Thursday, October 22, 2009

Google Releases Lucky Number 7 Analytics Features

Google apparently believes lucky numbers and analytics are as synergistic as a hand and a glove. The Mountain View, Calif. search engine released seven features in Google Analytics, giving advertisers and marketers increased insight into actionable data and accountability for Web campaigns.

Released Tuesday, the features range from better intelligence and custom alerts to multiple custom variables and mobile tracking. Analytics Intelligence, which Online Media Daily reported in September, features an algorithmic-driven intelligence engine. It provides automatic alerts of changes in site metrics and data patterns. The tool calls out rises in bounce rates, for example. It allows marketers to compare the findings with data collected on the same day one week prior. Rather than dig through reports, the tool alerts marketers of the change.

Custom Alerts based on key performance indicators enable marketers to customize metrics based on their needs. Some marketers may want to set the threshold to 10% and others 5%, because some might want to monitor fluctuating conversion rates in the United Kingdom versus "spikier" conversion rates in Australia, explains Amy Chang, group product manager for Google Analytics at Google. "It's about insight vs. just data," she says. "If your shopping cart abandonment rate rises by 1% or 2% it will alert you."

Chang says the Custom Alerts will not tell you "why" the change occurred, but it will give marketers the data and the metrics to analyze and diagnose the results. Today, there's no replacement for human intervention, but some believe it's just a matter of time before Google's algorithms provide deeper insight.

Most of the functions announced are intended to further enhance Google Analytics' enterprise functions, such as unique visitor tracking, custom variables, mobile tracking and goals. "The most innovative development is the analytics intelligence function that uses an algorithm to identify trends and data anomalies," says Forrester Research Analyst John Lovett. "This cool feature proactively calls out data trends that can lead to insights and revelations. While the intelligence tool operates in automated fashion to detect data patterns, users can also leverage new alerting functions to trigger emails for anticipated events. This combination of new features provides latitude for analysis and action on both anticipated and unexpected events."

Aside from intelligence and alerts, another feature that Google calls Multiple Custom Variable allows marketers to classify interactions and behaviors to determine how visitors interact with the Web site. The tools can monitor visitor attributes, such as whether the person had signed up to become a member.

The tool also allows publishers to identify attributes of the visitor. Does she subscribe to the print magazine, or visit the Web site daily or weekly? Web site owners can now send Google the attribute data to analyze. "First party cookie tracking" can determine the frequency with which people have frequented the site.

The biggest benefit to the Multiple Custom Variables feature could become the ability to capture data and have it analyzed by Google. "We capture, aggregate, analyze and send back swabs of information to determine the percentage of male visitors, or a household income of more than $150,000," Chang says. "Once the Web site owner specifies the custom variables, within 24 hours you'll begin to see the data populate."

Companies that launch two Halloween campaigns -- one for teens and another for parents -- on their Web site "can capture the campaign people come in through," Chang says, referring to data and points of conversion.

Mobile tracking has become easier, too, with this release. Google can now help track user engagement with applications on phones running Android and Apple's iPhone. Marketers optimizing content for mobile devices and have created a mobile Web sites can tap into Google Analytics to track traffic to mobile sites from all Web-enabled devices, whether or not the device runs JavaScript.

The server side code snippet placed on mobile Web sites make it possible. Google now supports PHP, Perl, JSP and ASPX sites with this release. Marketers can still track visits to regular Web sites coming from high-end, JavaScript-enabled phones.

Google has come a long way since introducing Google Analytics in October 2005, revamping the tool in April 2007 to make it easier to use. In October 2008, Google began introducing free enterprise features, such as custom reporting, export API tools, that previously were made available in paid software applications.

Google Analytics Announces New Features for Google Analytics

Google has today announced a host of new features that will be incorporated to vastly improve the Google Analytics program. The new features include an intelligent feature which promises to alert you to significant changes in data received, more powerful goal setting options, more mobile reporting and advanced analysis features.

It is unclear at the moment when Google will allow people to start using the new feature but it looks like many people will be pleased with the new versatility.

