David J. Redcliff

David J. Redcliff

Wednesday, 22 June 2016 03:13

Public Clouds Are the Future of Business

Google is in a war for the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) space, and at the moment it's pulling a distant third. Pitted against market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the high enterprise adoption of Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is making up the market share ground by using Big Data and machine learning to optimize data center performance.

Diane Greene, Google's SVP and chief of all things cloud and enterprise computing, believes we've only just begun to see what the cloud can do.

"IT is over a trillion-dollar industry, and if all that is moving to the cloud that means there's huge opportunity, and we're still early on," said Greene. "Amazon started talking about their [AWS] revenues a few years ago and people went whoa, this is a big business."

Greene is one of the founders of VMware, and served as CEO of the cloud, data center, and virtualized software company from 1998-2008. During the Wired Business Conference today, Greene was asked how big a factor machine learning will be to the future of average businesses. In response, she pointed to how Google offers these kinds of tools to businesses as open-source with projects like TensorFlow and through features like image recognition, speech recognition and translation, and other machine-learning tools as-a-service within GCP.

Google SVP and Former VMware CEO Diane Greene

"Technologies like machine learning are changing every industry, and the enterprise is getting more aggressive at adapting to new ways of doing things," said Greene. "We use it in our data centers to reduce power consumption. We use data on weather, load, cooling, etc. and adjust the pumps to save significant percentages of power. Machine learning is making that kind of power savings possible, and I think it will be used in every industry to simply do things better."

The Business Appeal of Public Clouds

In a cloud space where even a player like Samsung is positioning to move off AWS by buying container company Joyent, the question of what type of cloud infrastructure a business should invest in is more prevalent than ever. In the debate of public vs. private vs. hybrid clouds, Greene backed up her argument for public clouds by looking to security, scalability, and the sheer engineering power to innovate behind IaaS.

"The reality is that the cloud is suddenly evolving faster than anyone expected," said Greene. "People say they'll support hybrid clouds, but on-prem is going to be a shrinking industry going forward. Big public clouds are the most secure place to be."

Greene also said the shift to public clouds is more about organizational change than a culture change for businesses. Enterprises are dealing with a whole new model of doing business, and looking to companies like Google to figure out the quickest ways to adapt to changing markets and technology.

"Organizationally, it's a whole new game when you support a big enterprise customer," said Greene. "It's not the same old enterprise, because you're not selling a product and saying 'enjoy!' You're saying okay, let's work together. You put your products on this cloud and we'll help you run them really well, and as you come out with new products and we come out with new innovations, we'll work to optimize your business."


As far as catching up to and surpassing AWS and Azure, Greene said Google is actively partnering with enterprise companies and expanding its cloud ecosystem. Don't expect Google to pull a Microsoft and use big-budget acquisitions to expand its reach in the enterprise space, though.

"We were thinking of acquiring Oracle," said Greene. "I'm just kidding!"

Source:  http://www.pcmag.com/news/345354/google-public-clouds-are-the-future-of-business

Google has just updated how it determines your business’s local ranking.Another week, another step towards Google becoming a damn sight more transparent than we’re used to. If it wasn’t enough that Google revealed its top three ranking signals for organic search last Friday, this Friday it revealed a new ranking signal for local SEO… Prominence.

As noticed by Mike Blumenthal, and reported by SEJ over the weekend, Google has updated its Google My Business help page.

This resource details how you can improve your local rankings with practical guidance on keeping your business information complete and accurate (physical address, phone number, category), verifying your location(s), keeping your opening hours accurate and managing customer reviews.It also lists the ways in which Google determines your local ranking…

How Google ranks your business for local search


How well does your local listing match what someone is searching for? This is why you business information should always be fully detailed and accurate.


How close are you to the person searching for a particular term? Bear in mind that relevance will be the stronger signal. If a business is further away from a searcher’s location, but is more likely to have what they’re looking for than a business that’s closer, Google will rank it higher in local results.

Additionally, if a user doesn’t specify a location, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.And this weekend Google added another…


Basically… How well known is your business?

Here’s the exact wording on ‘prominence’ from Google…

Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.


Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.

Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.Your business’s overall organic search presence is a ranking factor when it comes to local.So ultimately, all of your regular, everyday SEO practices that you do to boost your rankings, whether on-page or off, apply to local.

Customer reviews

It’s also interesting to note that has Google confirmed that customer reviews and ratings are factored into local search ranking. (Although be warned that there was a ‘probably’ in the original text above.)

Experts always figured this was true anyway. Moz previosly found that review signals are 8.4% of the overall ‘local ranking pie’.


But again, it’s just nice to get confirmation on these things.

Source:   https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/04/04/how-does-google-determine-my-local-ranking/

By the end of 2017, Facebook’s messaging app will look a whole lot different. Apart from a better messaging experience, this may also mean the end of phone numbers as we know it.Facebook messaging products’ vice president David Marcus believes phone numbers will eventually become obsolete as a form of communication

In an interview with Time magazine, Marcus said he believes chat apps will become so popular that they will replace phone numbers.

