Archive for the 'SEO & Keyword Optimisation' Category

Blog Commenting Software

commenting thumb Blog Commenting SoftwareThere are a number of factors that search engines use to rank a web site, and as search engines often change the algorithms used to determine rank it can sometimes be very difficult to keep up to date.

One of the factors that Google for example uses to rank web sites is back links, or the number of incoming votes from external web sites or domains to a web site. The more votes for a web site, the higher Google and other search engines will place your web site in the SERP’s .

Other factors also come into play, the age of your domain name, the older your domain name is the better as search engines will trust your site more than a newer site, how much authority or page rank your site has, how may web pages are trying to rank in the top 10 for your keyword and even how long your domain name is registered for are all factors.

The reason back links are important, is the more votes a site has usually indicates the popularity of that site and its content with other web users. Search engines love popular sites.

It is harder to generate votes for a static web site than it is for a blog based site such as WordPress, due to the fact that most blogs are updated on a daily basis whereas most static based sites often get few or no updates.

One of the techniques that you can use to generate back links for your site is by placing comments on blogs that you either read or follow on the web. This is even better, if you can find a blog that allows for a “follow” link back to your web site.

What is a follow link? Some time ago Google invented a piece of code that can be inserted into a hyperlink that tells search engines “not to follow” that link from its place on a web page.

This essentially stops most search engines from following the link, so it effectively stops the link juice, it does not however stop the traffic from following a link on your site.

Web pages that have 100 or more links on them can be penalised by search engines and in this, read Google, so if you have a web page that features a lot of advertising links, say for example on your home page, then you could be penalised for having a lot of links, this is usually one of the tell-tale signs of a spam site.

Likewise, having no code placed in the link means that a search engine will follow the link and discover in some cases new web sites. You can also use this method if you’d like to get your web site indexed quickly in the search engines, as placing a link on a web site already in Google’s index will result in your site being indexed quickly as Google will “follow” the link.

Creating votes or back links for your web site, whether you use a blog based site or a static web site is not easy, there are some web masters who believe that the process of link building is easy, that’s because they like to use paid link building services and a quick search on the web will uncover a number of these services on the web. But you need to be very careful with buying links, Google frowns on this and will penalise your web site if it catches you doing it.

One of the ways you can build back links to your web site is by commenting on other writers or companies blogs, most of these blogs still allow follow links back to your blog, and if they happen to have a very high page rank with Google, this adds considerable SEO value to your blog.

If you have a blog and want to start building links this way, one thing you do not want to do ever, is to use automated blog commenting software, I find with my blogs, I constantly get comments that are generated by these stupid software programs.

These comments often have no relationship to my article, are blatant advertising or add nothing to the discussion and it’s very obvious that they have been generated by a software program because in most cases we humans do not speak this way.

I will delete them without a second thought as they add nothing to my blog.

So when creating your comment, always make sure that you make it relevant either to the content on the blog or the story you have been reading, if you do this, the blogger will appreciate that they have a real person taking the time to comment and you’ll always get published which includes your link.

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Newsletter Subscribe to Our Weekly NewsletterOne of the easiest ways to stay up to date with the latest on social media, technology and internet marketing, is to get the news delivered straight to your email inbox as it happens.

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Google Gains Search Ground

comscore us search engine sept 10thumb Google Gains Search Ground

Google gained ground in its dominance of the US explicit and total core search markets in September 2010, according to monthly comScore qSearch analysis.

Google Takes Larger Share of Explicit Core Search
Google Sites held 66.1% of the US explicit core search market (which measures user engagement with a search service with the intent to retrieve search results) in September 2010, up 1% from 65.4% in August 2010.

Second-ranked Yahoo Sites lost 4% of its explicit core search market share, dropping from 17.4% to 16.7%. No other explicit core search provider experienced significant month-over-month fluctuation.

More Explicit Core Search Queries Performed via Google, Microsoft
More than 16 billion explicit core searches were conducted in September 2010, up 2% from 15.7 billion the previous month. Google Sites ranked first with 10.6 billion searches, up 3% from 10.2 billion searches; followed by Yahoo Sites in second with 2.7 billion, down 2% from slightly more than that total the previous month.

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Microsoft Sites came in third with 1.8 billion explicit core searches, up 3% from 1.7 billion.