The new features include the following:

Intelligence – Understand more of the data you receive
• Analytics Intelligence
• Custom Alerts

More Powerful Options - More data manipulation and analysis features

• Engagement Goals
• Expanded Mobile Reporting
• Advanced Analysis Features
• Unique Visitor Metric

Flexibility – Tools to adapt and customise Google Analytics

• Multiple Custom Variables
• Sharing Segments and Custom Report Templates

For full detail on the updates please visit:

Google Analytics adds loads of new features

Google Audio music service launching soon? (update: seems it!)

So TechCrunch has it from multiple sources that a US (at least) music service launch from Google is imminent. Possibly named Google Audio, it's unclear whether the service will stream music from the major labels and/or offer it as downloadable tracks. Scuttlebutt says that the service will differ from Google's free, search and download music offering available in China since 2008. Now go ahead, kick back and imagine a Google music service tightly integrated with Android while we dig for more details.

[Via Pocket-lint]

Update: Looks like Google's planning to dive on in with iLike and LaLa, and the whole shindig may end up being called One Box.

Google's New Social Search Is A Big Chess Move Against Facebook

Web search, real-time search and social search. That's a pretty compelling combination and it's what both Google and Facebook put on the table today in a head-to-head competiton. Google's Marissa Mayer did a short, surprise demo today of an experimental Google feature called Social Search but don't mistake the understated announcement to mean this was a small move. The Web 2.0 Summit today has been jam packed with very big search moves.

Both companies are hoping you'll come to their sites to search for what you're looking for, what people are saying about that topic and what your friends think. Microsoft is very much in the game, too. Here are some things to consider in this search war. It's a new fight - now including the real-time, social web!


The following is our attempt to piece all of this together, but the war rooms of each of these companies are no doubt buzzing trying to put together and understand the same details and more.

Google's new Social Search will allow users to opt-in to having search results from content created by their friends on social networks around the web included in Google search results. Those friend connections could come from any number of sites that you and your friends have listed in your Google Profiles - but it won't include Facebook. That means it won't include very much, unless Twitter and Google Profiles become a lot more integrated.

twittergooggreasemonkey.jpgMicrosoft announced today that Facebook status messages and other content from Facebook users with public profiles will soon appear in Bing search results. That's a huge change for Facebook. Bing also announced Twitter search integration, which is live now.

Google announced a deal with Twitter today as well. So Bing has Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has Bing-powered web search. Google just has Twitter, no Facebook search.

Right now Twitter search is probably much bigger than Facebook (unless you're Facebook serving logged-in users), because only a tiny portion of the much larger number of Facebook users have opted-in to making their Facebook activity public. But Facebook has an explicit agenda to change that. One reason for that is that more public Facebook activity makes deals like the one it made with Bing today much more valuable.

More now than ever, Google needs Twitter data to combat Facebook's social dominance - Facebook is five to ten times as big as Twitter today.

Microsoft would rather you did all your searching from Bing but it does own a meaningful portion of Facebook. You can bet it wishes it owned more.

No one is set to be the clear winner here, but with far more social activity and a multi-layered partnership with the first qualified web-search challenger to Google in years (Bing) Facebook may in fact have the strongest hand.

It's going to be a wild ride and big moves are being made right now.

New Google Music Service Launch Imminent

Google will soon launch a music service, we’ve heard from multiple sources, and the company has spent the last several weeks securing content for the launch of the service from the major music labels. One source has referred to the new service as Google Audio.

We’re still gathering details, but our understanding is the service will be very different to the Google China music download service that they launched in 2008. That service, which is only available in China, allows users to search for music and download it for free.

This new service will be available for at least U.S. users, our sources confirm, although it isn’t clear if it’s a download or streaming service, or both. Google already has a decent (if little used) music search engine that can be accessed by simply typing “music:” before a query (example). But songs are not available for streaming or download from those searches.

We’ll update as we get more details.

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Google Talks Up Chrome Operating System as Windows 7 Launches

Web applications such as Gmail and Google Wave are paving the way for major adoption of the Google Chrome Web browser and fueling the forthcoming Chrome Operating System, says Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit Oct. 22. In fact, Web apps made it imperative for Google to create Chrome. Pichai's points about Chrome OS and managing user data in the cloud are interesting in relation to Microsoft's launch of Windows 7 in New York.

SAN FRANCISCO—A Google executive said complex Web applications such as Gmail and Google Wave are paving the way for major adoption of the Google Chrome Web browser, which has racked up more than 30 million active users since its launch in September 2008.

