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Yahoo Search Migrating to Bing AdCenter

Posted on September 3, 2010 by Chad

On August 31st, Yahoo announced that they are starting to transition their Yahoo Search Marketing to Microsoft AdCenter.

In the last few weeks, Yahoo began and completed transitioning all of Yahoo’s organic results to Microsoft Bing. The next step is the paid search transition. To start this process all you have to do is log into your Yahoo! Search Marketing account.  There are some very specific differences between Bing and Yahoo, so be aware that you may need to do some tinkering with your campaigns. 

Yahoo has provided a Feature Comparison Guide and Transition Checklist through the user interface to help this transition process as much as possible.  You can also find these document links in their announcement blog at “Advertisers, Begin Your Account Transitions”.

According to Yahoo’s blog, they fully expect the transition to be completed by the end of October.  The last stage of which will occur somewhere in mid-October, when Yahoo! Search ad serving moves to Microsoft AdCenter completely.  Be prepared though, there is still a slight possibility that they will defer the completed paid search transition to 2011. Either way I am excited to see what changes this new transition will bring in the future.

Yahoo and Bing

 

Surviving Fires at Work (Why You Need a Plan B)

Posted on August 31, 2010 by Ellen

We had an exciting (or terrifying) day at the office a few weeks ago. I looked out the window from building 1 to see huge flames and an abundance of black smoke as the parking lot next to us was on fire!  I called out to the others in the building that there is a fire then proceeded to call 911. As the others were on the move, I immediately looked to my evacuation plan and safety procedures to see what should be done next. However, after checking the evacuation map it says our “meeting place”, in case of an emergency, is the lot across from our parking lot… yes they very place on fire. I could, for the sake of professionalism, say that something rational and cool went through my head, but I would simply be lying if I said it wasn’t profane. We quickly adapted, got everyone’s car moved and all of our employees safe. Firemen were on the scene shortly and the fire was extinguished through some impressive work from the Riverside Fire Department.  Overall, the entire debacle went very well considering how bad it could have been.

So my lesson learned is this: I need a Plan B. Not only does my safety plan need a Plan B, but Plan B isn’t bad in my business emergencies either.  Things don’t always go the way we plan them, in fact, most of the time they don’t go that way at all. As we approach the daily fires of our work day, we have to wonder why Plan A failed in the first place, and remember that there is more than one way to get something right, even if there are “failures” in between.

Fire at work

 

Creating the Customer Experience from Every Department of the Company

Posted on August 27, 2010 by Suzanne

Most of us think that the customer experience is the responsibility of Customer Service department, which seems natural, right? They deal with the customer, so why should a warehouse guy or a data temp care if our customers are having a good experience? This is the wrong way to look at it, as the bottom line is everything we do as an eCommerce company culminates in the customer experience. If the customer does not have a good experience on our site, chances are they will never come back, and may even tell others not to as well. For example, if the information on the site is incorrect, and the customer receives the incorrect item, their experience with the site may not be a good one. Similarly, if an item isn’t packaged properly and ends up damaged on the way to the customer, again, the situation could end in a bad customer experience.

Customer Service is a big part of the customer experience simply because they deal most with the customers on a one-on-one basis. Wouldn't their job be so much easier if we all had the mindset of wanting our customers to have the best experience possible? If that mentality were part of a mantra or a company pillar and was engrained in the work ethic of new employees, wouldn’t that make the internet a better place to shop?

So, as a member of Gordian Project/Supply Chain, how can I contribute to a great customer experience? The first thing that comes to mind is better internal and external communication. I can encourage our vendors to give us the best information to put on our website, and in turn I can communicate any changes within the department that may affect customer experience to Customer Service. Which will prepare them for any questions they may receive. This is just one change I can make, but actively looking for these types of oppurtunities can greatly effect the customer experience.

For more ideas on how to encourage your team to give your customers a great experience, read this awesome article I found on eCommercetimes.com. There are some great tips for all departments and employees, from the top down.

 


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Yahoo is Now Bing, and Other Search Changes You Should Know About

Posted on August 25, 2010 by Josh Mc

It has been a crazy week in search to say the least, and it is only Wednesday. The search world has been shook by many updates this week, so I decided to aggregate the main ones, as well as the best posts on them,  in one easy to read area.