“The real question is, in a couple of years if you will need a phone number on a business card? Or if you’ll need a business card at all for people to find you,” the Facebook executive said.

“It’s a profound change actually, and I believe it’s really happening. People used to call your house, they didn’t call you. And so we went from calling your house, to calling your number, to calling you for real. It’s an interesting evolution,” he added.Revealing Facebook’s ambitious plans for this year, Marcus said by the end of 2017, Facebook’s messaging app “will look a whole lot different.”

Apple introducing new iMessage features to take on competitors

Speaking about the new Facebook Messenger inbox layout, which will show information like your friends’ birthdays as well as which of your friends are active on Messenger at a given moment, he said, “We believe birthdays are actually a really important thing, especially for your close friends. Birthdays, for [most] of your friends, you’re probably more inclined to write on their Facebook page.”


However, in some cases, you might want to message your friends on their birthdays but may not want to disturb them by calling. That’s where Marcus believes Messenger’s ‘Active Now’ feature will come in handy. As opposed to phone calls and texting, which are involved processes, ‘Active Now’ feature ensures that the friend you want to talk is available to chat, he explained.

Responding to a query regarding introduction of a reaction tool in Messenger, like tapping on a piece of dialogue to like it similar to the one announced by Apple recently, Marcus said it is on their long wish list to make group messaging better.

There’s a football game hidden inside Facebook messenger

The Facebook executive also hinted at the possibility of rationalising notifications to differentiate between those from humans versus chat bots. However, Marcus held that most of the notifications that we receive are from friends and further, one can preview the notification to know what it is. But, “If there are lots of interactions that actually notify people a lot, we can mute these notifications, or we can group them. Right now it’s not a problem, it’s a hypothetical future problem,” he said.

With reference to his blog post from January, in which Marcus revealed that there are innovations coming to Messenger this year, he said voice and video calling feature to Messenger was the first step in that direction.

“We’re really intrigued by, what are the next forms of real time communication? So we’re thinking about how do we actually reinvent a little bit those real-time communications,” said Marcus. However, he refused to give any hint about what’s coming next.

There’s a football game hidden inside Facebook messenger

Further, he said, Facebook is also considering investing in making photo sharing inside Messenger better.

Apart from that, Facebook is also looking to make groups a lot better. “We just want to make sure groups are really easy to create, that everybody can be included in them, and that they’re easy to find. I think it’s a really good group product, but I think it can become an awesome group product,” he added.

Explaining why companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are making efforts to improve their chat apps, Marcus said one of the biggest factor is that people now spend more time on messaging apps than ever. Currently, over 900 million are on Messenger, while over a billion on WhatsApp. Marcus also said there was a time when SMS was a big thing. While it was instant and easy, he argued that in terms of capabilities SMS was very narrow.

Now, the prevalence of broadband connectivity on devices is allowing devices and operating systems to expand exponentially. “And as a result you can build compelling experiences inside messaging apps that solve a lot of the real problems, like the friction involved in downloading, installing and signing up for an app all the way to the shortfalls of the mobile web,” he added.

Source:  http://tribune.com.pk/story/1125313/facebook-going-kill-phone-number/

As expected, Apple has announced that its Siri digital assistant is coming to the Mac. The change means for the first time, people will have easy access to search from the macOS operating system — and search that isn’t Google.

Today, during its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple demonstrated how Siri will come to the next version of macOS — formerly OS X — the operating system that runs on Mac computers.

People running macOS “Sierra,” which comes out later this year, will be able to speak their queries to Siri and get information that goes beyond what the current built-in Spotlight search can do.

For instant, here’s a search Apple demonstrated today, speaking “search the web for pictures of falconry” to Siri, as shown below in a screen shot from the excellent live blog The Verge did of the WWDC keynote:

siri on mac

Notice how pictures from “web image search” results are shown. You can’t see in the screen shot, but these images come from Bing — something you can tell if you do the same search on an iPhone.

Now, compare that to what happens doing the same exact search on the Mac now:

Spotlight Search

No results at all. That’s because Spotlight search doesn’t search beyond the Mac. Occasionally, “Spotlight Suggestions” will appear that may route you to other sources like Wikipedia. But if they don’t for a particular search, there’s no way to continue on to the web or other sources off your computer.

It’s unclear if Spotlight search — which looks to remain an option alongside Siri — will allow you to also search beyond your Mac. On iOS, it does, and it would make sense for that to finally follow on the Mac.


The change means more potential exposure for Bing, Yelp and other partners that Siri taps into. It also further locks Google out of the Apple search ecosystem, as it isn’t a default Siri partner (though telling Siri explicitly to search Google on iOS does work and likely will for the Mac).

Google still remains the default for Safari. Last year, many expected that Apple might not renew with Google, as its deal was expected to be up. While no announcement ever came, clearly the deal is continuing.

