When Google launched their brand new search engine enhancement Google Instant two weeks ago it sent the whole world of SEO/SEM into a frenzy. Every search marketer was asking questions, and nobody had any answers. (I can picture the nightmares already) But don’t worry search marketers you can slip on your onesies and sleep uninterrupted, because EIM has some answers for you.
What does Google Instant mean for SEO?
1. There is no change to the organic ranking algorithm
Although user experience is significantly affected, Google search results will be ranked the same as always. (Don’t worry first pagers, your ranking will stay the same)
2. It’s very important to rank above the fold for general terms
There’s been a lot of talk that Google Instant is the death of SEO, but contrary to that rumor it has caused SEO to be even more important than ever. Before instant 68% of people didn’t go past the first page, now that instant is implemented it pushes all of the results down and to get to results on the bottom of the page you have to scroll down. This means that more than likely the results above the above the fold will receive a significantly larger amount of traffic then the results below, which means you want to optimize to not only be on the first page, but in the top 5.
3. Optimize for both Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords
Now that instant’s auto suggest plays a larger factor then it used to, it is important to optimize for those more generic terms so you show up for the early rounds of auto suggest.
At EIM, we’re always working to Stay on Top. On top of the latest trends in our industry, on top of the latest design techniques or the new Google Instant SEO changes. But last week we literally went Above It All by launching a new website for ROOF on theWit, the ultra-hip, ultra-fun downtown Chicago rooftop lounge that features some of the best views, yummiest cocktails, and most diverse crowd of visitors from all over the Chicagoland area.
One of ROOF’s biggest challenges is communicating to its customers that it is open 365 days a year. You may have seen the line wrapped around the block down in the Loop on a summer night when they hold their ROOFLIVE performances, but showcasing ROOF in the colder months was a main goal of the new website (and if you haven’t checked it out, please do. With the fireplace blazing in the Loft, and the snow falling 27 floors above Chicago, it is quite an experience!!) You can now see the seasonal changes right from the ROOF homepage!
ROOF also wanted a means to better engage and interact with its customers through the Stay on Top portion of the site, where you can sign up for Mobile Alerts (how nice would it be to get a text letting you know there is no line outside!?!), watch their YouTube videos, or become a fan of their Facebook page.
A third goal for the ROOF team was to encourage private events bookings like birthday and bachelor parties, wedding receptions, and corporate events. So share the site with your boss and start planting some Holiday Party ideas
Nielsen recently released a State of Mobile Apps report. It’s mainly a collection of nice graphs depicting how we use mobile, based on the Nielsen App Playbook Study of 4,000 people. The highlights:
types of apps
The most commonly downloaded apps are games.
The most popular individual app across all platforms is the Facebook app. Google Maps, The Weather Channel, and Pandora round out the top five most popular apps on iPhone, Android OS, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile—the four operating platforms Nielsen focused on for this study.
The study notes that YouTube is among the top five most popular apps used on Android devices, and Twitter is among the top five most commonly used apps on the BlackBerry. “Perhaps because the device’s keyboard is optimized for typing,” reasons the report, not taking into account that, really, all keyboards are optimized for typing.
advertising in apps
Teenagers aged 13-17 are more likely to notice advertisements within apps than “old” people (anyone older than 17, in this study).
Men are more likely to be affected by mobile ads than women.
Android users are more likely to click on an ad within an app than an iPhone user is. BlackBerry users are the least likely to click on an app ad.
That last point isn’t surprising. There are considerably fewer apps that run on BlackBerrys than on Androids or iPhones, so there are considerably fewer app users with BlackBerrys. Furthermore, Android, an open-source platform, is filled with apps that are free to download. So, it makes sense that a free app would contain an ad. iPhone apps, on the other hand, are often paid for, which means they require fewer ad dollars—hence, they feature fewer ads. (If anyone would like to relay this payment-should-mean-no-ads concept to the individuals responsible for bombarding audiences with soda commercials before previews at the movies, it would be greatly appreciated.)
DS: To me, the signs of a bad app are when you can’t use it in the places you use a mobile phone. For instance, on the train, with one hand holding on to an overhead bar and suddenly I can’t work with this app because I only have the hand I’m using to hold the phone. That’s a not very well thought-out mobile app.