Google Also Grows Total Core Search Share
Google Sites accounted for 63% of total US core search queries conducted in August 2010, up 4% from a 60.5% share the previous month. Yahoo Sites followed with 19%, down 9.5% from 21% the previous month, and Microsoft Sites came in third with 12.5%, down about 2% from 12.8% in August 2010.

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Google Sites Jumps in Total Core Search Queries
The total number of core search queries performed via Google Sites jumped 8%, from 10.2 billion to 11.1 billion. Meanwhile, second place Yahoo Sites lost 5%, dropping from 3.6 billion to 3.4 billion. Third place Microsoft Sites increased its total number of core search queries 2%, from 2.16 billion to 2.2 billion.

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Total US core search queries grew 4% in September 2010, rising from 16.9 billion in August 2010 to 17.7 billion.

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Bigger Business Blogs Better Lead Bringers

Business blogs begin generating significantly more leads when they have a median of 24 or more articles posted, according to research by internet marketing firm Hubspot.

Businesses with blog article numbers above this critical threshold are likely to have enough content to make a significant impact on search engines through additional indexed pages and new keywords with which to associate. In addition, other sites are more likely to link to a blog that offers a steady stream of content. Businesses with blogs of 24-plus articles are more likely to be committed to updating their blog frequently and, thus, are likely to generate more traffic from referring sites.


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Business blogs that have 0-11 articles posted will generate a median of three leads. Once blogs reach the 12-23 posted article threshold, this median dramatically rises to 10. However, blogs with 24-51 posted articles generate a median of 13 leads, and will generate a median of 23 leads when the posted article threshold reaches 52. This represents 77% lead growth, more than twice the 30% lead growth that occurs when the number of posted blog articles reaches 24.

Businesses with Blogs Generate 67% More Online Leads
Businesses with blogs generate 67% more online leads than businesses without blogs. A business with a blog will generate a median of 15 online leads, compared to a median of nine online leads for a business without a blog. Blog size does matter to a degree, as businesses with a median of 10 blog entries or less report similar online generation numbers to businesses without blogs.

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Advice for Bloggers
Based on its research, Hubspot offers the following advice to business bloggers:

  • Increase the number of keywords marketers rank for in Google. Through blogs, marketers have the opportunity to create unique content that can be different from their web site content. They have the potential to significantly increase the number of keywords they rank highly for in Google.
  • Generate inbound links. These are a central factor in Google’s organic search ranking algorithm. Other related sites are likely to link to a blog that provides interesting and fresh content.
  • Increase repeat visitors.

    Blogs give visitors a reason to come back and interact with sites.

Google Page Indexing Creates Leads
In addition to blogging to generate online leads, the more pages a company has indexed by Google, the more leads it will generate, according to related research by Hubspot. There is a strong positive correlation between the number of Google indexed pages and median leads. An incremental increase of 50-100 pages indexed by Google can cause lead growth in double-digit percentages. For example, going from 60-120 indexed pages to 121-175 indexed pages can increase a company’s median leads from seven to 12, creating 58.3% growth.

The most significant improvement in median lead growth comes when a company increases its indexed pages from the 176-310 range to the 311-plus range. Median leads skyrocket from 22 to 74, representing triple-digit 236% growth. After exceeding the 311 indexed pages mark, median lead growth subsides.

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Google Page Indexing Creates Leads

Getting your site ranked highly on search engines is one of the fundamentals of SEO, just how you go about that is a topic which creates a lot of discussion, which method works best, and is off page optimisation more effective than on page optimisation, and how valuable are links or votes that are directed to your site from other web sites on the net.

I’ve always worked on the premise that I get as many of these factors working for me when optimising a site and a very effective tool to get high rankings is relevancy to the subject you’re trying to rank for. Getting as many of your URL’s or pages indexed by the search engines can lead to an increase in both traffic and conversions. So I thought this research from HubSpot would be of interest to you.

The more pages a company has indexed by Google, the more leads it will generate, according to research by internet marketing firm Hubspot.

Incremental Indexed Pages Can Cause Double-digit Lead Growth
There is a strong positive correlation between the number of Google indexed pages and median leads. An incremental increase of 50-100 pages indexed by Google can cause lead growth in double-digit percentages. For example, going from 60-120 indexed pages to 121-175 indexed pages can increase a company’s median leads from seven to 12, creating 58.3% growth.