Google might also have a new in. Apple has announced that Siri will open to developer integration, and Google might find ways to tap into that.

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/siri-comes-to-mac-251713

In December 2015, I interviewed an anti-revenge-porn activist who went to war against Hunter Moore, the “king of revenge porn.” Moore had hosted nude photos of her daughter, K, on his site. He hacked the photos from K’s email account, and their release caused her pain and humiliation. “I will carry the trauma of this experience with me for the rest of my life,” K said in court, during Moore’s sentencing. For his part, Moore—who once called himself a “professional life-ruiner”—was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

When I wrote about the case, I decided not to use K’s name, only her first initial. Her mother is well known and the media has written about her a lot, so because of that attention, K’s name has also appeared many times in the press.

At this point, K is very publicly associated with Moore’s case. If you’re curious to see her full name, her age, her headshot, her IMDb page, just get on Google. She aspires to be an actress, and the search results tied to Moore are not the ones she wants for the rest of her life. I won’t contribute to the problem. It’s why I redacted her name in my original article, and why I’m continuing that practice here. K deserves to be forgotten.

By practicing a sort of reverse search-engine optimization, we can participate in a better, nicer, more ethical internet. 

In the early 1990s, internet luminary John Gilmore famously said, “The net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” In an age where social networks reign and have a say over what can or cannot be said online, this rule is no longer an absolute, but it rings true in many instances. Remove one torrent of the latest Game of Thrones episode, and another ten will spring up in its place. The internet does not like to forget.

In the European Union, this has led to the “right to be forgotten”—a legal right that people can exercise against search engines, forcing them to remove outdated or inaccurate information. It sprang from a case in Spain in which an old, irrelevant news story about an attorney’s financial embarrassments lingered in his Google search results, years after his circumstances had changed. A court ultimately forced Google to delist the news story from its search results. In 2015, Google reported receiving more than 400,000 right-to-be-forgotten requests. The company granted about 40 percent of them.

The worst-case scenario, of course, is that someone like Moore can potentially use the “right to be forgotten” to erase his misdeeds from history. And in the UK, it has been abused to censor embarrassing stories about public figures. The public has a right to know and to remember when people commit serious wrongs. But the internet doesn’t just remember scandal, corruption, and crime—it also remembers addresses, phone numbers, financial information, embarrassing photographs, and juvenile drama. Most of us have photos from freshman year of college we’d rather never see again, but they persist on Facebook in perpetuity. That’s nothing compared to the Google search problems faced by people like K, who, in her quest to have her nude photos removed from the internet, may have linked her name with the term “revenge porn” forever.

The world wide web is a magnificent library of knowledge, linked together by machine-readable text that can be crawled by search engines. Through sites like Google, you can penetrate an unimaginably dense world of words; websites, blogs, and articles that would otherwise remain obscure can easily be found.

In most cases, this is a good thing. We have never had this much knowledge and information available to us at once. It also means that an argument, which in the real world would have dissipated in a flash, can last forever. A single blog post can dog someone’s reputation for years.

To be fair, sometimes this is justified—for example, no matter how much money University of California, Davis, spends to remove online mentions of the incident, we shouldn’t forget that campus police pepper-sprayed student protesters in the face in 2011.

Still, there are many private people who simply don’t have a lot of search-engine hits for their name, and even a fly-by negative mention will float to the top, just because there isn’t much else. I’m not interested in being part of someone’s search-engine hell, and I imagine most decent people aren’t either.


Let’s set aside the legal “right to be forgotten” and think instead about the baseline of decency we want for ourselves—the kindness of forgetting. By practicing a sort of reverse search-engine optimization—refusing to supply the machine-readable text that makes search engines tick—we can participate in a better, nicer, more ethical internet. 

Source:  http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-kindness-of-letting-the-internet-forget?trk_source=recommended 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 05:10

Tips to Effective Internet Searching

Simple Keys To Search the Internet More Effectively:

1. Read the Help or Tips Menu

Know your Search Tool. What is the difference between a search directory and a search engine? The Help or Tips Menu will provide valuable information about how to perform an effective search. If you have not looked at Help, Tips, or other guides, you are probably not making the best use of the search tool.

2. Prepare to Search

Think about what you are looking for. Create a list of search terms that you can work with. Consider what is the best search tool for the job. Again, know your search tool--which one will find what you are looking. Do you want to use a search engine like Alta Vista or would you rather use a directory like Yahoo?
Table Matching What Your Search May Need with Search Tool Features
3. Start Simple and Take Advantage of the Search Tool

When you begin a search, use the simple mode to enter search terms.
Some of the major tools like Alta Vista, AskJeeves, and others have designed the simple mode for ease of use. Natural language searching, links to RealName and DirectHit for finding major sites, and other features like Lycos' First and Fast retrieve good results with minimal expertise. Although the advanced modes offers more control, the simple mode often offers an better results when beginning a search.
Refrain from entering a search with + and -, Boolean and, or, and not, parenthetical expressions such as Cleveland and (Indians or Tribe), and other advanced features before you have simply entered the search term or terms. If you are searching a phrase, however, the " " around the search will generally lead to better results (see #10).