I feel like, a lot of the time with mobile apps or mobile websites, they take the same approach to development that you would take creating something for the desktop—no thinking about contextualization. Context is everything.The context in which somebody’s going to use this thing has to be the first thing you think about when you’re developing for a mobile device. With a desktop, it’s constant. I’m conforming myself to this thing, whether it’s a desktop or a laptop; I’m coming to it and then I consume it in a very static way.
With mobile, this thing comes to me, and it has to be ready in any context to do the things I need it to do, or I’m not going to go back to those apps. That’s true with design, with speed. You’re not going to spend a long time waiting for something to chunk through what it’s doing. These processors, they’re amazing magic things, but they’re slow compared to a desktop, so you need to think about the fact that they’re slow. But the big thing is context, definitely.
In today’s world, mobile websites are a necessity for any organization or business. Dan Sinker professor of Online and Mobile Journalism at Columbia College Chicago, explains why in part 3 of our mobile series. (Catch up on Dan’s thoughts about mobile advertising here.)
EIM: What are some of the key characteristics when developing for mobile web versus developing an app?
DS: [When developing] for the mobile web, you’re taking your normal web-development skills and considering how they scale down to a much smaller screen. Developing for an app—one reason why people like developing apps is that the user interface stuff is really fun. I’m beginning to think that the right approach is to do both at this point.
If I’m on the web on my phone and somebody links to something on the Tribune, my phone doesn’t say, “Oh, you have the Chicago Tribune’s app loaded, now let me load up to that, let me find that content that was just called and present it to you in that way.” It doesn’t work that way. Instead, it links me to the Chicago Tribune’s website, and suddenly I’m looking at this huge, bloated, awful desktop website. What is the point of that?
Have a mobile site no matter what. We’re at a point now where you can’t not have a mobile site. Well, we should be at that point. It’s impossible to predict how someone’s coming into your site now. For all the sites that have built apps that are really nice, they still need to have at least a mobile view on their website, so that content isn’t lost when someone’s on a mobile device. You’ve got to have it.
Sit tight for the final and most fantastic part 4 of 4—thoughts on mobile browsing and desktop browsing. Until then, see Dan conquer Twitter.
I told myself I’d never do this, and I’m still a little upset that I’m thinking about it, but becoming one of the 160 million people worldwide with a Twitter account seems to be inevitable. More specifically, as an intern in interactive marketing, I’m beginning to see that Twitter has a lot more to offer than updates of my friend wondering why the hipster baristas at Starbucks aren’t as surly as usual.
First off, Twitter is a useful tool for a young copywriter, in the sense that the 140-character limit really makes you think about what to say and how to say it. The practice of creating concise and compelling tweets can be a great exercise in communicating something in the fewest words possible, something every good copywriter does every day. Such exercises provide a fun method for improving your approach to writing headlines, taglines, or copy in general. Twitter also inevitably forces you to edit and critique your own work, while picking up techniques and stylistic cues from other authors.
And with Twitter announcing the release of a newly revamped and more user-friendly website in the next few weeks, it seems like as good a time as ever to hop on the Twitter bandwagon. Some of the site’s upgrades will include a continuous stream of incoming tweets, a more advertiser-friendly setup, and a new layout that allows users to get more information about a post or its author. It will also make sharing pictures and videos easier than ever, since users will no longer be redirected to another website to view the content. The changes will make Twitter more convenient and less time-consuming, which will make it even more likely that your content will be enjoyed by others.
Previously, professor of Online and Mobile Journalism at Columbia College Chicago Dan Sinker discussed when apps are applicable. Now, he continues to delve out advice on all things mobile.
EIM: What are your thoughts regarding effective mobile ads? It seems like a lot of people will ignore them, we ignore ads pretty much any time we go on the internet.
DS: I think that people definitely ignore them, though they are much harder to ignore. If I’ve got a window on my desktop that’s 1200 pixels wide or 1800 pixels wide, and there’s a 300 by 300 pixel ad on that window, I can very easily filter that thing out. If I’ve got a mobile site up or a mobile app that even has even a 60 pixel high banner, I’m going to at least see it. I may not click on it, but click numbers are not bad right now on mobile.
My general feeling in what mobile ads I’m seeing is that the inventory isn’t there yet to produce totally relevant ads. I should be able to see an ad that is Chicago-specific, is specific to the content that I’m looking at, and theoretically should be able to appeal to me in some way or another. That’s the only option in advertising.