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The most significant improvement in median lead growth comes when a company increases its indexed pages from the 176-310 range to the 311-plus range. Median leads skyrocket from 22 to 74, representing triple-digit 236% growth. After exceeding the 311 indexed pages mark, median lead growth subsides.

Size Not Critical Factor
Overall, Hubspot research indicates that size is not a critical factor for achieving significant volumes of Google indexed pages. Size and number of pages are mildly positively correlated, mostly in the extreme categories of indexed pages.


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While HubSpot’s large customers formed the biggest group with 311 or more indexed pages in Google, small and medium-sized customers together outnumbered large ones in this category, 57% – 43%. In addition, small customers formed the largest group with 176 to 310 Google indexed pages (39%).

As might be expected, small customers do form the largest group within the less than 60 (53%) and 61-120 (54%) indexed pages categories.

Marketing Takeaways
Hubspot advises marketers considering a Google page indexing program to use the following techniques:

  • Build page volume: Consider starting a blog to quickly increase the number of indexed pages.
  • Improve each page’s optimization as per Google’s methodology to maximize chances of having all corporate web pages included in the index.
  • On-page search engine optimization: Place keywords in the right places on web pages such that Google and other search engines know what each page of a company’s web site is about, and what keywords to rank it for.
  • Off-page search engine optimization: Build inbound links from reputable sites, thus demonstrating a company’s popularity to search engines.
  • Inbound links do not generate more leads, but do generate more unique visitors.

Google Dominates Core Search
Google Sites clearly dominate US internet users’ core search activities, according to comScore. In March 2010, Google Sites led the core search market with 65.1% market share and 10.05 billion core searches, up 6% from February 2010. Both of these statistics represent the continuation of long-term core search trends.

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Control Freak Webmasters

I’ve written about this topic before and it is one of my pet hates, small business owners who pay webmasters to build web sites for them and then are never given access to the files or the “engine room” of the site to be able to make on page SEO changes and more importantly get the site better rankings on search engines such as Google.

SEO is not set and forget, because you need to constantly make changes and massage pages on your site.

It’s my opinion that you the business, owns the web site, so take, no, demand control over your web sites destiny.

Well here is another example of control wielded by a webmaster and the hosting company they own. I’ve been engaged to do some SEO work on a very poorly designed site that caters to the holiday accommodation and booking industry, the site has never ranked for it’s keyword or category and the business owners have no access to any of the files that need to be changed to be able to optimise the site correctly.

Now it seems that in most cases when someone outside of these companies is asked do some SEO work, the webmasters controlling the site get very precious and uncooperative, is that because we might find out how poorly the site was designed and how badly ripped off you the site owner has been? I think so.

After identifying the keyword phrases we wanted to optimise the home page for, we needed to contact the web master to get access to the index and header files on the site, to change the title tag and the meta description tag.

Access to these files was not provided to the owner by the webmaster so on their behalf I sent an email off to the company requesting access to the files, I received a response and now I’m going to share with you what I received from this company;


everything I can find on the net advises against using it. I may remove it again after doing a bit more research – unless you can come up with a compelling reason to leave it there.

“The Meta Title (<META NAME=”title”…> Some say that having this tag on your pages will give you a boost in the Search Engines Result Pages (SERPs); however, according to my testing while both Yahoo! and MSN index this tag the results are inconsistent. And as such, it is impossible to conclusively determine the Meta Title Tag’s effect on the algorithm.

Recommendation: Either use with caution or don’t use. While the Meta Title Tag seems to be favored among the SEOs in India, the SEO boost as a Google Meta Tag it is supposed to give is nonexistent according to my testing.

Personally, I don’t use the tag as I see no benefits and have seen some instances of lower ranking in using it. “

Huh, I’m sorry but you will make these decisions!!

This response just goes to show how much of an understanding this company has of what elements of SEO are important, the title tag has a very high value and one of the more important aspects of on page optimisation, yet this person is making a statement that he sees no personal benefit of its value and he will make the decision as to whether to allow access to the tag, so I ask the question, Who owns the site?

If this web design company had done the SEO of this site properly in the first place, it would not have been necessary to hire an outside SEO company, but to make decisions about what access we can have without consulting the owner of the site has me shaking my head.

