make this up, and why would you want to; MC Hammer taking on Google, whatever next! The “Cant Touch This” rapper announced WireDoo at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. He explained that the “Deep Search Engine” would go beyond Google’s ability to deliver “deep” results based on the relationship between keywords and searches.

Hammer explained that a search for a car is about more than just a car, but also about the model, the mileage, the specifications and the location of the dealer. Similarly, a search for a home is related to the surrounding community, shops, schools, crime, etc. “It’s about relationships beyond just the keywords,” Hammer said on stage.

With the tagline, “Search once and see what’s related, “ Hammer didn’t elaborate too much further on WireDoo, only saying that it could search vertically on multiple levels. WireDoo is still in Beta but you can sign up here WireDoo. Read more

No doubt by now you will have heard about the nerd fight going on between Google and Bing. Popcorn has been thrown back and forward all week as each side responds in a war of words that represents something like, “My dad can beat up your dad”.

Google accused Bing of copying search results after suspecting unethical practice and setting up fake search results to see if they were copied. It seems they were and the sting operation was successful.

Google Bing Results

Matt Cutts and crew went around pointing algorithms at the Microsoft engineers laughing like schoolboys who’d just
seen a friend kissing a girl, only to be shocked when Bing claimed that the results showed little more than a lesson in how to commit “click fraud”. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Senior VP of Online Services, determined to have the last word, spat back at Google like a viper:

“We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting. Google engaged in a “honeypot” attack to trick Bing. In simple terms, Google’s “experiment” was rigged to manipulate Bing search results through a type of attack also known as “click fraud.” That’s right, the same type of attack employed by spammers on the web to trick consumers and produce bogus search results. What does all this cloak and dagger click fraud prove? Nothing anyone in the industry doesn’t already know. As we have said before and again in this post, we use click stream optionally provided by consumers in an anonymous fashion as one of 1,000 signals to try and determine whether a site might make sense to be in our index.”

As the school kids fight it out, one thing is clear, Bing have come off well out of this. Why? Because many people who know nothing much of search outside of Google now know Google has a major competitor. Mark my words, Bing searches will escalate in the wake of this argument. The other side of the coin is that Google have made it obvious that they fear Bing. I mean if they didn’t then why would they invest time in trying to smear Bing’s reputation, or are they simply exposing unethical practice?

In truth this proves nothing, because Bing readily admit their users’ activity in Google affects their search results, but then so do a thousand other factors. Bing claim that if you do a search for a term that makes no real sense in English, and Google has created a fake search result for that term, Bing is likely to give you those fake results, too.

I fear that Google have made a huge unfounded accusation based on a manipulated test that is speculative at best, and anyway who cares if Bing copied a few search results, we all know Google is the definitive search platform so why wouldn’t a competitor replicate their practice.

wordpressWith 28,000 downloads everyday and over 11.4 million active installations, WordPress is a force to be reckoned with. The release of WordPress 3.0 in June this year had Joomla and Drupal shaking in their boots again. But what difference will this new version make to the CMS world and website promotion and optimisation.

Multi User Integration

The biggest change with 3.0 is its ability to integrate with the previously separate WordPress MU (Multi-User) variation. Multiple blogs can now be managed under a common domain name within one installation of WordPress.

Themes

There is some change in the standard theme mode. The new custom Theme “Twenty Ten” is more customisable than its predecessor making it easier for newbies to jump straight on board. Take care though if you are upgrading to 3.0 from a lesser version, complete success depends on how customised your content is and the amount of static content your site.

Plugins

There is a bulk plug-ins upgrade feature which allows plugins to be updated en masse from both the plug-ins page and the renamed “WordPress Updates” page, which doubles up to list available theme upgrades as well.

Custom Post Types and Tags

3.0 also allows for the creation of custom menus as opposed to having to code HTML on previous versions. Where blogging is concerned the dashboard is sleeker but essentially no major changes have taken place. For advanced users there is the ability to create custom post types and tags. It’s now possible to create a database entry that represents for example, a film, with metadata that specifies the actors, director and release date etc.

Website Promotion and Optimisation

Where SEO is concerned there are no major changes, and to be honest its hard to see where there could be. And, to be honest, with the amount of independent developers developing SEO tools for WordPress they needn’t bother about building any website promotion and optimisation tools into the interface anyway.

In Conclusion

To the untrained eye WordPress 3.0 hasn’t evolved much, and that might be the case for the average blogger. But what WordPress have done is created a deeper side to the software in a solid attempt to attract those who prefer the complexities of say Drupal for example. Custom post types and multisite blog networks are versatile assets that can give experienced administrators the tools they need to realize their visions.

There is a reason why WordPress was voted Overall Best Open Source CMS in the 2009 Open Source CMS Awards. With thousands of themes and plugins that do just about everything any other website can do, what started out as a solution for bloggers ended up being the world’s favourite open source CMS. To say it is the best would be to overlook some serious competition from Joomla, Drupal and Modx, and as mentioned in a previous posting, CMS is all about the requirements of the user. But let’s look at this from a modern perspective. When you need a stable, secure, user friendly, one-click solution WordPress is undoubtedly a leader in this field.

 

wordpressCustomisability

WordPress is primarily blogging software, but its customisability makes it a potentially great ecommerce or general information site. Starting with a pre-programmed basic theme you can customise your site to be unique from any other WordPress user. Depending on how deep you want to go, you may need to enlist the help of a developer, especially if you require static content or manipulation of the CSS (Cascading Style Sheet). As with all CMS, there are limits if your knowledge is limited.

Community

The WordPress community houses a plugin for everything you could want to do with a website. Support is never-ending with threads providing step-by-step guides on every aspect of building a WordPress site. When it comes to CMS, WordPress offers pure freedom. When you post a question on the WordPress forum, you can guarantee a reply within 12-24 hours – this community is a loving and sharing one.

Stability

I have never seen a WordPress dashboard crash, neither have I seen work lost – other than through stupidity. You can run WordPress both from your desktop and via a server, meaning that a full back up can be kept at all times.

Security

When it comes to ecommerce you need security, yet nobody can guarantee you unhackable software – WordPress however, comes close to the mark. WordPress is very secure and offers a number of security features as default and through plugin software.

Free

Best of all WordPress is free. You can have a fully functional website up and running within the hour for zilch dollars. It doesn’t take long to familiarise yourself with the dashboard and from there its plain sailing.

SEO

WordPress is SEO friendly, but as mentioned in the customisation section, if your knowledge is limited so will be your optimisation without a search engine optimization consultant. Therefore my advice is this; enlist the help of a developer to tweak your site exactly how you envision it to be, from there you can manage the back end (admin dashboard) without needing to constantly pay a developer for changes (the beauty of CMS). Similarly, pay out for search engine optimization consultant to help give the site a kick start and to learn some valuable tips from an expert.

cmsIf you are thinking about a Content Management System (CMS) then both Joomla and Drupal will have crossed your mind as choices. It’s a difficult question considering that users of both platforms always claim their system works better for them, and that makes perfect sense, because the reason you choose a CMS should be based on your needs.

Although it is a difficult choice there are some clear advantages for both platforms depending on your requirements.

Drupal is generally rated higher than Joomla for its support of social networking, multimedia, SSL and blogging and document management. Drupal is also rated highly for ease of external integration and developing large, complex websites. However, Drupal themes aren’t widely rated, yet most Drupal users tend to customise the templates or code a new design.

On the other hand, Joomla is considered more suitable for non-technical persons. The CMS interface is relatively easy to get to grips with and carrying out maintenance and upgrades is fairly straight forward. Joomla is cited as being “user friendly” and the best choice for newbies looking to get a site up very quickly.

Comparing these two CMS platforms is a bit like comparing BMW and Mercedes, or apples and oranges. It really does depend on the client’s needs, experience and time available to dedicate to learning. To provide a general answer to the title of this post, as a search engine optimisation service provider I would say that Drupal is great for those with some developing experience or those who don’t mind a slightly steeper learning curve. Joomla on the flip side is good for beginners who want to tackle managing their own website and content without too much learning and site customisation.

When it comes to SEO Drupal is said to be more equipped (for those who know what they are doing) whilst Joomla takes a little more tweaking time, yet essentially both provide a high level of SEO competence. SEO is largely down to skill and knowing the tricks of the trade, in fact all CMS platforms provide pretty much the same SEO capabilities it’s just a case of knowing how to optimise your site. No matter what CMS you use it is always advisable to seek the advice of a search engine optimisation service.

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that allows people to get lazy, it doesn’t really offer search engine optimisation help unless you ask for it. This is because many aspects of WordPress are set to default and already fairly SEO friendly. Unless you physically change specific aspects of your blog/website then you will not be running at optimum SEO level. Your WordPress site might look like its singing and dancing but in reality it is SEO shy.

Considering title tags are one of the most important aspects of SEO, it is a surprise that so many people run along with default tags on their posts. Don’t allow your title tags to be auto generated in WordPress because seldom are the permalinks SEO friendly. Manipulate your title tags and get the most out of your blog posts.

custom postOptimise your post title or category name by using synonyms and multiple verb tenses. For example, a post titled, “Search Engine Optimisation Marketing” is neat and to the point, but doesn’t exploit keywords or carry mass appeal. This title could be changed to, “Search Engine Optimisation Marketing Tips – Optimise Your Site and Rank Higher In Google”. A title like this has a broader appeal and will attract more attention if you place the article on Digg, Scribd or social bookmarking sites.

There is a great search engine optimisation help plugin to manipulate title tags in WordPress called SEO Title Tag. This plugin allows for mass or individual edits across all the pages of your blog/site. If you don’t use this plugin or a similar plugin, you should at the very minimum hand code the title tag on the home page, and then on the rest of the blog place the blog name at the end of the title tag rather than at the beginning. By doing this you will create more uniquely focused title tags.

Last week I wrote about the full launch of Google’s Social Search facility and the positives and negatives of ‘results from your social circle’. Not long after publishing that post I was contacted directly by a few of you voicing concerns about just how far Google intends on going in terms of violating a persons right to online privacy. This got me thinking, and it is only really when you take time out to think about Google that you realise they know a hell of a lot about us. Perhaps our online privacy has been completely lost, but in all honesty it’s a little too late for us to bolt the stable door.

On one hand we love the Internet for its freedom, and whether the latest leaked document on U.S. operations by Wikileaks or the exposure of a celebrity involved in a nude act, the fact is Read more

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