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FEATURE:
SEO Strategy and Google Algorithm Updates of 2011

BACK TO BASICS:
How to Write a Call to Action

INTERNATIONAL:
Mobile Website Design Optimization Rules of Thumb!

INTERNATIONAL:
An Introduction to the Brand New Google Plus Business Pages

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.

  Happy Holidays! See You Again in 2012

Bruce Clay, Inc. thanks you for reading!
 

Please enjoy this final volume of the SEO Newsletter of 2011. We'll be back next year with more news, analysis and insights. Happy New Year!

  SEO Strategy and Google Algorithm Updates of 2011

Author: Virginia Nussey
 

Another year, another several hundred updates to Google properties and the secret sauce of the search algorithm. Industry professionals have kept up with Google's changes in 2011, paying special attention to the massive implications of Panda, Freshness, Google+ and modifications to the SERP format. Here we'll review two major changes to the algorithm that determines the order and selection of results on Google search engine results pages: the Panda Update and a number of iterations that followed it, plus the Freshness Update.

read more

  BACK TO BASICS:
How to Write a Call to Action

Author: Jessica Lee
 

Calls to action are nothing new, in fact, they’ve been incorporated in advertising and marketing since advertising and marketing became “a thing.” But sometimes in the Web marketing world, the perception of the task at hand becomes more overwhelming than it needs to be. And even though great calls to action incorporate copywriting and conversion optimization best practices, don't let that scare you off from diving in, and creating and testing your calls to action. In this article, we’ll define calls to action, explore its many forms, give ideas for writing to an intended audience, and explore experimentation backed by data to create stronger calls to action for better results.

read more

  INTERNATIONAL:
Mobile Website Design Optimization Rules of Thumb!

Author: Siddharth Lal
 

The smart phone revolution is truly upon us, and for those companies that haven’t engaged in planning their mobile website, this is a wake-up call. Today, smart phones have become an extension of the desktop experience. Let me present some interesting trivia via the graphic below, to get you thinking about your mobile business strategy.

read more

  INTERNATIONAL:
An Introduction to the Brand New Google Plus Business Pages

Author: Sara Borghi
 

The big news of the past week is that Google – the search giant - has finally launched the long-awaited Google Plus Business Pages. This step officially brings Google into the Social space for businesses by offering brands the chance to humanise themselves and use the platform to engage with their customers and prospects.

read more

  Special Training Discount

If you've taken the Bruce Clay, Inc. one-day SEO training workshop at any of the conferences, you're eligible to subtract what you paid for the conference course from the total registration cost of SEOToolSet Standard and Advanced (together) classroom training in Southern California. Sign up now for the January 16th to 20th course in 2012, and insert the promo code NWS12. Confirmation of receipt required.

 
  Hot Topics

Google Property and Menu Bar Redesigns Seek to Put Google at Center of Online Life

Beneath the shiny new packaging of the new Google bar lies a deliberate strategy designed to help Google more deeply integrate into users' online lives.

On the surface, the simple redesign of the Google bar — currently, the gray bar that runs across the top of all Google properties first introduced in July — seems straightforward. The new look features better economy of space, users may find it easier to navigate between their favorite Google properties, and an updated look reflects the modern, utilitarian sensibilities of the brand.

The new menu bar is just the latest in a series of redesigns and feature updates to Google properties, including search, that makes the transition from Google service to Google service seamless — so much so that Google slides into the role of online activity hub.

Instead of disparate Web properties each acting as islands, the Google universe has become unified. The look and feel across all properties have coalesced. A common navigation allows users to move from one property to the next. Sharing content on Google+ is simple through a prominent "Share" button.

The intended center of the hub is Google+, as one common redesign and feature update across properties is simple sharing on the social network. Google's best opportunity to launch Google+ into popular usage certainly rests with the company's ability to build the social network into its other popular services. If Google can gain a foothold in the social signals space, it could potentially become the gatekeeper to the Web.


SEOToolSet Version 5
 
  Shuffles

In Q2 2011, more Android apps were downloaded than iOS apps, marking a first in the mobile app marketplace. Forty-four percent of applications downloaded were for Android devices, compared to 31 percent for Apple devices. However, more apps per user were downloaded on Apple devices.

In a recent move to reinvent itself and find its niche, Internet services and search company Mahalo laid off 25 percent of its employees, and says it will shift focus from video production to application development.

David Kenny, president of Akamai, recently resigned from the company and now is a leading contender to take over as Yahoo! CEO. Kenny is also a respected Yahoo! board member for his efforts to promote change and enhance the company.

Groupon filed a law suit against two former employees that now work for Google Offers. The former sales managers have been accused of breaching promises to protect Groupon, by allegedly sharing customer lists, sales and marketing plans. The civil complaint has been filed in an Illinois court, and Google has not been charged in this suit.

In more Groupon news, the CEO of Groupon announced that 10 percent of their worst sales employees will be replaced to ensure company growth. They currently have 4,800 sales staff and will be working on improving merchant relationships. In Q3 only 30 million out of their 143 million subscribers bought Groupons.

Google Offers added 14 new merchant partners to improve its daily deals offering after Groupon declined their $6 billion buy-out offer. Google will also provide targeted discount offers that are personalized to its subscribers. This information is collected from a small consumer quiz to be completed during registration.