Rich Web applications are also fueling the forthcoming Chrome Operating System, said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit here Oct. 22.

Pichai called the Chrome browser the modern operating system for those Web applications, powered by the Chrome OS platform, which is essentially Chrome on top of Linux with a new windowing system. The idea is that users of netbooks and other devices running Chrome OS won't need to install, tune or maintain the software on PCs.

"In our model ... they don't manage software, they don't manage data, everything is in the cloud," Pichai said. You should be able to take a Chrome OS netbook, get back your windows, get back your state and go.

This talking point about Chrome OS managing user data in the cloud took on an interesting light in relation to Microsoft's launch of Windows 7 in New York today, Oct. 22. Windows 7, the latest iteration of the on-premises operating system, is being roundly praised and is considered a vast improvement over Windows Vista.

Web 2.0 Summit co-host Tim O'Reilly asked Pichai whether Chrome OS was on a collision course with Windows, as both seek for more placement on netbooks, those smaller notebook computers that specialize in running Web applications. Windows XP is the leading operating system on netbooks.

Pichai laughed, but didn't take the bait, answering that the industry is seeing "tremendous innovation in personal computing once again." Browsers and operating systems, fueled by Chrome and the Google Android mobile operating system, are becoming modernized, he said.

"Today, a browser is a bolted-on icon on top of the operating system," Pichai said. "We really want to flip that around ... When I look at my behavior—and it's true for a lot of users out here—we spend most of our time on the Web today and the amount of time is going to increase. Within Google, since we use a lot of Google Apps, I never, ever open anything around my browser."

Pichai also said he foresaw Chrome OS appearing on other clamshell devices with a keyboard and touchpad, but declined to be more specific.

Despite allusions to Chrome-related news from show co-host John Battelle, Pichai had nothing new to announce about Chrome or Chrome OS. He didn't even bother to mention the new Chrome artist themes launched today.

In fact, the latest on Chrome OS came during Google's third-quarter earnings call Oct. 15: Schmidt said Chrome OS was being tweaked for a developer release for later in 2009.

Chrome OS-based netbooks are expected in 2010, when they will have to challenge Microsoft's claim of 96 percent share of the netbook market via Windows XP.

This disparity is even greater than the gulf between the Chrome browser, which has a 3.2 percent market share, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, which is losing share but is still easily the leader at 65.7 percent.

Google, Verizon Find Common Ground on Net Neutrality

On the eve of the FCC's vote Thursday to propose codified network neutrality rules, Verizon and Google got together Wednesday night both for a dual blog posting on a number of network neutrality issues.

It mirrored the comity that was to come at the FCC meeting, where Republican and Democratic commissioners diverged over policy but joined to take the debate to the next level in the spirit of collegial opposition.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam conceded that the two seemed "unlikely bedfellows" on the issue, and that they do disagree strongly on certain aspects of network neutrality, but they also said that there was a lot they agreed on, including that "it's essential that the Internet remains an unrestricted and open platform -- where people can access any content (so long as it's legal), as well as the services and applications of their choice."

They also said they agreed that any new FCC rules should be flexible and not overly detailed to avoid unintended consequences, though the two disagree on the need for those rules. Verizon sees no basis for new rules, while Google says "light touch" regulations are necessary safeguards to combative incentives for carriers to "pick winners and losers."

The "kumbaya" moment for the network and Internet company got a shout out from FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell at the FCC's public meeting announcing the net neutrality proposal. "I hope that yesterday's joint blog post between Google and Verizon Wireless on the importance of the consumer Internet experience is the start of continued collaboration and dialogue among these two communities, " he said. It also got a shout-out in public comments on the FCC vote by Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (which includes Google and Microsoft, among others).

"We applaud Verizon's progressive attempts to find common ground with other sectors of the Internet ecosystem," said Black, "and its joint declaration with Google on several key points of agreement, including that customers-not network operators-should have the final say when it comes to their online experience."

Google Co-founder Sergey Brin Says He Did Not Try to Buy Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin said Google did not try to buy Twitter, casting off reports to that affect in a surprise visit onstage here at the Web 2.0 Summit Oct. 22.

Web 2.0 Summit Co-Host John Battelle asked Brin if Google tried to acquire Twitter, the microblogging with whom Google struck a deal with Oct. 21 to index Twitter tweets in real time on Google search results pages.