4. Use Both the Advanced and the Simple Modes of Search Tools

A common misconception is that Advanced Search is for "advanced searchers." However, the information that you are looking for often dictates how you will search. Learning to work with the Advanced Search modes does not take much more time or energy to learn to use, and it allows you to work with more search options and retrieve sites that are more relevant.

5. Use Unique Terms When Possible to Retrieve More Specific Results

Search tools use language to retrieve results. The words you choose will determine the information you find. Since some terms generally have one or more meanings, less than perfect results are common when searching the internet. Try to use words that are specific and describe what you are looking for in unique ways. The "Clustering" or "Folders" feature in search tools such as Teoma, WiseNut, and All the Web and the "Refine" feature in Alta Vista can provide other terms to use when searching.
6. Use the Directories in Search Tools or Subject Directories

Directories, such as what is used by Yahoo, are available on most search tools and help organize sites into categories. Use these categories to focus your search. These search tool directories differ from the "guru" subject directories sites such as Digital Librarian and INFOMINE which list sites that are hand-picked by an individual or groups of individuals who maintain the site.

7. Use More than One Search Tools

Not all search tools are alike. A search will produce radically different results depending upon the tool used. Each tool has strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of the strengths and use tools to your advantage. If you want to see this in action, try doing the same search on different tools. Compare the first ten sites retrieved by each tool. Viva la differance!


8. Use the MetaSearch Tools and Natural Language Tools to Begin and/or Refine a Search

MetaSearch tools, such as Ixquick Metasearch, Vivísimo, ProFusion, SurfWax, and others, search multiple tools simultaneously and are good tools to begin your research. Although the results are rarely as good as using an individual search tool, metasearchers are an excellent way to explore a topic and gather keywords and other information. After using a MetaSearch tool, refine the search by using the available features specific to each individual search tools.
Natural language searching, available on many tools such as AskJeeves, Alta Vista, and others allows a search to be formulated into a question. Translating a search into a question often helps to you refine the type of information you want to retrieve.

9. Use Capitalization When Appropriate or to Refine a Search

Not every search tool is case sensitive. However, you will not be penalized by using capitalization for a search such as "Martin Luther King" or "Southern Oregon University Library." Capitalization will often retrieve sites that have the search term in the title--this tactic is especially useful when searching for a terms that are not capitalized unless they are in a title (eg. Computers rather than computers).

10. Use Quotations or Other Symbols to Specify a Phrase

Search tools do not know whether a search is for "lesson" or "plans." The default is typically lesson or plans in simple searching. Use quotations to surround a phrase such as "lesson plans." However, again a word of caution, when using simple modes in some databases like Alta Vista, searching with quotation will often produce less effective results.

11. Keep Wading to a Minimum: Size of the Search Tool Does Not Matter

If you have not found what you are looking for in the first 20 to 50 sites, give it up and go no further. Either reformulate your search or try another search tool. Creativity is often the key to reformulating or rephrasing a search.

The discussion of how many pages are indexed in any particular search tools is generally discussed and in dispute. For the most part, this discussion is a moot point other than when trying to choose a tool for two reasons:

No one search engine is best. A sophisticated search requires many search tools.
The number of relevant sites is more important than the number of sites searched.

12. Use Find or Ctrl-F to Help Navigate Search Results

Often it is difficult to understand why a site is retrieved in a search. The Find or Ctrl-F feature will quickly allow you to search the text of a site and locate specific keywords. 

Source:  http://hanlib.sou.edu/searchtools/searchtips.html 

I am not a trained marketer. Yet I've been the chief marketer and run major teams for major brands. At my last in-house role, I took a company from 45 million to 100 million users, and was on the executive team during its acquisition for nearly half a billion dollars.

As a result, I recently had the honor of being asked to give the commencement address at my alma mater. As I was thinking about the advice I would give to my younger self, I couldn’t help but think of the career advice I give over and over again to early-career leaders, entrepreneurs and executives, in marketing and otherwise.

I thought I’d share.

What makes me great as a marketer is that I am fixated on being a great leader. I used to be a Lone Ranger type. As I matured, I realized that as a marketing leader -- as a business leader, period -- you can’t do anything big without an on-fire, whip-smart team. So I study, then practice and practice and practice, everything about leading and inspiring brilliant people. I study and practice creating conditions conducive to their brains doing their best work, and creating cultures that attract the geniuses I work with. I urge you to do the same. And to read "Boundaries for Leaders."

Do not become one of those bitter marketers or “creatives” constantly railing against data and metrics. Don't fight the waves. Learn to surf. Beautiful, sensual, emotional stories without outcomes and data? That's called art. I love art. But that's not marketing. 