Yahoo! purchased data management platform company Interlink for $270 million. Acquisitions such as this have become more popular since these companies deliver large amounts of data in a structured, secured and usable format. Yahoo! is also hoping to ultimately improve performance through this transaction.

Internet Explorer is no longer the leader in delivering Web traffic with a share of 46.9 percent. The decrease in these numbers for Explorer can be attributed to the lack of exposure for mobile and tablet devices, which now makes up 6 percent of the market.

This month, Internet marketing news aggregator Sphinn relaunched as Marketing Land. New features and content will be introduced to cover a larger range of online marketing topics.  Sister site Search Engine Land will continue to provide search marketing information and archives will also be available.

Yahoo! has officially closed Site Explorer and migrated the features into Bing Webmaster Tools. Webmasters will now be able to use these tools to receive organic traffic data from both Bing and Yahoo!. Link data will not be provided in the Bing's tools.

 
  Shindigs

Mobile Marketing Strategies takes off December 6 to December 8 in San Francisco.

Affiliate Summit West is a three-day affiliate marketing conference and expo in Las Vegas that kicks off January 8.

On January 16 through January 20, Bruce Clay, Inc. hosts its SEOToolSet training classroom in Simi Valley, Calif., teaching best practices and methodologies for search engine optimization.

EmMeCon (Emerging Media Conference)looks at the implications of how various technology affects our lives and communities, and kicks off January 23 in San Francisco.

DOMAINfest starts January 31 and goes until February 2 in Los Angeles, and features insights into acquiring and monetizing Web traffic.

 
  Sound Bytes

If you like what you've read in the SEO Newsletter, there's more Internet marketing expertise where that came from. Check out SEM Synergy archives of interviews, opinions and advice from many of the Internet marketing industry's foremost experts in SEO, SEM, PPC and SMM.

SEM Synergy is transitioning to a new short video format that will launch in 2012. Visit Bruce Clay, Inc.'s YouTube channel to watch Bruce and the hosts discuss industry news, SEO tactics and marketing trends, while expert guests share their insights on methods, best practices and upcoming events. Check out the show schedule below for a look at recent shows and topics.

Air Date

Segment One

Segment Two

Segment Three

November 3
(Listen Now)

Google and Mobile Marketing

Kristy Bolsinger

Facebook News Feed Optimization

November 10
(Listen Now)

PubCon Las Vegas

Michael Dorausch

Google+ for Business

November 17
(Listen Now)

PubCon Recap

SEOToolSet Keyword Research Tool

U.S. Legislation and Free Speech Online

Got something to say? Contact the SEM Synergy team and share your thoughts, comments and questions. You might even hear your question answered on the show.

 
  Attaboys

Bruce Clay Europe published a search marketing book for the business community, first in Italian, with versions in more European languages in the pipeline. Co-authors Ale Agostini and Bruce Clay present straightforward strategies for Web marketing in this new book available on Amazon and HOEPLI.it.

A much-welcomed improvement to the Twitter timeline allows threads of conversations to be easily viewed. Replies, retweets and in-line media related to a single tweet can be viewed via a simple "open" link.

Both houses of the U.S. Congress are considering legislation that would impede free speech on the Internet, however public outcry has appeared to help stall the measures by educating both lawmakers and the public.

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that hyperlinking to defamatory content is not itself a defamatory act in a landmark decision that protects free expression online.

Business pages are now available on Google+ following much demand. For more info, read this month's article on how brands can take advantage of the newly available online marketing platform.

Google launches its "India Get Your Business Online" program that offers free websites to small and medium sized enterprises located in India. The offer includes a .in domain name, tools, training as well as resources for online success.

 
  Word on the Wire

Yelp's aggressive tactics and questionable method of ranking reviews are often criticized, however a class action lawsuit alleging that Yelp tried to extort small businesses was dismissed following a refile by plaintiffs.

Google+ was opened up to Google Apps users, giving all functionality of sharing on the social service along with the option to share with an organization, in the case of business accounts.

Adobe announced it would shift development focus from Flash to HTML5 and apps for mobile platforms, in large part because Apple iPhone's giant market share and lack of support for Flash forced the software company's hand.

Recent acquisitions, including a video ad serving start-up and a data management platform by Adobe suggests that the company is looking to parlay its deep relationships with Web publishers to become a major player in online advertising.

Facebook reached a settlement with the FTC in response to eight charges that the company violated user privacy in an "unfair and deceptive" way. Among other voluntary safety measures intended to ensure user privacy, Facebook will make itself available to independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years. The settlement is thought to put at ease investor concerns over Facebook's privacy policies, opening the company to an IPO in the immediate future.

Facebook is developing a mobile device, code-named "Buffy," according to rumors. It will run a heavily modified version of Android on HTC hardware. It is expected to arrive in 12 to 18 months and will feature a deeply integrated experience with the social network.

According to the latest Icube survey, the Internet is slated to get even bigger in India with it marching towards 121 million users (pdf) in December 2011.

India is going to get its very own dot-Bharat domain names in Hindi. This move is sure to click with the majority of the Indians who aren’t familiar with English.

Wikipedia opens its first office outside of the U.S. in India with an aim to improve its operations by providing content in Indian vernacular languages.