In some ways those options get better with mobile because you suddenly have the location factor to be able to search stuff up, but your inventory needs get better at that point because what’s relevant location-wise is a very finite thing. What’s relevant to me here in Chicago might not be relevant if I lived in Tinley Park. I’m not going to suddenly come into the city because there’s a lunch special down the street.
If ever anyone appreciated the internet, it’s Dan Sinker, publisher of the late Punk Planet magazine. Now a professor of Online Journalism at Columbia College Chicago, Sinker also runs CellStories.net, a “daily dose of awesome” viewable only on mobile web. In the midst of finalizing plans for his fall Mobile Journalism class—the only course of its kind in the country, at the moment—he shared his thoughts on the current mobile landscape.
envisionit media: You’ve said that one shouldn’t make an app unless it needs to be an app. When is an app applicable?
Dan Sinker: If all you’re doing is presenting information to a user—that does not need to be an app. You get more into the need for an app when you have to access things that are specific to the device. [Last year], if you were making a leading-edge mobile thing, you might have well made an app, versus a website, because the only thing that was getting onto the mobile web by a huge margin was the iPhone. But now that’s much less true.
At this point, Android is on this crazy tear, it’s 25 percent of US mobile web traffic now. The iPhone—all the i-Devices that count together—accounts for just over 50 percent. You’re talking about a good half of that now is Android, whereas, a year ago, it was less than 10 percent.
So, suddenly, if you’re making an app, you’re making a conscious decision to support Thing A, and not Thing B—or Thing C or D or E or F. The mobile ecosystem is gigantic. It’s ‘I’m supporting this thing,’ and you’d better have a pretty good argument for why, or you’d better have something somewhere else. There are plenty of good reasons to make an app, the main one being discoverability is much easier. That’s the reason the App store was successful to begin with, is that people think to look in an App store for something on their mobile phone. We don’t do that on our computer at all. You’re just going to type in the information [into Google] and get it.
We are extremely excited to announce that our work for the Carol’s Cookies website was nationally recognized by OMMA Magazine! Today we were named as one of 3 finalists in the Retail category for Website Excellence for the Carol’s Cookies site. OMMA is a MediaPost Magazine in the media and digital industries and the awards recognize outstanding achievement in website excellence, integrated online campaigns, and online advertising creativity.
Why did OMMA think Carol’s was a winner? Well, Carol’s Cookies has an impressive, memorable product (the most delicious 1/2 lb. homemade, all-natural cookies ever!!) But their cute website and online store wasn’t driving quite the number of online purchasers that such a product should. So, we worked with the Highland Park-based cookie company to research the behavior of Carol’s online audience and took measures to refresh and rejuvenate their ecommerce site.
First discovery: the CarolsCookies.com visitors navigate in droves to the sections of the website about Carol and her background, and about the cookies themselves and the flavors available. Since they like to learn about the brand, engage with it, perhaps even celebrate it, eim put Carol right on the home page, along with user- and seo-friendly copy about Carol’s story.
Some other vital-to-the-business messages that were never previous featured on the home page of the site include: Ordering Cookies online! Yes, the store section always existed, but semantics tended to avert people—changing the store name from “Carol’s Gifts” to “Order Cookies” now tells the user exactly what to do. It also reminds the user that it’s okay to order cookies for oneself, not just as a gift. Corporate Gifts! The focus on gifts was always weighted a bit much on small-scale special occasion gifts, when corporate thank you or referral gifts drive much more effective sales.
Finally—yes, these cookies are each about a half-pound. But this is a fact that was sadly buried on the old website. So eim brought an actual-sized Carol’s cookie to the front of a home page move that ultimately drives users to the online store.
OMMA winners are announced on September 27, we’re keeping our fingers crossed – we’re up against UPS and Pedigree, but we think we have a pretty good chance
If you’ve been on Google Search anytime in the past week you may have noticed that your computer’s been acting really strange… Links and ads have been switching in and out as you type, even before you hit the search key! What’s up with that? Well, you can go grab your laptop out of the trashcan because there isn’t anything wrong with it; you’ve just experienced the brand new Google Instant!
What is Google Instant?
Google Instant is their brand new enhancement to their search engine that shows you search results the second you start typing. That’s right ladies and gentlemen you don’t even have to hit the search key. Not only that, they’ve enhanced the prediction features to help guide you if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, or if you just don’t feel like typing the whole thing out J. (No need to worry, this does not affect the ranking of search results).
Check out this neat little video by Google to show you what Instant is all about: