Bing Adds New Crawlers To Support Non-Responsive Mobile Designs

Bing announced a new set of mobile crawlers with Bingbot Mobile User Agents to better support and recognize mobile web sites that are not responsively designed. Lee Xiong from the Bing Crawl team explained they have designed these new crawlers to “probe websites with a number of new crawlers…

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By cranbak on November 4, 2014 | Webmaster
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Bing Adds Emoji Support In English Search

Bing now has support for search in English, for meanings and multi-word search.

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By cranbak on October 28, 2014 | Webmaster
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Ello Finds Investors to Support Ad-Free Platform

Ello, the social network that prides itself on being the alternative to Facebook, has secured $5.5 million in venture capital funding and is taking steps to ensure it remains ad-free for good.

The firm has filed in Delaware as a Public Benefit Corp. This, according to Ello, means it is now, illegal under U.S. law for investors to require the company to show ads, sell user data, or sell the company to any buyer who would do so.

Ello CEO Paul Budnitz told Tech Crunch the move was a protective one because of the “giant billboard” the Internet has become.

The Foundry Group along with Techstars’ Bullet Time Ventures and with participation from FreshTracks Capital, led the Series A financing for Ello.

Ello investor Seth Levine, of the Foundry Group, addressed skepticism about Ello’s ad-free promise in a blog post.

“It’s important that we state this clearly, since there are bound to be people who view this financing with skepticism. Foundry Group is completely supportive of the Ello mission,” Levine said. “We’ll either build a business that doesn’t rely on third party advertising or the selling of user data or we won’t build a business. Our belief is that there are products and features that Ello can develop that users will be willing to pay for. While the price points may be low, as part of a much larger ecosystem with millions of users, will provide an economic model for the company which supports the business and our investment.”

Ello describes itself as “a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.”

“Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties,” reads the website’s About page.

“Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a ‘free’ service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy. We also think ads are tacky, that they insult our intelligence and that we’re better without them.”

Ello, which is by invitation only, is free to use, but members do have the option of paying small fees to add new features to their accounts.

Anyone interested in joining can request an invitation on the Ello Home Page.

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Ello Finds Investors to Support Ad-Free Platform


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on October 24, 2014 | Webmaster
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Comcast Shareholders Support Time Warner Merger – Ninety-Nine Percent Vote in Favor of Deal

Comcast Corp. shareholders have shown overwhelming support for the company’s much-debated plan to purchase Time Warner Cable.

Time WarnerThe $45.2-billion deal had 99 percent of shareholders giving a thumbs up to the merger which is still before the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department. If approved, it would see the country’s two largest cable companies become one.

A Comcast press release issued Wednesday highlighted the fact the merger is “subject to various regulatory approvals and other customary conditions and also requires approval by Time Warner Cable shareholders, who are expected to vote on the merger (today). Subject to satisfaction of these conditions, the merger is expected to close in early 2015.”

As The Los Angeles Times reported, though, not everyone is excited about the potential deal with Netflix and Dish Network expressing concerns over the proposal which would see 30 percent of the nation’s cable households and 40 percent of homes with broadband Internet receiving those services from the company.

Earlier this year, the proposed merger also caught the eye of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee, this past spring, heard from Comcast’s executive vice-president and chief diversity officer in public policy, David L. Cohen.

At that time, Cohen argued bringing the two giants together would only benefit customers by delivering “consumers the next-generation of broadband Internet, video, voice, and related technologies.”

Bringing the two company’s together, he stated, would improve the experience for customers now and in to the future.

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Comcast Shareholders Support Time Warner Merger


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on October 8, 2014 | Webmaster
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Most B2B Marketing Videos Don’t Support the Buyer’s Journey

Most B2B marketing videos do not support the buyer’s journey because they are product-centric. They accompany product introductions, reside on product pages and are featured in product promotions. Most B2B videos are designed for the “awareness” phase of the buyer’s journey — that is, “Introducing (ta-da!) Cloud Security v.3.0!”

These overview “explainer” videos are useful. Customers, prospects, marketers, and salespeople all like short videos that answer the question “what does it do?” when the subject is new to them. But . . .

Product-centric videos — by themselves — do not support the buyer’s journey! Why not?