Learn about business. Study Lean Methodology and apply it to your content and marketing programs. Read "The Lean Startup." Get very conversant in data -- especially content performance data. Cut through the noise and figure out what few data points really matter in understanding how your programs are moving the business.

Learn how to interpret them to get insight into what makes your Customers do what they do. Then constantly tweak and align your marketing to your Customers and what they want. Not what they should want, or what you want them to want. What they actually want to have happen in their real lives. Seriously, read "The Lean Startup."

Exercise Buddhist detachment from your content, your programs, even tough work relationships. Do more of what works, what inspires, what transforms. When it's not working, fix it fast or stop doing it. Acknowledge, commemorate and keep it moving. Get those resources back and reinvest them into the programs, campaigns or people that bear fruit.

Learn how to make business cases. If you can't ever get the resources to do what you need to do, you will get frustrated and bitter and you won't get the results you want. I was a consultant for much of my career, and the skill of making the business case for everything I propose to do helped become a clear, thoughtful thinker and strategist. This served me exceedingly well as an executive and in my in-house roles. Learning how to sell in your work and how to get is a necessary part of being a great marketer. Read "The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals."

Learn about humanity. Behavior change. Why people do what they do. Study behavioral economics. Neuroplasticity. How people get stuck. How they get unstuck. How they stay unstuck. Read "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business." Read "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength." Read "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness."

Become an expert on story and narrative. Literally study it, don't just use the word "story" all the time. Understand character, plot, conflict, climax. Take James Patterson's MasterClass on Writing. Read "The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories." 

Don't fixate on the channel. It's not about Instagram or Snapchat. Getting to product-market fit, getting people to care about what you do, that’s never about the channel. And, in fact, there will always be a new channel. If you understand human motivation, story and business strategy, you will be able to create products and content people care about, regardless of what the new digital channel of the day is.

Prioritize ruthlessly. Almost no one can work on three, really big, important priorities at a time. Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is almost always a signal to revisit and double-down on prioritization. This mostly means making hard decisions that you can’t do awesome things you would love to do, because that would distract or take resources away from The Actual Most Important Thing.

Don't work on products or for companies that you don't find interesting. And really, by that I mean work only for companies you believe are out to solve real, human-scale problems that would make the world work better for your customers, even if the product itself isn't quite there yet or if you aren't personally the target audience for the product. If I don't leave the first meeting with a company talking to my friends about how intriguing the product or the vision or the people are, I generally don't work on it. 

Don't work for people you don't find inspiring or don't think you can learn from. You don't necessarily have to like them. But you should believe working with them will expand your capacity for greatness and your skills.

On the other hand, don’t overrule gut misgivings about hiring people, either. You should be excited about learning from those who report to you, too. And don’t expect others to work with you unless you will help them grow, too.

Make it your goal to leave the people in your wake -- your employees, teammates, peers, bosses and especially your customers, better off than than they were when they came into contact with you. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. It can be as small as saying something encouraging at every opportunity. (Without blowing smoke.)

Study integrity. Decide to do whatever it takes to be a whole person with the capacity to face and handle the real facts of every situation. Read Henry Cloud’s "Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality."

If you work in marketing or product, understand your brief as a starting point in the conversation about what you should be working on. Don’t just accept a brief that doesn’t make sense (or isn’t appropriately resourced) from the start. In particular, push back if what you’ve been asked to do is not the thing that will actually solve the business issue. Don’t just push back, though, propose what will solve the issue and be able to explain your thinking as to why -- even if it’s never been done before.

Develop the practice of being still and thoughtful every day, for a moment. If you can journal or walk every day, that’s even better. Allow yourself to listen to that still, small voice that comes up all the time -- the more you honor it, the more it will whisper creativity, energy, wisdom and clear direction your way.

Occasionally, in times of transition, it will also whisper “I’m scared” or “I don’t know how to do this next thing” or “Wow I feel like an imposter in this situation.” Build the habit of interpreting that as a signal that you’re on the right track. 

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276228 

When it comes to getting major influencers to help with your marketing efforts, you can be embarking down a treacherous path. While it’s crucial to on-board folks who have a lot of sway with your market, you have to be careful not to rub them the wrong way.

In some cases, it can be just as easy to either get ignored by the influencers altogether, or goad them into giving you the wrong kind of marketing. With that in mind, here are four do’s and four don’t’s to pay attention to when you are trying to get influencers to help market your product.

1. Do choose your influencers wisely.

First, and probably most importantly, is to choose the right influencers to reach out to. You want to make sure their following is actually part of your market. That way, your message gets conveyed to people who will actually have an interest in what you’re promoting.

For example, in 2010 when author Shel Horowitz published his 10th book, "Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green," he quickly identified that the appropriate influencers for his market would be newsletter publishers, bloggers, best-selling authors and the like. He reached out to these influencers, and saw tremendous results from the campaign.

Based on a Google search showing 1,070,000 responses for an exact-match search for the book title, I estimate that at least 5,000,000 people were exposed to the campaign (that would be a very low average of five people seeing each page).

