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Google vs Bing: Social Search

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by Tracy Mu Sung
 
In relation to our post yesterday on the Facebook Social Graph, it’s now time to look at another new development from the Microsoft/Facebook family. Bing has announced that their three-columned search results will now include 5x more Facebook updates than previously.
 

Bing three column social search

We’re having trouble seeing this in Sydney, this screenshot from Hubspot

 

Why is this? Well maybe because Bing can now use Facebooks Social Graph to dig in and return more valuable results. Similar to Google Plus in Google Search, the social feature introduced to Bing last May allows you to see where your connections might have information on your current search. It allegedly improves your results by helping you see results based on people you know, not just the thoughts and opinions of strangers.

 

It’s a tough competition between Google and Bing/Facebook. One has search wrapped up, the other has social – they’re now trying to compete to be the first to solve both sides of the equation.

Google needs more people to use Google Plus – and to that end has tried to increase usage by migrating all Google Businesses over there. Facebook realised it’s search was terrible, and knows that not all the answers can be found within the ‘Social Graph’. However, at the same time, using Bing to cover the search side of the equation doesn’t seem to be winning any wars.

 

Both sides have big strengths and big weaknesses.

 

Google Social Search vs Bing/Facebook Search

 

Why Bing Social Search is Better

– More people use Facebook than Google Plus

– Bing doesn’t replace any normal search listings with social listings

– It uses other social results like Twitter, Quora and Foursquare

 

Why Google Social Search is Better

– In Australia, and many other countries, Google is the main search engine

– It isn’t popular for no good reason – the results are better and have better localisation

– Integration of rich snippets including reviews, star ratings and even more impressively, Zagat, means that valuable information is imparted straight in the search results.

 

 

 

SEO and Social Media Performance Measurement

By | SEO, Social Media | No Comments


by Tracy Mu Sung

Here at MooMu Media we have put together an easy spreadsheet which you can download from our resources section to help you visualise your SEO and social media efforts compared to your competitors.

The simple comparison looks at:

– incoming links
– number of pages and
– social media participation

It is in no way exhaustive, but it can be useful to alert you to areas where your competitors are gaining strength or falling behind. Remember – information is power!

Here we have had a look at news sites in Australia. You simply fill in our spreadsheet in the following way using Opensiteexplorer.org and Google.

Comparing your competitor performance online

It should be noted that Opensiteexplorer is not always accurate. With incoming links, there isn’t really a way to double check, so you will just have to take it with a grain of salt. With social media metrics, it is easy for you to find your competitors on social media and get their actual stats.

 

If you need a quick primer with Opensiteexplorer watch our introductory tutorial below

 


 

 

Once you fill out the easy spreadsheet, on the next tab you will have some simple graphs to give you a visual idea of what is going on

Compare Linking domains

The first thing I discover is that the comparison I have chosen isn’t actually all apples with apples. You can see from ‘number of pages in site’ for abc.net.au that they far outstrip the others with amount of content. This is because abc.net.au is not purely a news site, but is also the website for the whole Australian Broadcasting Corporation – including all their tv shows.

Another interesting thing for ABC.net.au is that they are currently having a huge win in Google Plus over other online news sites – with over 40k Google Plus 1’s!

Abc.net.au performance on Google Plus
Investigation into their profile shows that it is updated once or twice daily, and gets a bit of interaction from users regarding their content. They aren’t linking to it very visibly from their site, but they do have a lot of their iView content featured on YouTube. How are they getting all these Plus 1’s? One clue is that they seem to be often a ‘featured site’ within the Google Plus interface.

So, that’s one interesting thing we discovered about this group of sites – what’s going on with the competitors in your niche?

Why Shoppers in China Don’t Use Search Engines

By | Multilingual, online shopping | No Comments

by Liliya Akhtemova – Intern at MooMu Media

You might remember that we posted a few weeks ago some interesting facts about online shoppers in China.
 
One of the most interesting discoveries for us was the fact that Chinese shoppers are developing the habit of not using search engines to find products online.
 
The Boston Consulting Group found that the relationship between search engines and retailers in China is very different to those in other countries. In China, the biggest search engine is Baidu, and the biggest online retailer is Taobao.com. Taobao.com blocks the Baidu search engine spider, meaning that if a shopper searches in Baidu – they will not see any Taobao products, (which accounted for nearly 80% of ecommerce volume in 2010).
 