  1. A product-oriented explainer or demo video by itself will not create that crucial shift in perspective that transforms a viewer into a potential customer. In order to get to the product information quickly and to get it all in, you need to set up the problem quickly, assuming the viewer knows about the problem you solve. That’s OK for a product overview, but not if you’re trying to change how someone sees a problem. And if a prospect doesn’t see that they have the problem or challenge you say you can solve, you will not move the prospect forward in their journey
  2. Today’s buyers are largely educating themselves about your solution’s applicability. When a prospect already knows what your product or solution is for, it needs no introduction. Much of your one-size-fits-all product introduction will be stuff the view already knows. And online video viewers are impatient.
  3. Buyers want information, not infomercials. No one expects a video produced by a solution vendor to be objective. But videos with titles like “Cloud Security Key Differentiators” and “Cloud Security Use Cases” promise to be more informational and less sales-y than “The Cloud Security Story.”
  4. Buyers are working in teams. Team members represent different roles in the organization. They have different interests. If their particular interest hasn’t been addressed 20 seconds or so into the video, many viewers will stop viewing. Besides, when you try to address several different interests (e.g., financial, ease of use, productivity) in one video, all your messages get diluted.
  5. Different buying stages require different videos. You need videos that create awareness of a need, quick how-to videos for the consideration/research stage, demo videos and comparison videos and webcasts for the analysis and comparison stage. For the purchase stage, you need case studies, testimonials, and user story videos that show how your solution is being used and the results achieved. For the post-sale stage, you need videos to show you can get even stronger results with additional support. This provides you with the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell.

So how do you move away from product-centric videos and toward videos that support the buyer’s journey? Here are two solutions.

Solution 1: Create several targeted videos aligned to the buyer’s journey

What kind of videos would be made if, instead of starting out “Hey, we need a product video,” marketers thought “Hey, buyers need information?”

We know that buyers in the awareness and consideration phases of the journey like summarized content. So, short (30- to 60-second) videos make sense. And to accommodate the different interests and levels of engagement of buying team members, you need multiple short videos.

Our clients are increasingly adopting this multi-pronged approach. A sales enablement app vendor is making a 30-second video showing how various product features benefit salespeople, another about benefits for sales managers.

A vendor of security threat intelligence plans one video for CISOs, one detailing product differentiators for buyers just researching the category, and one for IT managers about integrating the product with other security software.

The more focused videos you have, the more videos your lead gen and sales enablement teams can promote, to more accurately segmented lists — and research shows that just putting the word video in the subject line sharply increases open rates.

Solution 2: Start thinking of new kinds of stories

It’s often said that videos need to tell a story — because everyone responds to stories. But it doesn’t have to be a product story. As soon as you start thinking about how video could support the buyer’s journey, you’ll start to generate all kinds of new story ideas that will put this powerful medium to better use. Stories about different personas, stories featuring unusual differentiators, stories set in different vertical markets, stories that challenge preconceptions. Buyers will appreciate how easy it is to find the information they want when they encounter these videos on the buyer’s journey.

Now, take a good look at the videos your organization is using. Do they support the buyer’s journey? What additional videos do you need to add to move prospects down the funnel? Comment below.

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Most B2B Marketing Videos Don’t Support the Buyer’s Journey


B2B video expert Bruce McKenzie creates two-minute explainer videos that increase sales and shorten the selling cycle for IBM, BMC, Compuware and many other B2B technology organizations. See how his targeted explainer video “bundles” support the buyer’s journey at:

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By cranbak on October 1, 2014 | Webmaster
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Tech Companies Jumping Ship From ALEC – Council’s Policy Stance Souring Support From Google, Yahoo, Others

The American Legislative Exchange Council was once able to proudly present some of the world’s biggest tech companies as members, but that’s coming to an end.

yelpFacebook, Yahoo, Google and Yelp are all jumping ship from the free-market, state-focused group.

ALEC, The Washington Post reports, maintains a library of model state and local legislation connecting businesses, non-profits and lawmakers. It offers corporate members a voice in policy-making.

Those voices, though, are leaving the council as it has continuously been criticized for its more conservative policies on everything from climate change to economics. That has resulted in major tech groups like Google saying it no longer cares to be a card-carrying member.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, said his company was funding ALEC but that is no longer the case.

“I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake, and so we’re trying to not do that in the future,” Schmidt was quoted as saying in a recent article by Business Week.

And it’s not just Google.

Yahoo and Yelp have all also stated they no longer belong to the council and Facebook, in a statement Wednesday, indicated it will likely also leave.

“While we have tried to work within ALEC to bring that organization closer to our view on some key issues, it seems unlikely that we will make sufficient progress so we are not likely to renew our membership in 2015,” a spokesman said in a statement.

The loss of membership, one expert stated, reflects ALEC’s failure to understand what is important in the eyes of its membership.

“The departure of these firms from ALEC shows that denying the facts on climate change, really doesn’t have a place in the modern business world,” Brant Olsen of Forecast the Facts was quoted as saying by Sustainable Business.

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Tech Companies Jumping Ship From ALEC


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on September 25, 2014 | Webmaster
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Using Great Web Design to Support Your SEO Efforts

One of the most common mistakes you can make with your SEO is waiting until after your site is designed to consider what’s best for your site’s rankings. Great design starts from a foundation of understanding your core user. When you always keep this ideal customer in mind, design and SEO form a union that is rock solid for all your marketing efforts.