Yahoo Search Is Now Bing – Just yesterday it was reported that Yahoo search has transitioned to Bing search results. It is good for the people that like their Bing results better than their Yahoo, bad for the ones that don’t, and good for everyone else as there is now a larger competitor against Google. Note this change does not yet affect paid advertising, that should happen later this fall.

Google Allows More Than Two Results - The other big change in the search world happened with Google now allowing more than two results per page from any one site. This is a big change because now theoretically one business could own all ten organic SERP’s for their name or their name plus a keyword.

Needless to say there are a lot of changes happening in the organic world. What do you guys think? Are these good changes? Should us organic marketers be worried? Let me know in the comments.

 

Two New Ways to Check Google Site Speed

Posted on August 24, 2010 by Zach

Search Engine Round Table  had a interesting post about two of best ways to check Google’s factors for site speed. Site Speed recently became one of the many ranking factors for Google, and should be something that webmasters are aware of when optimizing their websites. The first way to check Google's factors for site speed is the site performance section under Labs in Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Tools

The data displayed in this section is an aggregate of all of the Google Toolbar Data for how long it takes actual users to download pages on your site. This is an important factor, but it does have some shortcomings. First, this data is only gathered from people that have the Google Toolbar installed. If a user does not have the bar installed then Google is not able to gather their data. Because of this, the number is only a sampling of all of the people browsing your site. I know what you are going to ask, "If it is only a small sample, then why should I care about it." Always remember, if it is important enough for Google to report, then it is important enough for you to review.

The other option for reviewing site speed is also in Google Webmaster Tools, but under the Diagnostics section and then Crawl stats.

Google Webmaster Tools

This section displays crawl stats for Googlebot on your website. What it specifically gathers is how many pages are crawled per day, how much data is downloaded per day, and how long it takes for them to download a page. This data is almost more important in terms of site speed factors because it lets you know how your site's performance is affecting Googlebot. If it takes Googlebot a long time to download pages on your website it will take them longer to index your site, and in turn they will crawl less pages. We all know that crawling less pages is never something we want Google to do, so making your site faster for Googlebot will benefit you in the long run.

Since our team started to focus on site speed and website performance we have been watching these two areas very closely. An improvement in site speed has definitely yielded an increase in pages crawled per day, as well as a reduction in time it takes to download a page by Googlebot. Both of these are critical metrics in that should be tracked in Google Webmaster Tools.

 


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How to Nail (or Fail) the Interview

Posted on August 17, 2010 by Sean

I know this one isn’t a secret, but it’s so absent in so many interviews that I’m starting to believe that for some reason – it might be. While this issue does not necessarily secure a position, it could, if unanswered, cost you the opportunity. Personally, it would take a strong act of God for me to recommend the hiring of someone who failed on this issue.

Learn about the company.

That’s it. Sounds easy. It is.

If you’re applying for a job in a reasonably established company, they will have information made public somewhere on the Internet.

What’s surprising though is how few people actually take advantage of the resource (which is actually probably why it’s such an egregious offense). The Internet is free. If you don’t have it, go to the library, there will undoubtedly be a smiling older woman who would love nothing more than to help you stop slacking.

In my recent experience, probably 1/5 of candidates have any knowledge of the company they’re engaging, and even fewer can answer shallow-at-best questions about the industry in general. True, some companies hide their information better than others, but it’s out there – if you look.

If you’re totally without inclination, have a look at the company from some of these angles:

About Us/Contact Us – This one is pretty softball. Start here, read everything, memorize key names.

Products/Services – It’s absolutely amazing (by amazing, I mean decidedly un-amazing) how many, in interviews, have almost no idea what the company does. Also, trying to infer company details from the company name is usually not enough, “Uh, you guys generally make motors, right"? – Right.

Competition/Reputation - Once you’ve identified what the company does, have a look at what other, similar companies do. Pro Tip: if the competition is stronger, it’s best not to bring this up.

Blog/Social Media – Whether it’s run by a middle-manager with a paunch or a newly-minted college graduate with a URL for a middle name, most businesses have some kind of social media presence. This is a brilliant way to get a feel for company culture as well as raw opinion from sources other than copy-edited web content.

Given the instant, free access we have to the Internet, we’re all without excuse for not having some answer to the question. Actually, I think this is exactly why it’s so important to have one.