My recommendation to you is check out what you have access to and what you don’t, and then demand that you get complete control over your web site, after all you pay for it.

If you are looking at getting a web site redesign, I would suggest you get someone who knows SEO to look over the site first to make sure that it is search engine friendly, changes to the design before it’s built can save you time and money getting it to index properly with all search engines.

Not all webmasters are like this example, these guys pray on you because you don’t have enough knowledge to know better and that is where they win.

There is a post script to this story, the web company has refused to allow the Tittle tag to be changed, they will not give us access to the files on the site, even though the owner has given us written permission. The result is we’ll redesign the site, fire the hosting and design company and start again, all so unnecessary.

 Control Freak Webmasters

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Real Estate Web Sites & SEO

300px Typical serp Real Estate Web Sites & SEO
Image via Wikipedia

Over the past 3 months I’ve conducted approximately 50 SEO audits on real estate web sites and I’ve duly sent off to the respective web site owners 25 page reports on what they can do to improve their web site, and with most of the web sites in question, improve their rankings on either Google and/or Bing, for those most commonly searched terms and keywords. While conducting these audits, several  issues have become more than clear to me, (1) most of these web sites have been very badly optimised to start with by the web developer, and (2) some owners do not have access to their web sites header files and have to pay their design company every time they want to change a piece of code.

How about that for being held to ransom, who actually owns the site, well let me tell you, it is not you!

Click here If you’d like to read an article on Who Really Owns Your Real Estate Web Site.

One web company just outright refuses to provide the owners access and insists on charging them every time they want to change information, which makes it very hard to actually optimise the site.

SEO is not set and forget, and sometimes each web page needs to be massaged to get it to rank, well just imagine the cost if you were charged every time changes to content and coding were recommended. Of course this is the point of this exercise, to get as much revenue out of you as possible and given that most of the real estate offices I’ve done the audits for have no idea about web site design or SEO, you are easy pickings .

So how do you avoid being fleeced forever by these companies? Firstly make sure you have total access to all the files on your web site, so that if you need to make changes to your site it can be done via your back-end administration page, that is total control over your HTML title tag and your meta description tag, also make sure that your CMS does not generate dynamic URL’s, these are much harder to rank on search engines, static URL’s are really what you need. Make sure that you can change the wording on all your pages and that you have control over your images including adding alt tags and correct descriptions, these are an important part of on page optimisation.

Make sure when your site is launched you get a search engine submission report and also get what keywords they have optimised your content for, 90% of the sites I’ve audited have been optimised for the clients name, have you ever wondered how many times your brand was searched on Google for instance?  Your web site needs to be optimised for the key searches that relate to the industry and your location. Remember, Google indexes web pages not web sites so the more pages your site has the more chance you have of having your pages rank for different keywords. Try and have at least 300 words on your home page, search engines love text, so image heavy home pages are harder to optimise.

Where ever possible add a blog to your site, better still add a stand alone blog on a different domain and link it to your site, is one of the best blog platforms to use and search engines love it, adding engagement objects such as video is an absolute must, videos produced by you and uploaded on a regular basis will be indexed and ranked very fast, and getting a search engine to visit your site more often because of frequently updated content means higher rankings. Google looks at the freshness factor among other things.

You don’t need to be a web design expert, you just need to  make sure you are in control of your own site and your SEO and don’t have to keep putting your hands in your pocket whenever you want to change something, so take control back from these pirates.

The real estate industry needs to really start to take action on this and fast.

 Real Estate Web Sites & SEO

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Google Real Time Search & Social Media

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Real Time search on Google

Ok, if you been putting off starting a blog or using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s time now to think again and very seriously. With the launch yesterday of Google real time search, it opens up a world of opportunity for bloggers and social media users to get their efforts at the top of the search rankings, Google now pulls information as it happens from sources such as friendfeed, Twitter and Facebook as well as blog posts and news feeds.

This is essentially Googles answer to Twitters and Facebooks search engines which provide up to the minute updates on trending topics, and it was a natural extension for it to be applied to search engines, after all they are trying to give you the best response to your search query.

Real time search will enable information to be delivered as it happens, by clicking on “Latest results” or selecting “Latest” from the search options menu to view a full page of live tweets, blogs, news and other web content scrolling right on Google.