"I did not try to buy Twitter," Brin said, before adding a quixotic comment certain to be parsed to death in the blogosphere. "If companies approach us, we definitely consider any a opportunities."

Does that suggest that Twitter shopped itself to Google? Or was Brin answering that he personally did not try to buy the company. It's unclear.

Brin did say it was exciting to see Twitter CEO Evan Williams enjoy success twice in the Internet sector. Williams founded Pyra Labs, which Googleacquired for its Blogger assets in 2005.

"To see him... succeed even more dramatically a second time, I think it reaffirmed a difference an entrpreneur can make to me," Brin said. Twitter's star is on the rise for sure. Google announced its deal with Twitter at the show hours after Microsoft executives said the Bing search engine would index real-time content from Twitter and Facebook.

The rest of the discussion was diverse, covering Brin's thoughts on Microsoft Bing, the search engine gunning for Google's 65 percent market share; Chrome for Mac; Google Book Search; and the alleged Google Phone.

First, the Bing discussion. Battelle asked Brin if he was a Bing user. Brin was characteristically noncommittal, noting that he uses a lot of search engines out there and that Bing reminds "us that search is a very competitive market. There are many interesting companies out there."

He pointed to Bing, Powerset, which Microsoft acquired as the semantic search engine to power Bing and Cuil. He said Microsoft Live Search had a lot of nice features that Bing brought with it.

Google, Verizon Jointly Back 'Open Internet'

Internet companies and telecoms are often on opposite sides of the net neutrality debate, but search giant Google and Verizon Wireless have found some common ground on the issue.

As the Federal Communications Commission laid out its draft rules Thursday that would prevent network operators from favoring certain types of traffic over others, Google and Verizon said there are a few basic concepts that should be the foundation for future regulations.

The companies agree that "it's essential that the Internet remains an unrestricted and open platform." The top consideration should be that the end user has the final say about their Web experience, including choice over what hardware and software they use, the companies said in a joint statement.

"The Internet revolution has been people-powered from the very beginning, and should remain so," said a joint blog post from Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "The minute that anyone, whether from the government or the private sector, starts to control how people use the Internet, it is the beginning of the end of the Net as we know it."

Google and Verizon said the rules should also recognize that incentives for investments and innovation are important for future development of the Web. The companies also said the FCC should allow flexibility for future policy, and that certain aspects of the FCC's existing wireless broadband principles can be applied to the wireless market.

The companies went on to say that network operators should have the flexibility to manage their networks in order to address spam, malware, denial of service attacks, and other potential threats. The FCC appeared to agree with this sentiment, as its draft rules make exceptions for "reasonable network management" such as managing network congestion and blocking illegal content or illegal transfer of content.

This is the latest collaboration between the two companies. The wireless carrier and search giant also have plans to jointly create, market, and distribute products built around Google's Android mobile operating system. The first product of this relationship is expected to be a Motorola smartphone called Droid.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the public cloud, digging into the gritty details of cloud computing services from a dozen vendors. Download the report here (registration required).

MySpace, Facebook, Google, Music Labels Bow to Inevitable

It’s difficult to look at what seems to be a big opportunity — selling music over the web at the big social networking and search sites — and see anything other than success. And big is what comes to mind when MySpace, Facebook, and Google all work with major music labels to let consumers purchase music where they’re most accustomed to be online, and not having to go to a store (read that as Apple or Amazon) to get what they want. But these are not chances grasped with foresight. They are the worried grasping of companies that, for differing reasons, all have their backs against the wall.

A big statement, I know, but look at history for a moment. People have been buying music online for … how many years? Long enough that Apple could establish a lyrical hegemony. All the companies above, including the labels themselves, could have entered this field far sooner. But they didn’t. Why? I think it comes down to being too comfortable with a way of working — advertising, in each case — and not wanting to face the reality of needing to move away from that model.

Thanks to the disastrous lurching of the advertising industry in the face of the general economy over the last year, that strategy has gone the way of the dodo. Now everyone wants to carve out other ways of making money, which generally means either selling data on customers, which they already do (and for which there are many other sources, reducing the perceived value), or getting a piece of some transaction. Google has clearly been on this path, and both Facebook and MySpace are feeling their limitations. In fact, MySpace CEO Owen van Natta admitted that his company had given up trying to beat Facebook.