 


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The Expanding World of Online Video July 2010

Posted on August 13, 2010 by Josh Mc

 

  • First off, over the last couple months I have talked a lot about the importance of Video Sitemaps which allow Google to index your video content . Google itself decided people did not fully understand how important this was and released a video detailing how implementing video sitemaps with your website can be done. For everyone out there who is on the fence with this, if you have video content, it is very important and should be considered. Right now Google is in the beginning stages of using this information in the search results, but over the next couple months it will become increasingly relevant and important.

 



 

  • Andy Beal wrote a blog on video becoming a must have for online retailers.  In his findings he references that “The percentage of the top 50 US online retailers that offer videos on their sites skyrocketed to 68% in 2009 from 18% in 2008.” And “In this sense, video has gone from a luxury to a near necessity for companies seeking an edge in marketing their products.”

 

  • Unless you have been away from the internet for the last month it’s impossible for you to have missed the Old Spice guy and all of his crazy videos. Read Write Web has a great article about how they were able to make 87 videos in the span of 11 hours, and get them spread across the internet like a wildfire. Read more about it here

 

  • Search Engine Land wrote a good post on “The Four Pillars of Viral Videos” which speaks on the importance of creating buzz in viral videos. Many people write about this topic, but I really like the pillars that they established. The Shock and Awe approach is quickly becoming one of the most used types of viral video, well that and making auto tuned videos of whatever is popular at the time (double rainbow video anyone?).

 

  • Lastly, ReelSEO took some time to find the 5 craziest things you can learn from 5min video. Some of the videos they found were on how to survive the zombie apocalypse and how to hypnotize a dog. Needless to say they can be pretty entertaining to watch.


If I missed anything you saw that was important last month be sure to let me know. Also, at the time of this writing Google has added a Video Sitemaps button to their labs section in Google Webmaster Tools. It will be interesting to see what they do with it.

 

Tips When Preparing for Time Off

Posted on August 11, 2010 by Arianna

Taking time off of work requires more than just filling out a vacation request form. This is especially true when you have a team that depends on you to organize their daily tasks. When I found out I was pregnant, I thought “nine months is an eternity!” but I soon realized that time goes by faster than you think. As a result, I have spent the last three months preparing for my maternity leave. Whether you’re going on maternity leave or taking a week long vacation, it is important that you provide your office with the tools necessary to function while you’re away. Here are a few tips that that will help you make preparations, in advance, to be ready for your day of departure.

First you have to prepare instructions. Think of this step as a manual guide for your team to know what it is you do and how it is you do it. Start by creating a list of all your tasks and provide instruction on how to complete each task. Be as detailed as possible! Give a step by step process that is both thorough and easy to follow. I recommend that you take your process to a co-worker outside of your department who is not familiar with your job, and see if they could follow your processes and complete the task themselves. This way you know if you gave them enough information to complete the task. If they are not clear on how to complete the task then revise the instructions until they are. Lastly, make a folder of instructions on the company intranet for employees to refrence.

Next, make sure that you sit with each team member to discuss any outstanding or open issues that need to be completed before your departure. Often times people leave outstanding issues which can create havoc when you’re not available to discuss the issue, or to give insight on what is going on with a specific project. Remember to allow yourself time for team members to tell you what tasks they need you to complete before you leave. If at all possible, provide your team with a contact number where they can reach you, or call in from time to time to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

In the weeks prior to your departure do a “test run” to ensure that there are no outstanding questions from anyone covering your duties while you’re away. During this time, act as if you are not in the office and shadow your replacement as they complete your tasks. Any mistakes or hiccups will reveal if more detailed training is needed.

Creating a manual for your team will not only show your boss and team members that you care about the success of the company, but ultimately that you care about them. Any anxieties your boss may have prior to your departure will fade as you provide everyone with the tools necessary to function while you’re away.  If you begin preparing for your time off early these tips should be stress free and easy to accomplish.

 

Google Wave is Dead

Posted on August 9, 2010 by josh

Google recently announced that they will not continue to develop Google Wave as a standalone product. Back in November, 2009, I wrote my first impressions of Google Wave. I have to admit, at the time, I was incredibly excited to get a developer invite. I love to geek out and try new things (naturally I love to try new Google products). I fully expected to use it for collaborative efforts and projects; but honestly, I rarely logged in. The reason? Low adoption. This is the same reason that Google sited for discontinuing development. I wanted to like Google Wave, I even wanted to use Google Wave, but none of my friends or colleagues did. Even when I recommended it as a collaborative platform, others plainly said “No”, instead opting for something that was already comfortable for them.