There are many design trends these days, and each of them have their own SEO challenges. Whether you choose responsive, HTML5, or parallax design, or any hybrid thereof, considering your SEO needs as you create or re-launch your site is imperative.

Great design isn’t just about creating a beautiful and intuitive experience, it also involves stellar usability, solid and secure architecture, and a site that is accessible across all screens and media devices. Master these elements, and your SEO will naturally follow suit.

Deciding Which Type of Design is Right for Your Business

Let’s dissect the three major site design options these days, along with their related SEO pros and cons.

First, there’s the ever-popular responsive option. Responsive design means your site will adjust based on the size of the screen the user is accessing your content on. Instead of a native mobile site, responsive uses the same core look and feel across all platforms. It creates uniformity and consistency, but inhibits your ability to tailor a design for each screen option.

It’s the most popular option for a reason, however; Google recommends responsive design. SEO is solid with this option because responsive does not dilute your URL strength by requiring different variations. Users access your site through one URL, and it then adjusts based on the device used. This allows you to ramp up external backlinks and track SEO strategies for a single domain structure, which can vastly simplify your efforts.

The biggest con with responsive is that it forces you into a one-size-fits-all strategy. There’s no opportunity for mobile-centric keywords, no creating a custom-made navigation structure for small screens. If this is a blessing rather than a creative limitation, responsive is a fantastic option for your site.

Parallax sites have been all the rage lately; they consolidate content onto a single page, or a very compact site structure. From a user perspective, this is golden, and many businesses report much higher conversion rates when they shift to a parallax strategy. If you have a strong and clear story to tell about your business, you can walk users through this vision in a much more impactful way on a single page.

From an SEO perspective though, parallax has serious challenges. You’ll find it a lot more difficult to rank for a variety of keyword phrases, and with just a single page or compact site, there’s far less for Google to evaluate and crawl. That said, if you incorporate a parallax strategy into a multi-page site, you can indeed have the best of both worlds.

Finally, there’s the controversial HTML5 option. Often heralded as the next big thing in web development, the hindrance with HTML5 is it can be a beast to program correctly. The versatility and sure power is off the charts though, and if you require complex functionality, HTML5 can handle it. The trick of this from an SEO perspective involves JavaScript, which is required for a lot of the whiz-bang features. Google and company often have issues crawling this kind of content, which means your content is essentially unreadable. The solution, should you choose to take the time and effort, is to create a static version of the JavaScript heavy content too. That gives users the fabulous animated option, and search engines get access as well.

Designing Pages that Woo People and Search Engines

As you look at your site with an eye towards usability, remember that simplicity and intuitive design are integral to a successful offering. Getting creative on your navigation category terms, as an example, may feel like you’re adding flair and personality, but ultimately, if you’re confusing users and search engine bots, you just won’t flourish.

These days, a less is more strategy is also proving fruitful. It used to be that a myriad of categories provided more searchable content and opportunities for keyword variances. This is shifting, however, and savvy SEO professionals are recommending a more streamlined and focused site structure.

If you already have a site that you’re looking to improve upon, here’s a tip to determine how the design of each page is fairing. Look at your bounce rates, and compare them to the keywords that are most applicable. If you find that there’s an abundance of traffic funneled from keywords that just don’t seem relevant to the page, you’ve uncovered a smoking gun. Your job in those cases is to tailor the content on each page to match the interest of the incoming traffic. Master the process of giving people what they want, and your SEO will catapult.

Whichever design trend you chose, educate yourself on the SEO challenges and benefits as early in the process as possible. If you’ve already launched your site and are working backwards, use the bounce rate strategy as a first step to SEO domination. As long as you have a clear view of who your site serves, you can always improve the overall experience.

What other pertinent parallels have you discovered between web design and SEO? Is one method better than another in your experience?

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Using Great Web Design to Support Your SEO Efforts


Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor.  Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

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By cranbak on September 22, 2014 | Webmaster
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Google Authorship Support Dropped

“…we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.”

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By cranbak on August 29, 2014 | Webmaster
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Eagle Ambassadors drums up support for Bald Eagle Area School District … – Centre Daily Times

Eagle Ambassadors drums up support for Bald Eagle Area School District
Centre Daily Times
Internet videos are the newest facet for the organization. The Eagle … In the past two years, Eagle Ambassadors have received $11,500 in grants, said board member Rose Hoover, BEA administrative assistant and district webmaster. One of its largest …

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By cranbak on August 5, 2014 | Webmaster
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Despite Crackdowns, Tech Support Ads In Search Are Still Cause For Consumer Confusion

Just last month, six international tech support scam operators were ordered to pay more than $5.1 million as a result of charges filed by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012. The scammers typically posed as representatives of major technology companies, convinced consumers that their computers…

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