The music labels are completely desperate, given how CD sales have been hammered for years. Availability of digital single tracks reduces the need to buy an entire CD for the one or two songs that might satisfy many. That means people spend less money overall, so less money for the labels. As if this should have been a surprise to anyone. The other facet of this gem of a situation that should also be shining enough to be obvious is that in some industries, distribution becomes a zero sum game. For example, up to a point a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks will sell more cups of coffee if it has more locations, because it reduces the inconvenience factor for consumers, who might purchase from you if you don’t make them go out of their way. But that owes to physical travel. Online? Just how inconvenient is it for people already accustomed to purchasing from the iTunes store to continue buying there? Yes, there will probably be some increase, and having a hub for popular music videos might help MySpace, though YouTube is also pretty convenient. And Facebook’s emphasis on sending music to friends, either on a stream or as a file, also holds some promise, though I suspect far less than management thinks. People share music links as it is, and probably files, and I wonder if the uptake isn’t going to be relatively disappointing.

These moves aren’t genius or bold. They’re late, they’re minor, and they’re unlikely to make much difference in the industry. All they will do is placate management and provide an excuse for the question, “Daddy, when the face of media and technology changed, what did you do?”

AT&T, Google Battle Over Web Rules

WASHINGTON—There's nothing neutral in the battle between AT&T Inc. and Google Inc. over the future of the Internet.

Google, the powerhouse of Silicon Valley, and AT&T, champion for the old-line phone industry, are marshaling political allies, lobbyists and—in AT&T's case—labor unions for a fight over proposed "net neutrality" rules that could affect tens of billions of dollars in investments needed to upgrade the U.S. broadband network, which lags in speed and affordability compared with some countries.

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission made good on its promise to push new rules that would require Internet providers such as AT&T to deliver Web traffic without delay.

Broadly, that means cable and phone companies couldn't block or slow access to services from Google, Netflix or others that are a drain on their networks or could compete with their businesses.

But as the details of the new rules are hammered out in coming months, AT&T and Google are ramping up efforts to ensure the FCC doesn't impose rules that could hurt their profits or expansion plans.

Plenty of lobbyists have made their concerns about the FCC's proposal known to their political allies over the past few weeks. But AT&T lobbyists were particularly active, swarming Capitol Hill and state houses, prompting a bipartisan mix of governors, congressmen and senators to send worried letters to the FCC. Two big labor unions have taken out newspaper ads attacking the new rules.

"Google to date has gotten relatively a free pass that they're somehow promoting the public good on net neutrality as opposed to, what I see, is that they're trying to entrench their business model," said Robert Quinn, AT&T's senior regulatory lawyer in Washington.

Google responded this week with letters of support from dozens of technology-company CEOs and venture capitalists.

"It's not too strong to say we were caught off guard" by AT&T's efforts, says Richard Whitt, Google's top Washington policy lawyer, who said AT&T was deliberately trying to make the issue about Google, not the Internet itself.

"Part of it is this notion that you find one name and you make it the object of all your scorn and your vilification," Mr. Whitt added. "What we represent unnerves them."

As phone and video services have migrated online, the FCC has struggled to stretch its authority over new technologies. The FCC's net neutrality proposal, driven by Chairman Julius Genachowski, is the strongest move yet by the federal government to assert control over the rules of the road on the Internet.

Mr. Genachowski and his aides have been taken aback by the uproar. "In the run-up to today's meeting, there has been a deluge of rumors, and no shortage of myths and half-truths," Mr. Genachowski said during Thursday's FCC meeting. "We're addressing a topic of great importance, where parties have strong views based on differing perspective and experiences."

FCC commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the rule-making process but the two Republicans on the commission disagreed on the need for them and raised concerns about how the rules might apply to wireless providers and premium services that cable and phone companies want to offer.

AT&T and other Internet-access providers want latitude to manage traffic on congested wireless networks and freedom to devote a chunk of their wired networks to selling more expensive services. Internet providers are worried regulators are assuming veto power over their efforts to develop new revenue streams from their Internet lines.

Google and other Internet companies fret that phone and cable companies will hobble their efforts to offer competing services online or will try charging them more for better connections to consumers.

