• Siri Puts a Second "S" in SEO, Part 2

    by Chris Wallace | Apr 27, 2012

    In part one of this series, we discussed the phenomenon of intelligent digital agents, and their significance in the future of our computing experience.

    In this second installment we’ll discuss ways to start incorporating mobile thinking into your SEO strategy.

    Tips on how to Optimize SEO for Siri:

    1) Tailor Keywords and Metadata to Natural Language.

    Think about how people may ask for information in a conversation. “What’s the new Cantonese place in Chinatown” is semantically different from “Chinese Food, Philadelphia”.

    2) Location Optimization.

    Make sure that your address and contact information are displayed on every page on your site so your content is associated with both you and your locale. Also of value is submitting your business to services like Yelp, Google Places, Angie’s List, and other localized directories. This is your best shot to be recognized as that pizza place around the corner.

    3) Utilize Rich Snippets.

    These are really just highly specific meta tags (called schema tags) with properties that can help Search Agents easily determine details about your business. For instance, Professional Service organizations can include contact points, employees, location, founding date, and more. For a full list of what Rich Snippets can do, check this out

    4) Be Social.

    When you ask Siri a question, she does not just hit Google and return the top result. Rather, Siri queries its own servers that are fed from any number of sources (only Apple knows for sure). What is clear is that Siri’s servers index and include social sources of information like Yelp, Foursquare, Google Places, Epinions, TravelPost, and others. Making a concerted effort to promote yourself on these platforms can only serve to expand your reach, whereas neglecting this in favor of putting all your efforts into manipulating Google Search results may yield lowered returns in the future.

    5) Develop a Mobile Optimized Site.

    It may seem obvious, but as of 2011, 79% of online advertisers do not have a mobile optimized site. With smartphones now comprising roughly 60% of total mobile ownership in the US, some of our clients have seen as much as a 300% increase in site visits from mobile devices from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011. Going through the trouble of optimizing for intelligent search agents means little if users abandon your site due to bad mobile usability.

    Keeping up with the pace of technological advancements in marketing can be challenging, but that’s why we are here. If you have any questions, or want to talk about how Social Media, Mobile Optimization and SEO can impact your business, feel free to drop me a line or give me a ring.

  • Siri Puts a Second "S" in SEO, Part 1

    by Chris Wallace | Jan 13, 2012

    If you have watched TV or touched the web in the past 3 months, you’ve probably seen the iPhone 4S, which boasts an intelligent “personal assistant” named Siri. Siri is a bold step forward in natural language processing, allowing users to access many features of the iPhone by speaking as you would to a person. Siri can get you directions, write and send emails, calculate your tip, even remind you to call your Mom.


    Siri’s capabilities go far beyond voice recognition, which has been around for years. Siri heralds a shift in how we search for and filter information – by using an intelligent digital agent. Some might call it Web 3.0 or the semantic web. Nomenclature aside, what’s important is the effect it will have on your findability on the web, and ultimately, your bottom line.

    In the 90’s, Google, Yahoo and others (remember WebCrawler?) brought Search to the forefront of computing. The vastness of information online became more manageable and relevant to the user. By the turn of the millennium, Search Engine Optimization had become a burgeoning business practice as people devised ways to manipulate websites to favor search engine results. Now, 10 years later, SEO and content marketing are at least standard practice and at worst an arms race. Businesses who do not prioritize SEO see diminished returns online.

    Siri, and her inevitable descendants, have the potential to change how information is indexed and consumed, and we need to understand how to prepare for it. As computing moves to increasingly mobile and personalized environments, users require greater relevance. Mobile search has grown by 400% in the past year alone, and 1 in 3 of those searches has local intent (source: Google).

    When I search for a pizza shop on my mobile device, I don’t want just any pizza shop. I want one around the corner. Soon, I will ask my digital assistant for the closest pizzeria and she will get me what I am looking for. The point is, if a digital agent like Siri is doing the searching, web content will need to be formatted so that it can be easily indexed by those agents.

    Stay Tuned.

    In part 2 of this blog, we’ll address how to optimize for Siri and other intelligent digital agents. In the meantime, if you have any questions or want to talk about how Mobile Optimization can impact your business, feel free to drop us a line,

  • Google Instant: Raising the Bar on Search Engine Optimization

    by Jim Auer | Sep 15, 2010

    Late last week, Google introduced a new search technology that immediately changed organic search marketing. Google Instant is a major leap forward in predictive search functionality, going beyond suggesting search terms to streaming results as users enter each letter of their keywords. Google Instant allows users to search as they type; Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of Search Products, described it as “search before you type.”

    Google Instant increases the challenges for SEO. Users now see results as they enter each letter of their keyword, and the results can change with each successive letter entered. Previously, users entered their keywords and then clicked the SEARCH button to see results. Every user that entered similar keywords received the same results, and the rankings were the same. Google Instant provides feedback to users as they type, enabling them to modify their searches on the fly. Each searcher will now see different results for similar keywords. Continuously modifying keywords means that users will no longer see the same results, and increases the complexity of optimizing pages for specific keywords.

    Google Instant will also increase competition for ranking on the first page. Users can now scan the streaming results to determine if their keywords will return the information they want. Rather than viewing a few pages of results before making this decision, users simply scan the top of the first page to decide if the results meet their needs. Pages ranked in the top positions will be all that some users consider, and competition for these positions will increase significantly.

    Trellist continues to monitor Google Instant, along with industry analysis and commentary on it, to enable us to help our clients compete more effectively within this new search technology. The question that all marketers must ask is, are they ready for Google Instant?

  • Google to Allow Use of Trademarks in AdWords Text Ads

    by Jim Auer | May 20, 2009

    Google has announced a major shift in its policy on the use of trademarked names in paid search ad copy.  Beginning June 15th, advertisers will be allowed to use trademarked names in their ad text, with some restrictions. This change is causing concern among brand marketers.

    In the past, Google has barred advertisers from using trademarked names in their ad copy unless they own the trademark or have permission from the trademark owner.  Many resellers, even those authorized by the trademark owner, could not satisfy Google’s demands for proving they had permission to use the trademark.  This prevented them from listing the brands they carry.

    What does this change mean specifically?  A search today for “LCD monitors” triggers many ads from online retailers, but most of these ads do not mention brand names.  The ads make generic claims such as “low prices on brand names” and “many brands to choose from.”   Google’s new policy will allow retailers to list brand names in their ads - “We carry all brands of monitors — Samsung, Dell, Viewsonic, and more.”

    Impact on Brands

    Google’s change in policy has the potential to create serious consequences for brand marketers. Marketers who sell through both direct and reseller channels will need to increase their advertising spend as they will be bidding against resellers for their own brand names. They will need to bid higher to have their ads appear in a top 5 position.

    This can also have a significant effect on brand image. Paid search advertisers will be able to position a brand based on their own strategies. Enabling others to control a brand can have serious consequences on the value of the brand, and can quickly erode its value.  How many exposures of an ad stating “Hermes Handbags – Cheap!” will it take before that prestigious brand image starts to decline?

    How will Google’s changes affect your business?  Will you be competing with resellers? Do you risk of losing control of your brand?  We’d like to know.

  • Google’s Entrée into Behavioral Marketing

    by Jim Auer | Mar 11, 2009

    Google announced today that they will begin a test of behavioral targeting through their AdSense network.  This will be a significant change in how advertisers can use Google to target a specific profile on sites other than its search page.

    To give you some background, AdSense is Google’s content network, where it places text and display ads on sites of other publishers; this enables Google to extend its reach and the publishers to generate more ad revenue. Until now, AdSense ads were targeted based on the content rather than the visitor. For example, ads for cooking products would appear on cooking, food and nutrition sites, and all visitors to these sites were served the same ads.

    Now, with behavioral targeting, Google will collect site visitation data on individual users, analyze it to identify their interests, and then serve ads to them based on those interests – that is, ads will be served based on the individual rather than the site content. It’s possible that a person who visits cooking and golf sites would see a golf products ad when they visit a cooking site. The benefits to an advertiser are a higher level of targeting using Google’s efficient bid model and an increase in campaign ROI, with higher response and conversion rates. Google is addressing the general privacy concerns that come with behavioral targeting, and is not collecting personal data that the site visitation data can be linked to.

    For ideas about how to take advantage of targeted marketing, contact Jim.

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