Google Wave Logo

One of my developer friends, Matt, even said to me in one of my first Waves, “Google Wave will be one of Google's biggest flops yet. This is hopelessly worthless, inefficient, and out of touch. This is NOT what email would look like if we designed it today.” Though I disagree with Matt that Wave is “hopelessly worthless”, I do have to admit that it flopped. However, I have hope for future Google products though, and I can’t wait to see some of the real-time elements introduced to Google Apps.

 

 

Six Best iPad Apps for the Business Professional

Posted on August 2, 2010 by Josh Mc

As the resident Apple fan boy in the office I am constantly getting grief whenever Apple messes up, and let's just say these last few weeks have been tough (iPhone 4 grip of death anyone?). Having both an iPhone and a Macbook I wrote off the iPad as just an iPhone with a larger screen, but in the back of my mind I always secretly wanted to try it. About two weeks ago my appetite for new technology got the best of me; I took the plunge and got a 32 gig WiFi iPad. With over two weeks under my belt I honestly can say it was a good investment, not only for personal use but for the 8 hours a day I spend at the office. The app store is filled with apps that improve your productivity while at the same time giving you a pretty toy to show off to your co-workers. For those of you who are also business professionals and have just invested in the iPad, I decided to compile my top six favorite apps for the work place. Without further ado, here they are.

    1. Good Reader – I have downloaded many PDF readers on the iPad but none have worked as well as good reader. Good reader is perfect for reading long PDF’s as well as files that have been emailed to you. Where it really shines though, is its ability to download PDF’s straight from any online website instead of having to load them from your computer. At 99 cents it is one of the cheapest apps on the list and also one of the best.

 

    1. Air Display – Let’s face it, having a second monitor increases productivity. Air display understands that, and actually allows your iPad to double as a second monitor for your Apple computer (windows promised in the future) all for only $9.99. The truly amazing thing about this program is that it allows you to use the touch functionality on your iPad even when using it as a second monitor. Check out the video below. Now if only it allowed you to save directly to your iPad…

 

    1. Note Taker HD – As much as I like taking notes with my finger (not so much) I decided to invest in a stylus. Once I had the stylus it opened my iPad up to a whole new dimension. I can use it for everything from simple doodling to note taking in meetings, and Note Taker HD is my favorite note taking app I have used so far. Some of the features it has are allowing you to have multiple pages of notes, auto scrolling when you hit an edge and letting you change the size and color of your hand writing. These features plus others make it my go to note taking app.

 

    1. iWork Suite (includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote each for $9.99) – Getting a good office suite for any computer at 30 dollars is a steal, and the iWork suite is no different. If you have used these products before you understand they are more than a knockoff of Microsoft Word and Excel. On the iPad they really shine for a couple of reasons, one being their ease of use and two the ability to move them off of the iPad and on to your work computer. A set back is that Numbers does not currently export to an excel format, but I’m sure this will be fixed in later builds. A way around this is to use the iWork.com beta and upload your files to their service, from which you can then download them on any computer you would like.

 

    1. Dragon Dictation – By now I’m sure most people are familiar with Dragon and their excellent speech to text programs, and this app is no exception. There are many times when you wish you had a secretary that would copy down every word you said, for those times you now have Dragon Dictation. One big downside is it is only able to record for around a minute, but the program can be started and stopped multiple times. Also, did I mention the app is free? It is, and should be a definite download if you invest in the iPad.

 

    1. Analytics HD – Being in the SEO and Marketing department I can hardly turn on my computer before I’m looking at Google Analytics, and being able to do it on the iPad’s display really works well. While Analytics HD is missing many of the features I use on the computer version, I am happy to have quick access to the important numbers (Sales, Traffic and Views, etc.) whenever I require them.

 

Ok, I can’t leave without talking about a game. If you have an iPad, download Angry Birds, you will thank me two hours later when you realize you haven’t stopped playing (make sure it’s not during business hours).

If you browse around the Internet you can see many other blogs with this same theme and different app suggestions. This really goes to show the Apple iPad is starting to come into its own in a business niche. Business Insider wrote about them taking over the board room, and Michael Grey touched on how they can make your next presentation much easier. This product seems like it has been designed with a business user in mind and may indeed catch on in this market.

What do you think, have you bought Steve Jobs “magical” device yet? Do you have an app that didn’t make this list that you cannot live without?