Google wants phone and cable companies to deliver all traffic equally, so carriers can't get in the way of it offering consumers high-definition TV shows or movies on YouTube or phone services like Google Voice.

Thus far, there have been only two high-profile instances of blocking or slowing Internet traffic, and both stopped soon after the FCC told the companies to knock it off.

The skirmishing over federal regulation of the Web between AT&T and Google has gone on for several years. But the FCC's move to put forward stronger open Internet rules has escalated the fight.

AT&T recently accused Google of blocking calls with its Google Voice service, and provided evidence to the FCC that the search giant wasn't connecting calls to a convent of Benedictine nuns, among others. The FCC launched an inquiry.

Earlier this week, two big labor unions—the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers—took out advertisements in the Washington Post raising concerns that the new rules could discourage investments in telecommunications infrastructure, which to the unions means jobs.

Google returned fire late Sunday night, releasing a letter from 24 chief executive officers and tech-company founders, including Facebook Inc.'s Mark Zuckerberg, and IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s Barry Diller, urging the FCC to move ahead with the proposal. A similar letter, from more than two dozen venture capitalists, arrived at the FCC Tuesday morning.

It's not the first time the two companies have faced off in Washington. AT&T and other wireless carriers were infuriated when Google successfully pushed the FCC to impose conditions on airwaves auctioned in 2008. Google bid enough to trigger the conditions—some $4.6 billion—and promptly dropped out of the auction. The wireless carriers weren't much happier when Google helped to successfully push the FCC to set aside some valuable airwaves for free, unlicensed use by potential competitors.

Google's success at getting the FCC to embrace its vision of the Internet hasn't been matched at other agencies. Last month, the Justice Department urged a federal appeals court to reject a settlement between Google and the Authors Guild and Publishers over its book search service.

A Federal Trade Commission investigation prompted Google CEO Eric Schmidt to leave Apple Inc.'s board and Genentech Inc. CEO Arthur Levinson to leave Google's board.

Meanwhile, both Congress and the FTC have expressed concerns about current online advertising and privacy practices of Internet companies including Google. Consumer groups have also weighed in, along with advocacy groups such as the Future of Privacy Forum, which is funded by AT&T.

Supporting SEO with effective Post-Click Marketing

Alright, I know that’s hardly a killer punch line, but it should get you thinking about what your site does for you. To my mind every website should be a salesperson- or at least do some of the things that you’d want a salesperson to do.

Most websites are selling something; even if those things can’t be commoditised (I’m thinking “ideas” here). A blog that is alive and kicking is selling the author, or their ideas. In order to sell things you need to at least meet some expectations of the people you want to be interested in you.

Like a good salesperson a good website should present clear messages in accessible language. It should be able to answer questions and objections, and show evidence of success and happy customers, and show with clarity what is on offer. For an SEO these are great content opportunities- especially the “what is on offer” as these pages are the bulk of e-commerce site. They also count as the post-click- what people find once they’ve arrived.

Outside of SEO, the salesperson analogy is also really helpful when taking an objective view of the look and feel of your site. You wouldn’t want someone who represents your business turning out badly dressed and unkempt, or like a 20 year throwback (or even well, but inappropriately dressed). People make instant judgements based on appearance, and they do the same with your site.

Regardless of design trends, how your site looks compared with all the others chasing the same customer matters. I’m not suggesting that you magic a budget out of thin air and build a brand new site every 6 months, but at least take at look at your competitors and see what they’re up to. If you’re lucky enough to be competing with a raft of ugly, hard to use, websites you can steal a march on them just by making yours look good, and work well.

If you’re in a market where everyone else has a smashing website, and yours is dated and has less to offer, you really should consider how to get up to speed. Mostly this can be achieved with design refresh- there’s often no need to invest heavily in a new CMS, or re-engineer your database, or add a bunch of flash, or… the list is long.

When re-skinning a tired looking site you can also add useful content such as a news service, or create better conversion opportunities. You’ll be giving your salesperson a new wardrobe, a haircut, a nice car even, and a much better chance of getting the business.

We live in an image obsessed age, so even though SEO can drive visits, you need something to welcome them in and make them want to stay once they’ve arrived. Search engine marketing is as much about the post-click as it is about the promotion.

SEO Marketing Defined

At this point, most people know what SEO is. It’s the process of getting your website ranked higher in the search engines, so that you gain more traffic and exposure. However, most people still do not understand the ins and outs of how it really works, and what kinds of expectations they should have when getting started with SEO marketing.

There are many different elements of an effective search marketing campaign. With SEO, the details definitely do make a big difference, and the most successful campaigns are the ones that combine many different strategies into one cohesive plan. The key ingredient of SEO however remains to be the effective use of properly targeted keywords.

Keywords are the actual terms that people type into the search engines in order to begin looking for something. By targeting the right keywords and key phrases, you can increase your chances of being found by more individuals. Research here is of the utmost importance, because by digging down into the data you can find great long-tail key phrases, which have three or more words, which will enable you to be ranked as highly as possible.

After creating a researched list of keywords and phrases, SEO marketing is about using those keywords in many different ways. The proper inclusion of them across a spectrum of different areas will enable your site to soar up the search engine rankings, seeing much more traffic and many more prospects and customers.

The use of keywords for SEO can be applied in every step of the website design and development process. For example, by picking a domain name including one of your keywords, you give yourself a leg up on the competition already. You can then name your individual content pages with other keywords, targeting more phrases from the get-go and giving yourself a better chance of ranking highly.

Most people still most commonly associated keyword usage with the actual content that goes on the page. This is still true, however there is an important line that has to be made. The line is the difference between naturally included targeting keywords while providing useful, informative content and stuffing dozens of useless pages of content with superfluous keywords in hopes of finding more traffic. Clearly, the latter is a strategy doomed for success, both with your site visitors and with the search engines themselves.

SEO marketing also entails work that is done off of the page’s of your website. These strategies are collectively known as offsite search engine optimization. One of the main components here is link building, which is adding more incoming links that lead to your website and its pages. The more links the better, because they help to build your reputation and credibility.

Understanding the roots of SEO marketing as mentioned above is the key to getting started with your own business and website. It’s crucial to remember to keep your expectations at a realistic level. SEO can open up the doors to a huge stream of additional revenue for your site, but as with anything else, it does require real hard work and effort. The world of SEO is extremely competitive, but with the right knowledge and skills you can succeed.

David Wittlinger is a search engine marketing expert which affords him the opportunity to live in Steamboat today where he can ski, bike, hike and play! David operates Zirkel Exchange SEM with a mission of helping businesses compete on the web.

American Speed Association Launches New Website

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The American Speed Association, a sanctioning body for 35 member tracks and 11 racing series across the United States, is proud to announce that its new and improved website ( is now available. The site was created by DiscoverTec of Jacksonville, FL.

“Wow! Was the first thing I said when the developers showed me what they created,” Dennis Huth, American Speed Association President said. “When I met with them, I told them that I wanted something with a ‘wow factor’ and they have produced an exciting website that the racing community will enjoy visiting a lot.”

The site was created by Chris Ramaglia, Web Development Project Manager at DiscoverTec and Daniel Fuchs. “What excited us the most about working with ASA was the fact that their website had a national reach and loyal following, our primary goal was to maximize the user experience for their current visitors and give them a platform that they could use to grow their online presence,” Ramaglia recently stated. “Honestly, there’s so much ‘cool stuff’ you can do with the racing industry and the opportunity ASA provided us with allowed us to take advantage of some cutting edge visual elements as well as implement some of the most advanced website development tools out there today. From a design perspective, we wanted them to have a site that could compete with anything that’s out there as far as sports/news magazine-style websites. Time will tell, but we love the design, had a great time building it, and can’t wait until it’s live.”

Ramaglia went on to explain what visitors to the site will see, “The main thing is we worked closely with ASA to update the look and feel and push the envelope on what can be done functionally. Mainly, when you look at the successful, national sports/racing websites, they use motion graphics so well that it fits with the design. Motion graphics can take a website to a whole different level, but the key is to use them properly and in moderation,” Ramaglia explained. “The rotating news piece on the homepage is something that we spent a lot of time on and we think that in addition to it looking really cool, it actually adds to the experience for the user. So many times, we see sites with nice motion graphics, but it seems like they’re on there just for the ‘wow’ factor and not very easy to use. We appreciated the fact that ASA let us really get creative with the smaller details on the site as well, they had a very clear vision of what they wanted overall and trusted to execute to our strengths. They were a great group to work with and we’re really proud of the final product.”