You can also filter your results to see only “Updates” from micro-blogs like Twitter, FriendFeed, Jaiku and others.

Latest results and the new search options are also designed for iPhone and Android devices when you need them on the go, be it a quick glance at changing information like ski conditions or opening night chatter about a new movie — right when you’re in line to buy tickets.

So there you have it, create your blog and start writing, and by creating good quality content on your blog or social media network, you might just end up in the number one spot on Google.

It’s the freshness factor that is also important when it comes to getting your information ranked high on Google and now with real time search, you can get fresh up to date information on trending or newsworthy stories as they happen.

If you’d  like to start a blog and don’t know where to start, visit Blogging for Business Packages and get started today.

 Google Real Time Search & Social Media

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Creating a Digital Media Strategy

Last week during a webinar that I participated in with Michael Sheargold and the Real Estate Results Network, I suggested that every real estate office should create a digital media strategy that covers at least the next 12 months. Technology is changing so rapidly for real estate agents and without a plan or strategy in place you’ll find it very hard to keep up. I’ve had some agents talk to me about what should be in this digital strategy, so to help you lets go through the basics of what you should include in your document.

1. Web site SEO – First and foremost in my mind is having your web site search engine friendly. Local search queries continue to increase as does 3+ word keyword searches.

Yellow Pages book usage is decreasing and Internet searches increasing, so that makes it vital that your site appears on the first page of Google. You need to also consider how your site performs, Google are planning to use site speed as a ranking factor and therefore how quickly your site loads will be a consideration. Image heavy sites without alt tags and optimising your pages for relevant keywords needs to be considered.

During the webinar, one industry specialist wrote a comment ” Do you really think that principals or agents actually write their own copy?”  No I don’t, but they need to make sure that what is written on their behalf is search engine optimised and written for the web, not copied from a newspaper. Make sure that you get access to the coding on your site as well, you pay for it, you own it, not like I have encountered recently with one web company attached to the number one real estate portal, they have a very arrogant attitude to you the customer, so if in doubt walk away, there are plenty of web design companies that will help you.

Search Engine Marketing should not replace your web site SEO, use SEM wisely and don’t double up, if you’re on the first page or rank highly for a search term, don’t waste money on Adwords,use them in areas that you don’t rank, remember, Google ranks pages not web sites so you can effectively optimise each page on your web site for keywords.

2.Social Media – Include this into your 12 month plan, small business is lagging behind their big brothers in using and integrating social media into their business. Your customers have embraced social networking and it is becoming the trusted adviser, so you can’t afford to neglect it any longer.

One of the reasons slowing the integration is a lack of knowledge about social media by small business owners, in my mind you are better to try and work with social media than to ignore it, so jump in and have a go. Plan it slowly and use the major sites such as Facebook and Twitter to start with, you can use this as your guide, POST. This stands for:

  • People – What is your target market?
  • Objective – What do you want to achieve from using social media?
  • Strategy – How will you go about communicating with your customers? Status Updates, Coupons, Discounts etc
  • Technology - What are the main sites you’ll use to communicate your message? Facebook/Twitter

That at least will help you plan your strategy, also remember, Podcasting, Vlogging and YouTube are powerful tools in getting your message across, plus Google loves video, so use this to your advantage

3. Blogs – Create a blog and add it to your web presence, it allows you to add the personal touch to your on line marketing. ComScore’s research indicates that blogs reach over 48% of the online population in the Asia Pacific region, social media 56.1%.

Blogs are a great way to communicate with your customers and are a great customer service tool, remember though you need to make sure that your content is fresh and relevant to the target market you are aiming at. Google loves blogs because of the constantly updated information they provide and will index them very quickly as well as give them a high ranking, sometimes even over a higher authority site. WordPress provides a great platform for you to use and I’d recommend the self hosted option as you can use your own domain name and you have much more flexibility.

4. Internet Marketing – Make sure that you have your office details listed with Google business, use different keywords or categories so that you rank on different search pages in your area. Be very selfish with where your links go, you might think its great that your business comes up number one under a listing in your area, but think where the customer goes when they click on the link, to you? no they go to the portal so make sure your web site ranks on that first page.