This is resulting in China’s online shoppers preferring to go directly to TaoBao and bypassing search altogether, which makes their online shopping behaviour markedly different from that in other markets.
 
Back in 2008, TaoBao blocked all the search engine spiders – Yahoo, Google and Baidu. Baidu was targeted because it had launched its own C2C platform, which would be a competitor for TaoBao. The other search engines were partially blocked in an effort by TaoBao to reduce fraud.
 
In China, the majority of shopping searches take place within the online shopping platforms, although some searches are undertaken in normal search engines to collect information and compare prices between shopping websites. According to the China Intelli Consulting Corporation – around 80% of online shoppers surveyed rarely or never use search engines.
 
What does this mean for businesses? If you want to target shoppers in China, you need to look beyond normal search engine marketing techniques. You can’t simply target your website to China or operate a pay per click campaign in Baidu. You have to be aware of the biggest and most important platforms for your customers, and you need to operate through those.
 

Earlier in November twelve search engine companies met in Beijing at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The parties agreed to use robots.txt protocol, an industry convention, to tell cooperating search engines what information they can and can’t crawl on websites. This is to protect internet users from having their personal information mined and made public. Accusations of data mining and browser blocking have flown between Baidu (China’s biggest search engine) and Qihoo 360 (launched in August 2012, and already the second biggest search engine).
 
At around the same time as these meetings were going on, Google was completely blocked in China for 12 hours by Government authorities.

Multilingual SEO Tips – Part 2 – Hreflang

By | SEO | No Comments

By Tracy Mu Sung

 

In our previous blog post, Multilingual SEO Tips – Part 1 – Geo-Targeting – we mentioned the hreflang tag but didn’t go into details on how to use it.  Instead, the post talked about lot of things about geo-targeting and how to improve your rankings for particular languages (or in particular countries). It didn’t, however, get into the issue of this ‘relatively’ new markup tool from Google, the hreflang Rel Alternate.

 

The hreflang link element provides a connection between the various language versions of individual pages on your site and allows Google to swap the URLs currently shown in the search results with ones that are more relevant to the user. It does not affect the ranking of your site.

 

For example, if Google shows www.mysite.com/en/page1.html at rank 10, putting a href lang tag on that page for German doesn’t mean this page will necessarily rank higher in Germany, or for German language users. It just means that Google won’t show the German users the /en/ page. Instead, Google will deliver www.mysite.com/de/page1.html.

 

You might wonder why you can’t just use rel=canonical on your language pages? Google doesn’t recommend this, particularly now that it has dedicated markup for language. Using rel=canonical within a particular language version of your site is fine, but not instead of hreflang.

 

How to Use Rel Alternate Hreflang

 

The hreflang tag is used at a page level, not site level. For every page that has multiple language versions, you need to assign appropriate code. This can be on each individual page, or you can do it in your XML sitemap.

 

Hreflang on your pages

If your site is in German and English, then each page will have 2 extra lines of code in the <head> section of your pages:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”http://www.example.com/en” >
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”de” href=”http://www.example.com/de” >

 

This code must go on both http://www.example.com/en and http://www.example.com/de

There is no limit to the number of alternative pages you have. You can even do it for versions of the same language in different countries. For example, if you want to have dedicated content for English speakers in US versus English Speakers in Australia. You can find a list of language/location codes here.

 

Hreflang in Sitemaps

 

If you would rather, you can instead change your XML sitemap, to be set out like this:

 

<url>
<loc>http://www.example.com/en</loc>
<xhtml:link
rel=”alternate”
hreflang=”de”
href=”http://www.example.com/de” />
<xhtml:link
rel=”alternate”
hreflang=”en”
href=”http://www.example.com/en” />
</url>
<url>
<loc>http://www.example.com/de</loc>
<xhtml:link
rel=”alternate”
hreflang=”de”
href=”http://www.example.com/de” />
<xhtml:link
rel=”alternate”
hreflang=”en”
href=”http://www.example.com/en” />
</url>

 

 

If you use the XML sitemap version, you must update the opening of your XML sitemap to be;

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″
xmlns:xhtml=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”>

 

Finally, if you publish non-HTML files (E.g. PDFs), you can use an HTTP header

Link: <http://es.example.com/>; rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”es”

 

 

 

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