Also, remember that bigger isn’t always better. Victor Ricci of Trend Pie says that “targeting the big name social celebrities is nice but doesn’t always have the best results. When looking to get the lowest CPI, engagement is much more important than follower count.”

2. Do amplify influencer messages.

Influencers are often under tremendous pressure to drive traffic to their message, so anything you can do to help them do that will be noticed and greatly appreciated. You should find an influencer you greatly admire, and start amplifying their content by sharing it on your own social media networks. Be sure to tag the influencer so he or she knows what you’re doing.

Digital marketing entrepreneur Spencer X. Smith found out just how powerful this courtship could be when he began sharing articles by Cheryl Conner of Forbes. He would share her stories on LinkedIn and Twitter, always providing his own thoughts about the piece and how his audience might use it. As a result of his efforts, Conner actually contacted Smith to be the subject of a feature article at Forbes.

3. Do offer influencers something to entice them.

Sometimes, just building the relationship might not be enough. Many influencers need something a bit more tangible than just you sharing their message, so you need to entice them. This could take the form of a charitable donation in the influencer’s name or something more along the lines of helping the influencer get even more exposure.

For example, Cloudways struggled at first to get influencers to promote its new cloud hosting management platform. They pitched a list of influencers one at a time, and were either ignored or told they were being too pushy. While part of this might be a lack of relationship-building first, what finally worked for Cloudways tells “the rest of the story.”

Cloudways reached out to influencers again, this time inviting them to be interviewed for the company’s blog. This got the attention of several influencers, especially mid-level ones and the response was strong enough that Cloudways has published more than 120 interviews and has created a community that loves the company’s product and talks about it often.

4. Do use an evangelical approach.

Remember who you’re approaching. Top influencers respond to a different kind of value propositions than regular users. While regular users respond to quantitative value propositions like “cheaper,” “smaller,” or “faster,” top influencers are more interested in qualitative value propositions. This is where you’ll use words like “revolutionary,” “breakthrough,” and “game-changing.” Influencers want to be involved in exciting ventures, so you need to attract their attention with engaging text.

Rick Carlile, the founder of Aegora.com, the Professional Marketplace, used a very evangelical approach in trying to attract influencers to come on board. As a result of his influencer marketing campaign, Aegora.com was able to attract around 500 high-quality signups to the site, a tremendous number in a highly competitive niche.


5. Don’t spam influencers with follow ups.

Yes, you should follow up with your influencer, but don’t be obnoxious about it. This means having a bit of patience, since most influencers are very busy people and may not have an opportunity to reply to your email in just a day or two. If you don’t hear back from the influencer within a week, then it’s probably safe to send a follow up email.

Adarsh Thampy, CEO of LeadFerry, points out that you have to walk a fine line between persistence and pushiness. Thampy suggests you should send no more than two follow ups, with at least a week’s gap in between, to maximize your chances of success. Remember, though, not to be pushy:

It goes without saying. But influencers are humans too. Do you feel like doing something if someone you barely know acts pushy? No. When you face resistance, let it go.

6. Don’t forget to build influencer relationships.

Remember our suggestion in the do’s section about courting your influencer? This is crucial, because it builds a relationship with them before you even think about asking them for help. Failing to build that relationship first will mean you come across as being spammy and pushy.

Chris Boulas, the founder and president of digital marketing firm Formulytic, has built businesses from $5 million to more than $30 million in revenue, largely on the back of influencer marketing. Boulas points out how you can go about developing a relationship first:

Business is about give and take, so don’t approach influencers with a take-only mindset. Be ready to provide value in return. Do you have a skill, idea or feedback on an influencer’s business? Apply your skill or share your ideas for free and provide value upfront first. 

7. Don’t forget to set influencer guidelines.

How does your influencer reach out to his or her following? Through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or some other medium? Make sure you have specific guidelines in place for how you should be promoted and especially tagged, to generate the maximum exposure possible.

For example, Lindsay White of Lot801 Marketing points out that Instagram has recently made it possible to tag images. As a result of that, many influencers are only tagging people in the images when they are working with brands. This is a major problem, White points out:

"No one taps on the photo anymore to see who they tagged. But, they will read the captions. If your influencers aren’t tagging you in the caption, you’re missing out on some serious sales and social media followers. Since we’ve made this a requirement when working with any influencers, our sales are about 30 percent higher than if they didn’t tag us in both the caption and photo… along with an increase of about 50 percent in sales."

8. Don’t rely solely on the influencer for buzz.

Marketing almost has to take a multi pronged approach, so make sure you don’t get tunnel vision. You cannot rely just on the influencer to generate the buzz that will make your campaign successful. Consider the influencer just a piece of the puzzle, albeit a possibly big piece.

Marc Nashaat, of Powered by Search, stresses the importance of this multifaceted approach. He points out that at the same time you are building your influencer network, you should also be identifying the people or publications that cover your campaign topic or the engagements of your influencer. Do outreach to them to help “seed” your influencer-based marketing campaign.

Run a great influencer marketing campaign.

With these tips under your belt, you should be able to successfully attract the right influencers to help you with your marketing efforts. Just remember to be yourself, and follow the advice of folks who have been doing influencer marketing with great success for many years. 

Source:   https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275923


If the majority of your digital marketing is aimed at boosting your rankings on Google search results, contributor Eric Enge contends you might want to rethink your priorities.

Google market share in the US currently stands at 63.8 percent, with Bing (including Yahoo’s search volume) coming in at 33.5 percent, according to January 2016 comScore data. This makes Bing a credible competitor to Google in the US, but the story is quite different internationally, where Google is dominant in nearly every country, other than China (Baidu), Russia (Yandex), Korea (Naver) and the Czech Republic (Seznam).

Google is the big dog in traditional search, but it would be wrong to think that is the end of the story, as Google faces competition on many different fronts.

In today’s post, I review Google’s “other competitors” to illustrate how this shapes Google’s view of the world and how this view impacts your digital marketing strategy.

What business is Google in?

First, though, let’s establish some context by discussing what business Google is in. Most of us think of Google as a “search engine,” and we tend to think of that as a website where you go to a search box and enter a search query. For some of us, the definition has evolved to include using voice search commands to execute a search.

However, if you look at Google’s About page, here is the famous quote that anyone who follows the world of search has seen many times: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

This suggests that the search engines themselves hold a somewhat broader view of what they do — one that isn’t tied to a search box, or even the use of search commands in one given application.

This is a topic that I’ve discussed many times with Bing’s Senior Strategy Director, Stefan Weitz, over the years, and he has repeatedly told me how search functionality is something that will be embedded into everything, rather than being something that you access by going to a special place (like a website). In other words, search functionality will be distributed everywhere.

Now let’s broaden that to think about it from a user perspective. What do users want? They want a way to get what they’re searching for. That’s it. As you will see during the course of today’s post, users have many different ways to do that today.


Amazon vs. Google

Amazon may not be the first company you think of as a competitor to Google, but that’s not the way Google sees it. In Berlin in 2014, Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, had this to say: “Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon.” The main area of competition for these two companies is product searches.

Amazon vs. Google

The New York Times sourced data on the market share for product search as follows:

Forrester Research found that a third of online users started their product searches on Amazon, compared to 13 percent who started their search from a traditional search site. ComScore found that product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year, while shopping searches on Google have been flat.

In some specific markets, Amazon share is even higher, according to a report in The Week, which said that as of October 2015, “Amazon accounts for over 40 percent of book sales, and over 60 percent of online sales.”

So when it comes to the product shopping space, Google is in second place and struggling to catch up.

Apple vs. Google

Eric Schmidt has cited other competition along the way. For example, in an interview with Bloomberg, he indicated that the competition with Apple is the “defining fight of the computer industry.”

Apple vs. Google

From a numbers perspective, it may not always look that way, as “Android currently holds around 84.7 percent of the market, compared to Apple’s 11.7 percent. Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry OS and other operators make up around 3.6 percent,” according to a report that appeared when Schmidt made that statement. From this viewpoint, Apple may not seem like a huge threat to Google, but you can’t ignore the pressure that Apple places on Google via its constant push toward innovation.

Then there is Apple’s support for ad blocking in iOS 9. Ad blockers arguably improve the user experience, especially on mobile devices, as they block content from loading. These happen to block ads from Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers and Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange, the web’s largest ad exchange. These are direct assaults on Google’s revenue.

The worrisome part of ad blockers to me is that publishers need a way to monetize the content they produce; otherwise, they’ll no longer be able to create great content. Will ad blocking kill the web? Probably not entirely, but it could change web publishing in fundamental ways, and it could drive a major shift toward native advertising.

Of course, both Apple and Facebook have built publishing platforms (Apple News Articles and Facebook Instant Articles) where content can be published on their proprietary platform, and content published on these wouldn’t be subject to ad blocking. Hence, content creators may focus more and more of their energy in these areas and start relying less and less on the traditional web for their income.

Facebook vs. Google

Facebook is widely accepted as a major competitor to Google. From a mobile ad market share perspective, Facebook and Google combined make up more than 50 percent of the overall market, according to an eMarketer report from last year, with Google getting the largest portion, at about 33 percent, and Facebook at 19 percent. At that level, they may not seem like direct competitors. But the competitive picture is much broader than that.

Facebook vs. Google

For example, when it comes to driving traffic to a website as part of a news cycle, Facebook is king. The following data from Chartbeat shows Facebook dwarfing Google as a referrer of traffic to The Atlantic for its news story, “What ISIS Really Wants

Facebook Dominates Traffic to News Sites

This data is supported by a 2015 study performed by Parse.ly which showed that “the social network passed Google as the leading source of referral traffic in June and in July extended its lead to three percentage points, 38.2 percent to 35.2 percent.” Note that this study was focused on Parse.ly clients, which consist of many news sites, including Fox News, Telegraph Media Group, Mashable, Business Insider, Condé Nast, The Atlantic and Reuters.