Audit your listing on the portals and start to implement good keywords in your copy, remember you’re writing for the web not a newspaper, so think about how people search and what keywords they use. Get those from your own office, you have a wealth of information at your disposal, so ask your staff what words or phrases consumers use when  they contact your office, find the most frequently used and start to weave those into your articles or listing copy.

Don’t leave out of your listing valuable information, Google uses a completeness filter on Google real estate, so the more information in your listing the higher the rank, makes sense really doesn’t it.  

5. Technology – Make sure you stay informed on technology that impacts on how your customers find you, Augmented Reality and QR codes are examples, be aware of the impact they are having and factor these into your strategy.

I hope that helps you in planning for the next 12 months, having this in place is a good start in improving the way you market and communicate with the online consumer, it also improves your businesses “Future Fitness”  for digital marketing.

 Creating a Digital Media Strategy

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Search Engines – Friend or Foe to the Newspaper Industry

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Rupert Murdock

There’s been a bit of discussion recently in the blog world about Rupert Murdock’s thoughts on search engines, and in particular Google, and the fact that they provide a lot of information to consumers for free that has been sourced from News Ltd publications, Rupert has always been of the opinion that consumers should pay for news or content they recieve on the Internet, just as they would when buying a newspaper or subscribing to a web site to get the content. He has even threatened to block Google from accessing News Ltd sites. So I thought I would publish a story from Newspaper Death Blog which featured a story on Rupert and search engines, so here it is for you:

“The debate over whether search engines are friend or foe to the newspaper industry continues to grow and become more complex.

Rupert Murdoch says he will really go ahead with his stated plans to remove his portfolio of publications from Google search index. Jonathan Millerhqdefault Search Engines   Friend or Foe to the Newspaper Industry, News Corp’s chief digital officer, told the Monaco Media Forum on Friday said the company would begin blocking Google’s search spiders within a few months. Miller said that Google brings in an army of one-click visitors who are “the least valuable of traffic to us…You can survive without it.” He also said Murdoch intends to lead the industry in the just-say-no campaign. A Google spokesman responded that the search engine sends about 100,000 clicks to news organizations every minute. TechCrunch estimates that Google drives about one quarter of the traffic to The Wall Street Journal.

While there’s no doubt that Murdoch is serious about drawing a line in the sand on this issue, the decision to talk about it this far in advance indicates that this is a negotiating tactic. Much as Hearst and the New York Times Co. wrung concessions from unions by threatening to close the papers they own, Murdoch may be looking to extract some kind of licensing deal from Google in return for backing down.

The Journal and the Financial Times are the only two daily newspapers that are having any success with a paid subscription model because both provide information that subscribers see as essential to their business. Few other newspapers can make that claim, which is why paywalls have been so difficult to implement.

Miller’s comment about drive-by visitors is worth noting. Publishers and auditors tend to look at traffic as the ultimate metric of success, but there are different kinds of traffic. Sex and celebrities drive page views just as they sell newsstand copies, but that kind of traffic is undesirable to most advertisers and extremely hard to monetize. If Murdoch has decided that his core base of paying and print subscribers are sufficient to run the company, he may be choosing to press his advantage while he still has leverage. The Wall Street Journal was the only large US newspaper to show any growth in the recent Audit Bureau Of Control report and Murdoch may have decided that he doesn’t need the casual visitor in order to be successful.

The Bing Factor

Media entrepreneur Jason Calacanis thinks Murdoch wants to do a deal. He suggests that the publishing tycoon could strike an exclusive deal with Microsoft Bing. This would have the win-win effect of driving revenue from Microsoft’s deep pockets while also upping the ante in the search wars. It’s an intriguing idea, and few other companies have the throw weight to pull it off.

Bing presents an interesting twist. TechCrunch reported last week that Microsoft held a secret meeting with representatives of some of Europe’s largest newspapers to discuss throwing its weight behind ACAP, a protocol that provides a variety of access controls over content. TechCrunch says Microsoft told the European publishers that it’s ready to commit £100,000 to fund development of ACAP, which permits search engines, for example, to index the full content of an article while displaying only part of it to a casual visitor. The report speculates that Microsoft may be hoping to use publishers as allies in a flank attack on Google by striking deals that give Bing exclusive or semi-exclusive access to their content.

Writer: Paul Gillin

 Search Engines   Friend or Foe to the Newspaper Industry

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