Bing & Yahoo Alliance: Key Facts

Starting this week, Yahoo search results have a new label: “Powered by Bing.”  What?!  Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing once were two search engines vying for 2nd in market share, behind all-powerful Google.  Their limited alliance —  centered upon Yahoo’s adoption of Bing’s search technology and advertising display — is a major attempt to offset Google’s dominance in search.  Can you say “no more monopoly”?

Key Dates in Bing /Yahoo Search Merger
thanks to coverage by the New York Times

  • Spring 2008: Microsoft offers a whopping $47.5 billion to buy Yahoo after merger talks lead nowhere.
  • Summer 2008: Microsoft abandons the offer, frustrating Yahoo investors.
  • January 2009: Carol Bartz named CEO of Yahoo, as co-founder Jerry Yang is ousted.
  • July 2009: The two companies announce a partnership in Internet search and advertising intended to create a stronger market with Google. (<– the current deal)
  • August 2010: With few announcements from either party, Yahoo begins displaying Bing-powered search results in the US.
  • December 2010: Yahoo plans to display Bing paid advertising, beginning at this time.

Good Timing for Yahoo?
While the alliance is a big win for Microsoft’s Bing– growing since its June 2009 launch– Yahoo is feeling the current momentum:

  • In July 2010, Google remained the market leader by a wide margin, holding 65.8% of the U.S. search market compared with 66.2% in June.
  • Yahoo picked up those lost points, rising to 17.1% from 16.7% share.
  • Bing held its share at 11%.

Yahoo also stands to retain an incredible 88% of paid ad revenue for searches originating in Yahoo during the first 5 years of this merger.  In layman’s terms, Yahoo is “getting a better search engine” for next-to “free,” until it begins forking over a larger share of ad revenue in 2015.  Finally, Yahoo’s Dow Jones stock trading is down 1% for August 2010, vs. a nearly 8% dive in August for Microsoft. Time will tell!

Google Results: Displays, They Are A-Changin’

The online marketing industry is abuzz over radical changes to the way LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS may soon be displayed in Google.

Since around July 1, Google has been testing alternative results page formats, seen when searching for local products and services–such as “dentists” or “Chicago insurance agent”. A full view into these display tests can be found here and here.

As a result of the widespread testing, users are seeing different formats from each other. And it is unknown which test formats will become permanent. However, there are ‘common threads’ among the test displays, which indicate what Google may be moving towards…

Display Changes: Guessing Google’s Intent
*Dentist-related screenshots c/o Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing via Mike Blumenthal’s blog.  See links above for details.

*OLD* STATUS-QUO

*NEW TEST* LOCAL & ORGANIC RESULTS LOOKING MORE SIMILAR

*NEW TEST* LOCAL RESULTS “MIXED IN WITH” ORGANIC RESULTS


*NEW TEST* PROMINENCE OF REVIEWS FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES

We will keep you posted when the new local results format is finalized!

Greetings from Seattle & Bing Updates

Hi everybody! I’m in Seattle to attend a website usability session with guru Steve Krug all day Friday. Seattle: home of the Mariners, the Space Needle…and Microsoft’s headquarters.

So it’s perfect timing that Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, announces key updates this week. For a full look view into Bing updates, check out this entry from the official Microsoft blog from Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (I’m already such a Seattle local, eh?!)

The Microsoft blog describes the new look and features so well, I won’t compete. So instead, I’ve put together a collection of quotes from Microsoft on the philosophy behind Bing and this week’s updates:

On Bing’s New Look: “You will see a new design aesthetic applied to Bing,” states Bing Corporate VP Brian MacDonald. “We have tried to bring you an experience grounded in clear readable typography that helps you find your way and organize information. With the new design the rich content in Bing really stands out from pages that are clean, light, open and fast. Result pages are not presented in a one-size-fits-all-layout – instead, Bing results pages are richly and visually organized, making the whole search experience feel dynamic and alive.”