Then there is the world of apps. Recent comScore data suggests that users spend 44 percent of all their digital media time in apps.

44% of All Digital Media Time Spent in Apps

That’s an incredible move away from the web, and it reflects the fact that apps can often offer a far better experience online than websites can (particularly if you view mobile website development as the practice of taking a desktop site and crushing it down into a smaller form factor).

Both Facebook and Google have seen this coming, as you can see in the following graphic:

Top 10 Installed Apps

The top six apps — and eight of the top nine — are from Facebook and Google. This looks like a solid head-to-head fight, but it’s one where Facebook has the lead. Having an app installed isn’t the only metric that matters — usage level matters a lot, too. To illustrate, of those that have the Facebook app installed, a full 48 percent consider it their number one app.

In addition, WhatsApp hit 1 billion users as of February 2016, and Facebook Messenger reached 800 million users as of January 2016. These numbers are well beyond where they were at the time comScore compiled the data in the prior chart, so Facebook’s share here is growing fast.

In addition, as I’ll discuss in the next section, asking your friends for advice remains the single most trusted source of information for users, and doing that is easier than it has ever been in human history.


Messaging/texting vs. Google

In September of 2015, Nielsen published data that showed that 83 percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family. Second place? That was advertising on branded websites, which came in at 70 percent. That’s a big gap.

Texting vs. Google

So just how prevalent is text messaging overall? Teckst.com collected some stats from numerous sources that shows the mind-blowing truth of the matter:

According to Pew Internet, texting is the most widely used and frequently used app on a smartphone, with 97 percent of Americans using it at least once a day.

According to Portio Research, people worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in this year alone. That’s almost 23 billion messages per day, or almost 16 million messages per minute.
Per Forrester, more than 6 billion SMS text messages are sent in the US each day.
Data from Mobile Marketing Watch shows that SMS text messages have a 98 percent average open rate, while email has only a 20 percent average open rate.

Per Connect Mogul, the average person responds to a text message in 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for an email, and 90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of their delivery.
What this means is that one of the most severe forms of competition for Google is people simply asking their friends. The trust level is very high, and the response time is fast. If the search engine doesn’t provide good results, or it gets too laden with ads, well, there’s an easy alternative!

Competition and its impact

Google remains the dominant search box worldwide, but that isn’t its greatest challenge. Most market dominant players aren’t toppled due to being beaten at their own game — they’re beaten by changes in the rules of the game. This is where the challenges for Google lie. Messaging/texting, Google, Amazon and Apple are all posing real challenges to Google.


So yes, if Google provides a not-so-great answer in its SERPs, a searcher might go to Bing, but there are also many other places where users might go to get their answer. This creates an enormous amount of pressure on Google from a search quality perspective. It also keeps Google from going too far with commercialization of the results.

For marketers, this means that SEO remains an important way to obtain search traffic, but you may also need to consider the other parts of your digital marketing strategy:

Amazon SEO: Do you have a strategy for scaling your sales on Amazon?

Native advertising: If web advertising is under assault by ad blockers, what else can you do to promote yourself on the web? Native advertising is likely to be a major beneficiary of this trend.
Facebook advertising: There is a lot going on within Facebook, and its targeting capabilities are very impressive. This applies to a lesser degree on other social media sites, too.

Apps: If 44 percent of all digital media time is spent on apps, that means some of your customers are here. Should you develop an app? Some businesses should, but the question also should be, what’s your strategy for showing up within the apps of third parties?

Branding: Friends usually make recommendations for the products and services they like best. Are you the solution that they’re likely to recommend?

The web is diversifying in significant ways, and you should, too.

Source: http://searchengineland.com/competitive-threats-google-means-249772

With Bing's latest educational resource, students have access to details for each of the elements right from the search result page.

Bing is finding its way into the hearts of chemistry enthusiasts and high school students everywhere with its latest educational resource. The site has added a fully interactive, color-coded periodic table that shows up at the top of its results for a search on “periodic table.”

The interactive table includes features like the “Physical State,” “Discovered,” “Found on Earth” and “Density” tabs across the top, and its own search box where users can enter the name or symbol of an element to locate it.

Bing periodic table search result

Other features include a slider on the “Physical States” table to show how the elements change with the temperature and a timeline slider on the “Discovery” tab that quickly shows when elements were discovered.

Hovering over an element will display the element’s individual properties.

Bing periodic table element hover

Clicking on an element within the table leads to a search for that specific element with a direct answer box listing more detailed information.

Bing periodic table element result

This new feature comes days after Bing rolled out its interactive solar system.


As part of the announcement, Bing included a link to its full list of educational resources: Bing’s educational tools.

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/bing-periodic-table-search-returns-full-table-image-directly-in-search-results-244270

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