DiscoverTec is a 15-year-old Technology company that provides web design, web development and internet marketing, including search engine optimization as well as social media campaigns and has customers all over the world. They have built brochure-style websites for small businesses as well as enterprise-level website applications for Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between. In 2008 they became a Microsoft-Certified Gold partner and all of their websites are using the powerful Microsoft .Net Framework.

Ramaglia also said that his team is ready to create websites for ASA tracks, series and members, “The best way would be to call myself or Daniel Fuchs and we can set up a time to visit, whether in person or using our web conference tools. We live for this stuff and go out of our way to be easy to work with.”

You contact Chris or Daniel by calling 904-680-3000 or visiting their website at

“We would like to thank Dennis, Shannon and everyone else at ASA for the opportunity to work with them,” Ramaglia said. “We really hope that everyone that visits the new website enjoys using it as much as we’ve enjoyed building it.

The Circuit: Awards and Festivals News

People's Choice Award offers people their choice of new award design


Now, of course we know that you love the People's Choice Awards. But is there a chance that when you consider the award itself, a sliver of wistfulness creeps into your heart? Do you wish that perhaps there was a chance that a new design might come forth for, say, the 2010 edition of the awards? Well, there is hope on the horizon for you. Not only will the first new People's Choice trophy in 35 years be unveiled at the next event -- slated for Jan. 6 -- but you'll have the opportunity to vote for the new design.

Visitors to the People's Choice website can view and vote on their favorite of three new designs (shown here) by the prestigious Waterford Crystal -- and in doing so, they'll be registered for a chance to win a trip to the ceremony. It is quite possible that in addition to being an awful lot of fun, the People's Choice Awards just might be magic.

The winning design will be announced along with the people's choice (natch) in music, movies and television at a press conference in Los Angeles on Nov. 10.

It’s Here! It’s Finally Here!

Oneupweb has just launched a new website, and as one who has toiled away with the rest of the marketing department for several months on this project, I’m ready to echo the words on our new home page:

“So put your hands in the air. And let’s get this party started.” (Turn up your speakers when you get to the new site for a little theme music.)


So why a new website? I’ll let our CEO Lisa Wehr tell you that. According to her, “We’re living in an evolutionary time. Like the crazy marketers we are, we think it’s an exciting time full of new chances to differentiate your brand and relate to your customers in fun, effective ways. It’s time to be relentless.”

This means it’s time for mid-level companies to start integrating the conventional with the unconventional. Think SEO and PPC, iPhone apps, Twitter, Facebook, augmented reality—and everything in-between. This is all stuff that we (Oneupweb) have been doing for ourselves for a while now. We’ve even won several national awards for our work. And while we’ve been offering these services to our clients upon request, we decided that now was the time to throw open the doors, turn up the music and really get down to business.

Our new website does exactly that.

From the flash piece on the website to the custom social media tabs on the home page, we’ve got a different look. Because the truth is, we’re a bit edgy. And we like it. But don’t worry, what we’re offering is big agency work, and big agency talent, without the big agency price tag.

Here are a few of my favorite pages that you should check out:

  • Management. Scroll your cursor over the happy, smiling faces in the top picture. You’ll quickly discover the kind of personality we have inside these walls.
  • Services. Who knew marketing had an equation?
  • Website Design. This is one of our expanded services. As you’ll see from the examples, it’s something we have quite a bit of experience with.
  • Mobile. As I covet an iPhone (yes, I know, thou shalt not covet), this page really speaks to me. It brings up the fact that cell phones are quickly becoming the one thing that we don’t leave home without.
  • Creative. This page gives our designers a chance to shine. From flash banners and email newsletters to widgets and podcast production, their digital art will knock your socks off.
  • Laundry List. Does anyone else ever remember thinking, “gee, that Snuggle bear is a little bit creepy”?
  • Case Studies. This page is full of the kind of results you can expect from Oneupweb.
  • Press Releases. While I hate that picture (whoever likes a picture of themselves?), this page includes all of our breaking news.
  • White Papers. Trekkies unite!

I could go on and on, but that takes all the fun out of discovering it for yourself. So head over to our new website, check it out, and when you’re done please let me know what you think.

Website Design by Mayuri Multimedia