On being the decision engine: “Our focus is trying to get to an intent-based dialogue model as opposed to hit or miss model we have today,” Microsoft’s director of Bing Search, Stefan Weitz, said in an interview. “We also went back to the research and figured out what kind of decisions people were trying to make with web search and we built a new experience around this. The number one request we get is ‘help me complete a task more quickly.'”

On Entertainment searches: “76 percent of people use search to help find and navigate their entertainment options online, but only 10 percent say they have a trusted place to go,” states Bing Senior VP Yusuf Mehdi. “So we see a great opportunity to help customers make important entertainment decisions — from deciding what movie to buy or see, which TV shows to watch online or on your TV, what music to listen to, how to find and safely play your favorite casual games – Bing is making a first step today to help make entertainment on the web easy and fun, so you spend less time searching for entertainment and more time doing the stuff you love.”

On Partnering with Yahoo: “Obviously, our long term goal is to grow and build a credible alternative in the search industry. The partnership with Yahoo has to do with the advertising. Today, all the advertisers have to buy Google as their first choice because of all the volume (65% market share) Google has. The next decision they have is whether to spend money on Yahoo (17% share) or Bing (12%) or split between the two, or put money back into Google. Once we do the migration — this fall, hopefully — there will be two options. Everyone will still buy Google, but there will be a clear second choice to buy, with roughly 30% market share. Just being able to be a credible choice, for us, is a huge step forward. And that’s what we’ll accomplish with Yahoo.” – Bing Senior VP Yusuf Mehdi

Are you happy with Bing’s new updates? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Or…you could always wish me safe travels, lots of fun, and lessons learned at my website usability session tomorrow. Til next time!

Response to 2010 Local Search Ranking Report

As many of you know, Upright’s Local Search specialists test caffeine-positive.

They track weekly changes in the evolving Local Search landscape to best serve clients. See, many new opportunities are just now arising for businesses to succeed locally, online. Search engine centers like Google Places and Yahoo! Local constantly add new data features — like the ability to define service area and post coupons per location.

Our watchful eye is meeting great results, in our clients’ Local rankings as well as validation from experts in our industry.

SEO guru David Mihm released the 2nd Annual “Local Search Ranking Factors” report June 7, 2010. In it, over 30 experts rank 69 qualities of a local business listing as more helpful or harmful to Local Search success. (Local Search success could be defined as ‘top search engine rankings for keyword searches performed in a specific local area’).

Here are highlights from the complete report:

Read More

Google Updates Search Algorithm Daily

Look past the tee shirt– Google principle engineer Matt Cutts is legit.

In the video below, Cutts explains the phenomenon of continuous changes to Google’s “algorithm”, stating that it was updated between 350 and 400 times–in batches– during the year 2009. Talk about constant improvement.   Search Engine Watch defines algorithm as “the technology that a search engine uses to deliver results to a query. Search engines utilize several algorithms in tandem to deliver a page of search results or keyword-targeted search ads.”

What can we learn from this? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is like trying to hit a moving target. You can’t be precise enough in your efforts to affect an exact ranking because the algorithms change every day. Even if you were able to figure out an algorithm and make a change on  your site, the algorithm would be different by the time you uploaded your changes.

We do our best by not trying to focus too much on efforts that cause us to try and hit this moving target- focusing on hitting a moving target won’t work.  We have to use our knowledge, experiences, and best practices.

While the algorithms change, there will always be a place for good content & good user experience.  Obsessing on where to put a keyword in a heading tag is not as important as building the bigger picture- creating useful content that attracts visitors and links.

How Popular Are Your Internet Settings?

Choosing an Internet browser (the program you use to access the Internet) may seem like a non-decision.  Historically, many people have simply used the Internet browser that ‘comes on their machine.’  They assume all browsers are the same.  However, with each new version released, browsers like Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari are differentiating their features.  If your needs demand features like:

  • hi-speed program launch
  • built-in password management
  • spell checking
  • anti-virus protection
  • parental controls

…it might be time to update your current Internet browser, or change to a new one completely!

Would you like the change the way you view the online world?

Chart comparing the Top 10 Internet browsers, by feature
Top Browser Display Resolutions, 2010

Top Operating Systems, 2010

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Internet Browser Statistics-1


Upright Quoted in CareerRocketer.com Advice Column

CareerRocketer.com published Upright’s advice!

Is your career a perpetual “countdown to blast-off”?  Well our friends at CareerRocketer.com have the remedy.  Their website functions essentially as an advice column for job seekers, personal branding enthusiasts, and career developers.  Why is this site vital?  Because the job recruitment process has changed so radically over the past 5 years.  And unless you work in HR or have had 10 employers since 2005, you might not realize it.

Not currently looking for a job?  You must still pay attention to career activities in social media. Completing a LinkedIn profile today, for example, will put you on an HR professional’s radar from today onward.  And in our current economic times, that simple action could define whether you’re out of work for days…or months.

That’s my two cents, but CareerRocketer.com has millions of ‘em.  CareerRocketer.com published our advice in recommending Twitter to job seekers. It’s a great article, but only one of a thousand published on the topic.  So check out our mention and keep exploring CareerRocketer.com, even if your current job is a slice of paradise.  There’s always room to grow.

Interview for ‘The Circuit’ – Upright SEO Director, Allison Kulage

In November ’09, Allison Kulage presented the topic “Is Your SEO in Balance?” for Cincinnati (Ohio) technology community network, The Circuit. Impressed by her expert knowledge and enthusiasm, The Circuit released a subsequent interview with Allison for their January newsletter.

In the interview, Allison educates readers on:

  • why visitor behavior is #1The Circuit logo
  • the “three-legged stool” of SEO success
  • diversifying a link building strategy
  • Allison’s own continuing training

Read The Circuit newsletter, ft. Allison Kulage’s interview, entitled:
“Business Growth Through Visitor Conversion: Upright Communications Gets Results”

It’s a great article! Allison continues to be a great ambassador of the Upright message. As we continue to publish news of our own press and speaking gigs, we invite readers to share their own ‘timely business happenings’ in the Comments section below.  Go ahead – please publicize.

Job Seekers: Use Key Words in Resumes

Keyword optimization is a vital component in website SEO, allowing search engines to find and rank relevant content for internet users. Increasingly, this effective concept is being utilized in business not only by marketing experts, but also by human resource managers.

With high volumes of job applicants and the benefits of evolving technology, many businesses are discovering that using computer programs to scan resumes is a viable way to increase efficiency in targeting qualified prospects. Instead of reading though stacks of paperwork, human resource personnel are typing keywords into search programs, and letting the software do the initial screening. This means that as an applicant, a job seeker will gain the best advantage by anticipating and focusing on keywords specific to the desired job and industry.

According to CareerPerfect.com, a job search and resume writing services website, the keywords that are most effective typically include: job titles, skills and responsibilities, education or certification, as well as acronyms and industry terminology. The website provides suggestions for employing the keyword strategy including easy steps to creating a Keyword Resume.

If you are one of the many job seekers out there looking for an advantage in a highly competitive arena, resume keyword optimization may be the edge you need. For more on the subject of job hunting and how technology can help, see Allison’s previous blog post about using social media to get a job.

Case Study: Dos Equis & The Most Interesting Man

You’ve seen recent TV ads for Dos Equis Mexican beer, right?  Featuring fictional brand icon “The Most Interesting Man in the World” (pictured below) who doesn’t always drink beer, “But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”  Yep, those commercials.  This ambitious advertising campaign is now a multi-platform smash, and we have a lot to learn from it as marketers.  Here’s how it has unfolded so far…

The quirky genius of the Dos Equis ad campaign. - By Seth Stevenson - Slate Magazine

Campaign Timeline:

Debut Commercial & Top 30 Facts About the Most Interesting Man in the World

Spring 2007 – Series of 15-second commercials debuts, only in limited US markets (to gauge momentum)

Spring 2009 – To positive response, more commercials begin airing nationwide.  Campaign expands with print ads, billboards, re-designed website and social media pages all featuring “The Most Interesting Man.”

Here’s where it gets interesting…

Read More