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November 14, 2006

Search Headlines – Holidays Around the Corner

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UK Online Spending Soars

The holidays are coming and users don’t want to leave their homes. Aw, don’t be sad, it just means they’re doing all their holiday shopping online. Bigmouthmedia reports that UK shoppers are estimated to spend £7 billion dollars this holiday season – that’s £4 million every hour from now until December 25th.

What does that mean for you, the smart UK marketer? It means if you haven’t kicked your PPC campaigns into high gear, now is the time! Money-clad customers will soon be entering "buy [insert your product name]" into their search bar and if your site is missing from both the organic and sponsored search, you’re about to get passed on by. Don’t let that happen! Put down the pumpkin pie, and go rev up your campaigns.

(No, no, put down the pie.)

Apple Alienates an Entire Country

Over at SEOmoz, Rebecca shows what happens when international Web sites fail to display their country-specific pages to the appropriate IP addresses. — you anger an entire country and tick off one feisty blogger. While searching in the UK alongside Ammon Johns, Rebecca noticed her query for "ipod nano" brought up Apple’s US site. A site that shows pricing information in dollars (not pounds), offers a 1-800 number instead of a 0-800 number, and is completely useless to a UK consumer looking to make an online purchase. Not good.

Rebecca uses Apple in her example, but it’s a fatal flaw for many international companies. Serving your customers US-centric sites when they’re finding you from foreign lands, is not a good idea. Make sure a customer in the UK who is accessing your site is delivered the UK version of your site. There’s nothing more off-putting then reading a page that doesn’t address your needs because it was meant for someone else. Way to make people feel unimportant and not worth your time.

Will A 24 Hour Embargo Won’t Help Newspapers?

No, it won’t.

Oh, did you want a recap of the story? Fine – MediaPost’s Wendy Davis reports that the California First Amendment Coalition has ‘a plan’ to save newspapers from the evil ways of indexing search engines. (Ooo, a plan!) The plan includes creating a 24 hour embargo where content is only available online to paying subscribers. Genius, right? The coalition’s executive director Peter Scheer thinks so.

So his way to solve the ‘problem’ is to kill newspaper’s relevancy by making them a day late and a dollar short? That’s a very good idea. Why don’t you take newspapers off the Web entirely (which is really what you’d be doing…)? Then you don’t have to worry about those nasty engines indexing your content and making it available to ad-clicking, revenue-bringing customers who otherwise wouldn’t read your paper. Or you can use smoke signal to let people in on the news of the day. The engines haven’t figured out how to index that backwards method just yet.

Me thinks I gots a future in politics.

[The newspapers of the world are better off investing in a good search engine optimization firm for a year than shutting down for a day. It’ll probably even cost roughly the same. Then they’ll have everything they want indexed, indexed and everything they don’t, locked down tight. Though I guess if they don’t want anything indexed they’ll only need to hire their SEO for as long as it takes toss up a robots.txt file that says: User-Agent: * Disallow: / –Susan] — Oh, no. Now you’ve gone and upset Susan…

Are Google and Yahoo Headed in Different Directions?

Bill Wise does an excellent job explaining why Yahoo! won’t release a traditional advertising strategy like Google did. I don’t read many blog posts or newsletter articles that get my attention the way Bill was able to do, so you know this is good stuff.

Bill states that for Google, unleashing a traditional advertising campaign makes sense. Their entire game plan is based around organizing the world’s information and making it more accessible. Obviously, part of that plan extends to adapting their core search (Web Search, Google News, Google Images, etc) for the mobile Web. Traditional advertising methods give them another way to do that.

Yahoo!, however, is working off a different mission statement. Yahoo! has chosen to embrace the mobile Web by engaging with mobile specific items like ring tones and screensavers. Yahoo is setting itself up to "the most powerful new-media empire". Where Google is using the mobile Web to strengthen its core search, Yahoo! is using it to branch out and attract a wider range of customers. In fact, according to Bill, there may come a time when Google and Yahoo! are no longer competitors in the same industry. Smart stuff, right?

What is Microsoft doing?

TechCrunch explains that Microsoft has apparently launched a social network for IT professionals called Aggreg8. Besides finding the name moderately adorable, I’m not sure what purpose this is supposed to serve? It all sounds very odd, especially since Microsoft’s PR team hasn’t said anything about the launch.

Maybe they’re embarrassed. To be honest, this looks like an idea that never fully materialized – the formatting is off, there are bad links, images are broken. Looks like Microsoft should have held on to this one a little before launching.

Fun Finds

I’m about a week late on this one, but over at QAQNA, Tom Vander Well gives readers 10 Things Your Customers Don’t Want to Hear. It’s worth a read because (a) it’s funny and (b) its true.

Kim Krause celebrates World Usability Day by taunting the ever-annoying Ms. Dewey. Can’t we just shoot her already? (Ms. Dewey, not Kim. We love Kim.)

And perhaps most amusing of them all, Chris Pirillo is very excited about NOT buying a Zune. Hee.

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